Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Sep 13, 2012

The firebrand leading Chicago’s striking teachers

CHICAGO, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Karen Lewis, the fiery, frumpy
former teacher leading striking Chicago teachers, has carefully
built support for her cause of challenging education orthodoxy
through community organizing in poor neighborhoods of the inner
city.

Critics call her a throwback to the blustering,
confrontational union bosses of the past. School district and
union officials have said she was spoiling for a bare-knuckled
fight in a town with a long history of union activism.

Sep 12, 2012

Both sides “dug in” as Chicago teachers strike drags on

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago teachers stayed away from public schools for a third day on Wednesday in a strike over Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s demand for tough teacher evaluations that U.S. education reform advocates see as crucial to fixing urban schools.

With more than 350,000 children from kindergarten to high school out of school, the patience of parents and labor negotiators began to fray as hopes of a quick resolution to the biggest U.S. labor strike in a year were dashed.

Sep 11, 2012

Patience tested on second day of Chicago teachers strike

CHICAGO, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Parents and thousands of
Chicago children faced a second day of closed public schools on
Tuesday as striking teachers and the nation’s third-largest
school district argued over education reforms sought by Mayor
Rahm Emanuel.

“It’s hard work,” David Vitale, president of the Chicago
Board of Education and lead negotiator for the city said of
talks with the teachers union. “It’s taking them … more time
than we think it should.”

Sep 11, 2012

Patience tested as Chicago teachers strike drags into second day

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Parents and thousands of Chicago children faced a second day of closed public schools on Tuesday as striking teachers and the nation’s third-largest school district argued over details of education reforms sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Many parents stayed home from work with their children on the first day of a strike by 29,000 Chicago teachers and support staff Monday. But patience was likely to be tested on Tuesday as the largest U.S. teachers strike since 2006 dragged on.

Sep 10, 2012

Analysis: Striking Chicago teachers take on national education reform

By Stephanie Simon and James B. Kelleher

(Reuters) – Chicago teachers walking picket lines on Monday, in a strike that has closed schools across the city, are taking on not just their combative mayor but a powerful education reform movement that is transforming public schools across the United States.

The new vision, championed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who used to run Chicago’s schools, calls for a laser focus on standardized tests meant to gauge student skills in reading, writing and math. Teachers who fail to raise student scores may be fired. Schools that fail to boost scores may be shut down.

Sep 10, 2012

Chicago teachers to strike for first time in 25 years

CHICAGO, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Chicago public school teachers
will strike for the first time in a quarter century on Monday
after they failed to reach agreement with the nation’s
third-largest school district over education reforms sought by
Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The historic confrontation between Emanuel, President Barack
Obama’s former top White House aide, and organized labor in the
president’s home city could have national implications for
education reform and politics in an election year.

Sep 10, 2012

Unruly Chicago teachers test tough Mayor Emanuel’s mettle

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When Rahm Emanuel resigned as President Barack Obama’s chief White House enforcer two years ago, many Washington pundits wondered why he abandoned a place at the pinnacle of power to try to govern one of America’s most unruly cities.

Now as Chicago’s mayor, Emanuel is confronting nearly 30,000 angry striking teachers, 350,000 children out of school as of Monday and parents scrambling for caregivers or forced to miss work to stay home with their kids.

Sep 10, 2012

Chicago teachers still negotiating hours from strike deadline

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago teachers and officials of the nation’s third-largest school district were locked in negotiations with just hours to go before a midnight deadline for a strike over Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s demand for sweeping school reforms.

The Chicago Teachers Union scheduled a 10 p.m. local time news conference to give an update on the bitter and protracted talks but gave no hint if a deal was close.

Sep 7, 2012

Chicago braces for first teacher strike in a generation

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A bitter dispute between unionized public school teachers and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has residents of the third-largest U.S. city bracing for a possible strike on Monday in a showdown over education reform that has national implications.

Nearly 30,000 public school teachers and support staff represented by the Chicago Teachers Union have vowed to walk off the job starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday if an impasse in contract talks with the city is not broken.

Jul 31, 2012

Teacher union boss bends to school reform winds

DETROIT (Reuters) – In the maelstrom of criticism surrounding America’s unionized public teachers, the woman running the second-largest educator union says time has come to collaborate on public school reform rather than resist.

Randi Weingarten, re-elected this week for a third term as president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) with 98 percent of the vote, wants her 1.5 million members to be open to changes that might improve public schools.