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CTU strike, Day 9: Are they there yet? Both CTU, CPS say talks productive going into weekend

The 2019 work stoppage now matches the length of the city’s 2012 teachers strike.

Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Sun-Times files

9:00 p.m. Saturday a pivotal day if teachers strike ends in time for classes Monday

A deal between the CTU and Chicago Public Schools could be forthcoming, but Chicago Teachers Union president Jesse Sharkey said bargaining needs patience “when it gets to the end.”

“Things are sensitive and we’re working hard in there,” Sharkey said during a press conference after negotiations wrapped up for the night. He added that the plan for the weekend was to work.

Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said she’s “hopeful” talks could wrap up over the weekend but acknowledged there’s still disagreement on some key issues.

Nader Issa and Mitch Dudek give a full rundown of Friday’s negotiations between CPS and CTU. Here’s where they are going into the weekend.

6:00 p.m. Judge rules CPS students cannot participate in state meets while teachers, coaches on strike

A Cook County judge’s decision issued Friday means Jones College Prep cross country teams won’t be able to participate in a state regional event this weekend.

The case has broad implications for other Chicago Public Schools students who also want to compete in state meets while their teachers and coaches are on strike.

About 100 students attended the hearing at the Daley Center on a complaint filed Thursday by 14 parents of the cross country students against the Illinois High School Association and the Chicago Board of Education. The complaint sought a temporary restraining order to allow the athletes to compete in the state playoff events during the strike, including Saturday morning’s cross country regionals.

Michael O’Brien and Matthew Hendrickson have the full story. Click here to read it.

4:35 p.m. Teachers rally ends, streets open downtown

The teachers rally downtown has ended. Streets are now open, though traffic may still be heavy in the area as rush hour continues.

Matthew Hendrickson and Alison Martin

4:00 p.m. Lake Shore Drive a no-go for teachers rally

The teachers rally stayed off Lake Shore Drive Friday.

Strike organizers told a Sun-Times reporter that the traffic light on Lake Shore Drive was locked on green, so there was no opportunity for the rally to move safely onto the drive. They added that members wanted to “do something bold today” by taking over the drive.

Matthew Hendrickson and Alison Martin

3:30 p.m. Teachers attempts to move onto Lake Shore Drive

It appears the civil disobedience training the CTU hosted yesterday may come in handy for members today. As striking teachers and support staff try to move their rally onto Lake Shore Drive, a Chicago police officer told them he could not protect them if they deviate from a protected route and onto Lake Shore Drive.

“If you go otherwise, you all saw Charlottesville,” the officer said to strikers. “If someone hurts you, that’s on you. I cannot protect you.”

The rally started Friday afternoon at Buckingham Fountain.

Matthew Hendrickson and Alison Martin

2:55 p.m. Is a teachers deal close? Both sides clamming up a good sign, expert says

Chicago Teachers Union leaders had little to say Friday as they emerged briefly from intense contract talks at Malcolm X College — and that’s a good thing.

Several CTU members took a break from negotiations at around 1 p.m. to grab a few cases of bottled water from the back of a car parked outside the Near West Side school.

Asked how things were going, the CTU’s Christel Williams-Hayes said it was “smooth sailing” and left it at that.

Mitch Dudek talked to a labor expert about the latest in Friday’s negotiations. Read his full report here.

1:47 p.m. IHSA approves eight-game rule waiver, Simeon is back in the state playoffs

The Illinois High School Association board approved a motion to waive the eight-game rule for Simeon’s football team on Friday. The board upheld the three days of practice rule.

Simeon’s scheduled Week 2 game against an out-of-state team fell through, leaving them a game short of the IHSA’s eight-games played requirement for playoff qualification. The school applied for the waivers on Wednesday.

According to IHSA strike bylaws, if football practices have been terminated for seven days (excluding Sundays) a team may not resume competition until after three days of practice. The teams cannot practice if there is no school. Thursday was the seventh day the teams have missed practice, so that rule kicks in.

Read the full story from Michael O’Brien, who has been covering the strike’s impact on high school sports.

1:06 p.m. Student athletes try to meet with Lightfoot at City Hall

A group of 30 Chicago Public Schools athletes and students arrived at City Hall to speak with Mayor Lori Lightfoot shortly after noon on Friday.

The group, led by Simeon football players, announced its intention to show up on Wednesday. They wanted to voice their frustration over the impact the Chicago Teachers Union strike is having on CPS students and athletes.

Lightfoot left City Hall just minutes before they arrived.

“I think she’s afraid,” Simeon senior Khalyl Warren said. “She is showing fear. But it is ok. We assumed she would be here to say a couple words, say something that we wanted to hear. Something for our teachers, something for us. But if she walked away, she walked away.”

The group, which included students from Simeon, Bogan, Phillips, King and Phoenix, supports the CTU’s strike and believes the city should meet the union’s demands. Three students gave prepared statements in front of cameras, detailing why the strike needs to end now and why they need nurses in their schools.

