The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) announced Tuesday that they were suspending their strike and will return to classrooms on Wednesday.
“I’m so thrilled that people are going back, all of our members are glad to be back with their kids," CTU president Karen Lewis said at a press conference. "It’s a hard decision to make to go out, and for some people it's hard to make the decision to go back in."
The 26,000-member union went on strike over teacher evaluations and the process for rehiring teachers. Under the Chicago Public School system’s plan, test scores would account for 40 percent of a teachers’ evaluation. The CTU claims test scores are heavily skewed by socioeconomic conditions, putting teachers in poorer neighbors at an unfair disadvantage. The CTU also wanted teachers laid off at public schools to get priority for rehiring at taxpayer-funded charter schools, while the city has advocated for providing the charter schools with more autonomy.
The union members will vote on the proposed contract Wednesday.
The deal includes a three-year raise schedule of a 3 percent increase in the first year followed by a 2 percent increase in the following years; an agreement to move away from so-called “merit pay” evaluation that the union opposed due to skepticism of its efficacy; an increase of 600 “special” teachers who would teach “art, music, physical education, world languages and other classes”; teacher evaluations limited to factoring only 30 percent of student test scores; reimbursements for school supplies up to $250; a guarantee that books will be purchased for students in time for the first day of classes; and more.
With prior reporting by Kay Steiger