I am so disappointed in the mayor and his appointed, not elected, board of education. Nobody goes into education for the money. As a teacher in a surrounding Chicago district, we are here because we care about children and feel that we can make a positive difference in their lives. Nobody knows better the needs of our teachers and students than those of us who are actually in the field every day. However, Mr. Mayor has failed to put his trust in the very teachers that his city hired to educate our children. This is truly a crime. The Chicago teachers are merely asking for what is fair and reasonable in regards to their profession, and nothing more. Shame on Mr. Mayor for not believing in his teachers and allowing the children of Chicago to go without school. The children are our future. Mr. Mayor has demonstrated that education is not a priority for his city. I ask those of you with contradicting opinions to teach in a classroom of 30 low income students in 98 degree temperatures for 7 hours a day. I ask you to insure that these students learn the necessary information in order to succeed on the standardized tests. How your students perform on the test will determine your salary and whether or not you will keep your job. It will not be taken into account the fact that many of your students have not even been attending school due to circumstances beyond your control. Nor will it be taken into account the fact that some of your students are being abused or neglected, are on drugs, have been part of gang cross fire, or may possibly have a learning disability that has not yet been determined. We cannot allow our education system to come to this. We must trust in our teachers to only do what is in their control. Instead of penalizing teachers for low test scores, why not encourage teachers, students and their parents with a reward system. Why not go to the source, and invest resources in creating programs for parents, so that they are better equipped with the tools needed to support their children in helping them to become productive citizens. For many of these children, the teacher is one of the most important adults in their lives. No test score reflects the positive difference that these teachers are making daily for some of our troubled youth. Before the strike, my own children ages 5 to 9, had a vague idea of what a mayor was. However, the harsh lesson that they have learned from this misfortune, is that some leaders are not successful in implementing what is best for all. Mr. Mayor, I challenge you to put “Children First,” to stop bullying your teachers, to trust in them, and come to a fair and reasonable agreement today! Our children are depending on you. They want to be in school, where they belong. They love their teachers.
Teacher and Chicago Public School Parent
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