Chicago & Philadelphia teachers — same struggle, same fight

Photo: Bertolain Elysee

The message “Chicago & Philadelphia teachers – same struggle, same fight” was featured on one of the signs being waved at passing Philadelphia rush-hour traffic on Sept. 14 as part of a rally by more than 50 labor activists in solidarity with striking Chicago teachers. The sounds of cars honking, yells of support, and passersby who stopped and talked revealed that many people realize what is at stake — not only in Chicago, but for students and communities all over the U.S.

As in many other cities, the Chicago school system’s policies look a lot like this city’s deficit-ridden school district plans: closed schools, teacher and staff layoffs, and cuts in programs and services while turning over scarce resources to for-profit charter school organizations.

The “Windy City” school board’s demands against the Chicago Teachers Union also mirror Philadelphia School Board proposals for a longer school day, for teacher evaluations that rely significantly on students’ standardized test scores and for rolling back job-security protections.

Impressed by the CTU’s ability to organize not only teachers but also parents and communities into one united front, many rally participants discussed how to bring the CTU’s tactics, strategy and spirit to Philadelphia.

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