On what should have been the second Wednesday of the school year, Chicago teachers ended their strike against the city and returned to work. The bitter dispute brought national attention to Chicago and to the issue of education reform. The last teachers strike in Chicago took place 25 years ago. Apparently, a lot of acrimony can build up over a quarter century. So was it worth it? Who won? These questions are far more simple than their answers.
The final version of the three-year contract is reportedly still being drafted, so all the details are not yet public. As we wrote last week, the two biggest issues were the city’s proposed teacher evaluation system and whether laid-off teachers would have automatic recall to vacancies at other schools. Information published by the parties themselves and reports in the media suggest — not surprisingly — that neither side got everything it wanted in the negotiations.