Westmont, IL – Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery issued the following statement to express support for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and urge Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to find agreement with the CTU immediately on a rational reopening plan.
“Prioritizing the health and safety of our teachers, students, and staff during a pandemic is a non-negotiable. Teachers continue to teach and want to do so safely, so we urge Mayor Lightfoot and CPS to rise to the occasion and demonstrate leadership for our teachers, students, and their families by reaching a good faith, negotiated agreement to reopen. We urge that there be no lock-out pending a comprehensive agreement.
"On the first day of Black Lives Matter At School Week, we must acknowledge the disparate impact such a lock-out would have on Black and Brown students in CPS, about 80% of whose families selected remote learning instead of in-person because it is safer for their families which have been hit hardest by the pandemic. We owe it to our teachers and students to return to a safe and thriving environment in Chicago schools.
"Many districts around the state have already negotiated re-opening agreements with unions that have been put in writing for the betterment of their communities. In addition, educators around the state, but not in Chicago, have begun getting vaccinated as part of the 1B cohort of essential workers, even while many remain in remote instruction.
“The IFT commits its 103,000 members to fully supporting CTU in this struggle and stands ready to assist in any way to help CTU and CPS reach an agreement.”