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Chicago parents stood by CTU during the 2019 strike. Why won’t CTU stand by our children now?

This is not 2020. We have vaccinations, and this variant is less severe than previous ones. How can the risk possibly outweigh the damage done to our students?

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 march through the Loop after a rally on Oct. 14, 2019.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 march through the Loop after a rally on Oct. 14, 2019.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

To the Chicago Teachers Union: Remote learning has had a detrimental impact on our children. I know, because you told me face-to-face during our parent-teacher conferences. Your vote to go remote was not in the best interests of our children, and you’re well aware of that. In the moments Wednesday morning when I wasn’t scrambling to figure out child care, cancel meetings and adjust my entire day, I was filled with immense sadness, disappointment and anger. Frankly, I feel betrayed.

We stood by you during the strike in 2019 because we believed in you and wanted you to be fairly compensated for the wonderful work you do. We brought you coffee and donuts. We stood in the rain with you. We hugged you. Why won’t you do the same for our children now?

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I respect and support your vote on this for those immunocompromised; nationally, that is less than 3% of people. I’d suggest to CPS that we keep those teachers at home and dedicate their remote learning time to helping the kids who are behind catch up.

For the other 73% of you who voted in favor of this, this is not 2020. We know substantially more than we did at the start of the pandemic. We have vaccinations, and this variant is less severe than previous ones. How can the risk possibly outweigh the damage to our students? I am privileged enough to afford child care and tutors. Imagine what the children who live in poverty face today. Imagine what their parents are facing.

It pains me to say this, but you have lost my support.

Perri Gordon, Ravenswood Elementary parent

Professionals vs. amateurs

The recent cases of Kyle Rittenhouse and the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery point out that when armed citizens, even those with good intentions (in their minds at least), are given to patrol public areas, bad outcomes are vastly more likely than when these situations are handled by professionals.

Training, experience and maturity are everything.

Notwithstanding the presence of bad actors and systemic corruption in some forms — flaws which are present in nearly all organizations — trained public safety officers run into tough situations, managing them nearly always with restraint and without permanent harm.

Whenever we look to lash out at how professionals — from police to teachers to politicians — are doing their jobs, it’s first instructive to compare it with how non-professionals are likely to perform the same jobs.

Bob Chicoine, Brookfield