Teachers and other staff members across the Chicago Public School (CPS) district refused to return to work this week, even after the district announced its intention to reopen schools for in-person learning, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The Chicago Teachers Union voted to defy the district’s reopening plans, which led to many teachers at the elementary and middle-school levels skipping out on returning to work. In previous negotiations, the district agreed to move the planned date of reopening back from Monday to Wednesday, but that was not enough to satisfy the demands of the teachers’ unions.
The union instructed its members in an internal email to not go into work on Wednesday, and to instead continue “working remotely.” The email added that “if CPS retaliates against members for exercising their right to a safe workplace, all members will stop working on Thursday and set up picket lines at their schools.”
This comes after the district has met with representatives from the union more than 50 times. Every single proposal for returning to in-person learning has been shot down by the union, with the union even labeling some of the reopening plans as racist and sexist.
The Biden Administration has taken the teachers’ union’s side over the school district, with Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain falsely claiming in an interview that Chicago’s schools “haven’t made the investments to keep the students safe.” The district has, in fact, spent over $100 million on various precautions such as masks and other protective equipment.
There is an overwhelming consensus that remote learning in America’s schools has had a profoundly negative impact on students, from declining grades to a rise in mental health issues and depression. The Chicago school district released a statement saying that “grades, attendance, and enrollment [dropped] significantly for many of our students in recent months.”