Chicago teachers hit the picket lines as the city’s first strike in 25 years began Monday.
Early Monday, in the city’s Edgewater neighborhood, teachers and their supporters hit the streets outside Pierce Elementary School and sang, “You can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union.” (Watch the video and follow live updates on the teachers strike below.)
Later in the morning, some 40 teachers, parents and other supporters rallied near Darwin Elementary School, waving their signs for drivers passing by along busy Fullerton Avenue.
Striking teachers told HuffPost Chicago they hoped the union and school board will arrive at a consensus soon so that they can return to the classroom.
A half-mile west, dozens more striking teachers — holding signs they had gathered together to create the previous evening — rallied on Fullerton, near Goethe Elementary School. The playground adjacent to the school was silent but for the sound of horn honking from from supportive drivers.
Thousands of teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district walked off the job Monday on the heels of a months-long standoff between the teachers union and the school district. The strike impacts nearly 400,000 students who are now shut out of their classrooms just one week into the new academic year.
On Sunday evening, Mayor Rahm Emanuel criticized the walkout as “a strike of choice … it’s unnecessary, it’s avoidable and it’s wrong.”
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday condemned the teachers strike, feedback that Emanuel dismissed later Monday.
The teachers union and the board of education returned to the negotiating table Monday morning. As of the early evening, no updates were announced in those talks.
Among the issues that remain on the table are teachers’ job security, performance evaluations, salary and benefits.