As teacher’s hit the picket line in Chicago – will strike winds spread across the rest of America?

As teacher’s hit the picket line in Chicago – will strike winds spread across the rest of America? As teacher’s hit the picket line in Chicago – will strike winds spread across the rest of America?

October 17, 20192 min read
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School is out and the signs are up as 32,000 public servants are walking the line and leaving more than 400,000 kids at home in the Windy City.


According to teachers, the issue is money  and job conditions within schools. On the other side, negotiators are saying it is about power and politics as non-mandatory union membership under Janus has some in the organized labor circles trying hard to bring more workers into the union fold. 


Either way, with that many kids out of school and parents scrambling - all eyes locally and from across America will be on Chicago.


“The Chicago teachers’ strike is important, especially because the earlier strike in that city in 2012 clearly set the tone for the increased strike activity taking place across the country in the last few years,” said Katharine Strunk, an education policy professor at Michigan State University. 


“The topics on the table go beyond traditional bread and butter concerns such as teacher salary and staffing. This reflects the shifting tide in union negotiations. These more expansive negotiations may reflect unions’ reactions to the 2018 Janus ruling, as well as decreases in education funding.”


And as the pressure is on teachers and negotiators to come to a deal, there’s more at stake here than just some time off and political squabbling.


“Strikes may have long term implications for student learning. There are also substantial equity concerns for families as they need to consider child-care options.”


Are you a journalist covering the strike? Then let our experts help with any of your questions and on-going coverage.


Katharine Strunk is a professor of education policy and the Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education at Michigan State University. She is an expert in the area of teachers’ unions and the collective bargaining agreements they negotiate with school districts – Katherine is available to speak to media regarding this issue, simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.




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  • Katharine Strunk
    Katharine Strunk Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education and Professor of Education Policy and, by courtesy, Economics

    Education policy expert focusing on the impacts and implementation of state and district policy.

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