Before fall in-person school, Chicago Teachers Union wants over 4,000 new workers

Before fall in-person school, Chicago Teachers Union wants over 4,000 new workers

The Chicago Teachers Union issued a long list of demands it wants before allowing in-person learning this fall. Union leaders seek over 4,000 new employees, including a “restorative justice coordinator” in each of Chicago’s 638 schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union issued a lengthy set of demands that would addat least 4,190 new workers before Chicago Public Schools reopen for fall, in-person learning.

The demands basically disregard COVID-19 school guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as taxpayers’ ability to fund the demands or the district’s ability to meet the demands.

The CTU proposed more funding for mental health, special education and art teachers. The union wants an additional counselor, social worker, “restorative justice coordinator,” nurse and librarian in each of the 638 Chicago public schools. The list would add 4,190 new school employees.

It also wants the schools to fund rent assistance for families.

Despite U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidance allowing vaccinated students to remove their masks indoors, CTU wants all students masked while indoors. The teachers union wants students and faculty to have their temperatures checked when they enter schools.

On July 13, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s spokeswoman clarified that mask rules would be up to local school boards. Chicago Public Schools stated they are still reviewing the new CDC guidelines and will inform parents about any changes in school policy.

The union demands 80% of eligible students be vaccinated by Oct. 1. It also wants 80% of students younger than 12 vaccinated within 60 days of a COVID-19 shot being approved for that age group.

The Illinois School Board of Education pledged to hold in-person classes for the 2021-22 school year. The teachers union has agreed to in-person learning, while also proposing a virtual academy. The virtual academy, which would be staffed by teachers who qualify to teach remotely, would serve students who are unable to attend in-person.

In addition to the 4,190 new hires, the CTU wants “500 CPS parent/community members to perform home visits to educate families about COVID-19 vaccine availability.”

Regardless of what the CDC recommends, the teachers union’s proposal wants students masked, screened and spread-out until Jan. 27, 2022. As Illinois ends most COVID-19 precautions in Phase 5, the teachers union will make Chicago Public Schools the most restrictive public places.

With the laundry list of expensive demands, the CTU’s proposal will likely bring a new round of fierce negotiation. Unlike the past, the CTU wields greater power thanks to a recent boost in their ability to strike. House Bill 2775, signed into law on April 2, 2021, empowers the CTU to strike over working conditions and other issues besides salary and benefits.

CTU was never shy about striking in the past – three times between 2012 and 2019, and nearly walking out again in 2021 to protest the reopening of Chicago Public Schools for in-person learning. The list of expensive CTU demands gives parents a new worry about their children heading back to school.

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