Michael O’Brien

12:20 p.m. U. of I. makes special provisions for CPS students ahead of Nov. 1 early action deadline

With Chicago public high schools closed for the seventh straight day Friday as the teachers strike continues, students in the midst of the college application process have lost access to teachers, counselors and even their academic records.

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot noted in an unrelated media conference the hardship the strike was putting on students applying to college, nothing that CPS was recently forced to cancel a college standardized testing session — potentially putting some students at risk of missing scholarship application deadlines.

Some universities have offered concessions to Chicago students scrambling to meet the Nov. 1 early action deadline set by many schools. A counselor from Butler University in Indiana wrote in an unsolicited email to potential applicants from CPS that students won’t be penalized if their high school transcripts and school reports aren’t on record by Nov. 1.

“Because this is beyond your control, we will be flexible and allow your school counselor additional time to submit these documents on your behalf.”

Beloit College’s vice president for enrollment, M. Leslie Davidson, wrote students telling them they could even request an extension for their entire application if they applied to the small liberal arts school in southern Wisconsin.

On Friday morning, the University of Illinois sent this email to some potential applicants and their families:

We understand that because the Chicago Teachers Union is on strike, the counselors who would normally assist you in providing necessary documents to our admissions office are currently unavailable.

We want to do what we can to relieve some stress with your college application process. If you’re eligible for a fee waiver, you can still apply before our early action deadline of November 1, and your counselor can submit your fee waiver upon their return.

Students self-report their courses and test scores on our application, so your high school doesn’t need to send us your transcript. We also don’t consider letters of recommendation.

We will continue to monitor the status of the strike and will make exceptions for fee waivers submitted after November 1 if necessary in order for you to still be considered for early action. If you’re eligible for an application fee waiver, do not submit payment since it can’t be refunded if a waiver is received after payment.

Matthew Hendrickson

11:33 a.m. No ruling yet on letting CPS students into state playoffs

A judge did not immediately rule Friday on a lawsuit seeking to force Chicago Public Schools and the IHSA to allow students to participate in state playoffs while their teachers and coaches are on strike.

An attorney representing Jones College Prep students claimed the IHSA had not defined what constituted a “state series” in their bylaws and said the students were owed the right to participate and would suffer harm, potentially from the lack of being able to receive scholarships that might result in their competition.

Attorneys for the IHSA argued that their rules, last changed in 1985, would not allow the cross country students to participate in an event Saturday because the state series had not started yet. A CPS attorney agreed with the IHSA and said the could not safely and fairly staff the events due to the ongoing teacher strike that began last week.
A judge did not immediately rule Friday on a lawsuit seeking to force Chicago Public Schools and the IHSA to allow students to participate in state playoffs while their teachers and coaches are on strike.

An attorney representing Jones College Prep students claimed the IHSA had not defined what constituted a “state series” in their bylaws and said the students were owed the right to participate and would suffer harm, potentially from the lack of being able to receive scholarships that might result in their competition.

Attorneys for the IHSA argued that their rules, last changed in 1985, would not allow the cross country students to participate in an event Saturday because the state series had not started yet. A CPS attorney agreed with the IHSA and said they could not safely and fairly staff the events due to the ongoing teacher strike that began last week.

A ruling by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eve M. Reilly was expected before 5 pm.

Matthew Hendrickson

10:53 a.m. Hearing underway for student athlete lawsuit over playoffs

On Thursday, the parents of 14 cross country runners at Jones College Prep filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit court against the Illinois High School Association and the Chicago Board of Education on behalf of all Chicago Public Schools athletes that have missed out on state playoffs as a result of the Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Students from Payton, Taft, Northside, Lane, and other high schools gathered outside the courtroom Friday morning:

Sun-Times reporters Michael O’Brien and Matt Hendrickson are reporting from the courthouse.

9:43 a.m. Jackson speaks out on her values and ‘the reality’ of city budget

Mirroring an op-ed she penned for the Sun-Times on Thursday, CPS CEO Janice Jackson fired off a Twitter thread Friday laying out her values, “so every one can see where I’m coming from”:

From Jackson’s op-ed, “The truth is, I want what teachers want”:

In 2000, when I was a brand-new teacher making $36,000 a year, only 47 percent of CPS students graduated from high school — that number is now close to 80 percent. Nearly half of our graduates are now leaving high school with a college or career credential, and last year’s graduating class earned almost $1.5 billion in scholarship offers. Let’s acknowledge what we — students, parents, principals, and teachers—have achieved.

Let’s also acknowledge that this academic progress isn’t promised and is easily jeopardized if not treated with care.

Bargaining between the teachers union and the district is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Friday.

Read Jackson’s full op-ed here.

6:42 a.m. Teachers return to picket lines as 9th day of strike dawns

Chicago students are missing a seventh day of classes Friday as teachers return to the picket line at dawn. The union plans to hold a rally Friday at Buckingham Fountain.

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union bargaining team said Thursday night there was “good progress” at the bargaining table with Chicago Public Schools. In particular, talks on special education were “very productive.”

Asked whether there was “a realistic hope we could be back in the classroom on Monday morning,” Jen Johnson, CTU chief of staff, said “That is absolutely our hope.”

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