Chicago School Chief Jean-Claude Brizard Under Pressure from Teachers Strike
- Monday, September 10, 2012 11:19 AM
Written by The Sentinel Staff |
CHICAGO, USA (defend.ht) - Jean Claude Brizard, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, vowed to end a teacher's strike in the U.S.'s third largest school district and get kids back to school. Meanwhile he is under the pressure of being dismissed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his handling of contract negotiations with the teachers' union.
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The teachers threatened to walk on September 10th if the parties could not come up with a deal. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was dismayed by the walkout and protests because he believes a deal is close to being done.
The Chicago Tribune cited a "a high-ranking education source," that said Mayor Emanuel is frustrated with Brizard over how he has handled contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union as well as the city's implementation of a longer school day.
Despite the Tribune report's claim that the mayor may let Brizard go if a teacher strike occurs, an Emanuel spokeswoman told the paper that report "couldn't be further from the truth, the mayor has complete confidence in J.C."
Brizard went on the defense in conversation with a number of local news stations Friday and emphasized that he is getting on just fine with both the mayor and the city's board of education.
"I went before them last night talking about the work we are doing," Brizard told ABC Chicago. "We have a terrific relationship, working very hard. We have done tremendous work this year."
"In 27 years of education, I have always been successful," he added to CBS Chicago.
Teachers Walk Out
Thousands of teachers walked off the job Monday in Chicago's first schools strike in 25 years, after union leaders announced that months-long negotiations had failed to resolve a contract dispute with school district officials by a midnight deadline.
The walkout in the nation's third-largest school district posed a tricky challenge for the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he would push to end the strike quickly as officials figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.
"This is not a strike I wanted," Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. "It was a strike of choice ... it's unnecessary, it's avoidable and it's wrong."
Some 26,000 teachers and support staff were expected to join the picket. Among teachers protesting Monday morning outside Benjamin Banneker Elementary School on Chicago's South Side, eighth-grade teacher Michael Williams said he wanted a quick contract resolution.
"We hoped that it wouldn't happen. We all want to get back to teaching," Williams said, adding that wages and classroom conditions need to be improved.
Contract negotiations between Chicago Public School officials and union leaders that stretched through the weekend were expected to resume Monday.
Officials said some 140 schools would be open between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. so the children who rely on free meals provided by the school district can eat breakfast and lunch, school district officials said.
City officials acknowledged that children left unsupervised â€“ especially in neighborhoods with a history of gang violence â€“ might be at risk, but vowed to protect the students' safety.
"We will make sure our kids are safe, we will see our way through these issues and our kids will be back in the classroom where they belong," said Emanuel, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff.
The school district asked community organizations to provide additional programs for students, and a number of churches, libraries and other groups plan to offer day camps and other activities.Related 04.18.2011: Haitian-American Tapped to Lead Chicago Public Schools