The city of Chicago has been rocked with protests from Chicago teachers and parents for months. According to an article at abc7chicago.com, Chicago teachers are protesting the financial crisis in the city and the budget deficit that could potentially result in massive budget cuts towards every Chicago public school. If the budget cuts were made, the CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) has claimed its members will go on strike. That could lead to closures of all Chicago public schools until the strike gets resolved. The protestors have come up with several ideas to solve the financial crisis in Chicago:
- Raise taxes on corporations and the upper class to meet the budget deficit
- Formulate a long term solution to avoid this issue again
- Allow the Mayor of Chicago and CPS (Chicago Public Schools) to try to find other sources of revenue instead of asking the state government for funds
In addition to the recent protests, there were protests a couple months ago over the same issues and more according tomarketwatch.com. Trust in the Chicago administration is very thin because the city has a long history of political cronyism and corruption. Unfortunately for CPS, that thin trust also extends to within itself. Last year it was revealed that Byrd-Bennett, then-CEO of CPS was in involved in a kickback scheme that benefited herself and her former employer, at SUPES Academy. CPS filed a 65 million dollar lawsuit against Byrd-Bennett and others.
Officials at CPS claim to want to help the school children, but many parents find it hard to believe. Notable government officials who choose to send their children to private schools instead of CPS include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama, and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Even former United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (who was the CEO of CPS for most of the 2000s) has his children in private school. It is not hard to imagine why some parents are not inclined to trust CPS officials when they claim they have the children’s’ best interests at heart.
The problems facing the city of Chicago and CPS are complex and wide ranging. There is no one fix solution that will cure all the ills and make the problems go away. If any real progress is to be made, it must start by getting the house in order. Stopping wasteful spending in the CPS budget and in state government is a good place to start. Tax reform must also be part of the solution to attract people back into Chicago in order to increase revenue for the city and CPS. It is no secret that General Electric recently decided not to pick Chicago as the location for its corporate headquarters due to the pension crisis and the CPS budget crisis. Until the city of Chicago can get its house in order, the problems will only get worse.
In conclusion, CPS is in danger of not opening its doors for the next school year if Chicago teachers decide to strike. The teachers will strike if massive budget cuts are made due to the failure to resolve the CPS budget deficit. Time will tell how this story ends.