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Agreement May Be Nearing as Chicago Teacher Strike Goes Into Day Four

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Common Dreams staff

(photo: sierraromeo [sarah-ji] / Flickr)

Agreement seems to be nearing as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) continues its fourth day on strike on Thursday.

CTU president Karen Lewis told reports she was hoping for a return to classrooms on Monday, and that a Friday return was unlikely.

NBC reports that Lewis said she hopes an agreement can be reached by the end of the day, but she said the deal would still need approval from the House of Delegates. "I think we still have too much on the table," Lewis said. "The House of Delegates would not vote on one part of this."

As for a return date to classrooms, Lewis said, "Yes, I'm hoping for Monday. That would be good for us."

Contract talks were held on Wednesday between the CTU and Chicago Public Schools Board of Education president David Vitale.  WGN Chicago reports that these talks focused on teacher evaluation process -- a main point of contention.  Mike Elk writes for In These Times that "One of the key sticking points in union negotiations is that [Chicago Mayor Rahm] Emanuel wants to use standardized tests scores to count for 40 percent of the basis of teacher evaluations. Earlier this year, more than 80 researchers from 16 Chicago-area universities signed an open letter to Emanuel, criticizing the use of standardized test scores for this purpose."

On the talks that continued until near midnight on Wednesday, Lewis said “there has been significant movement in the last 24-hours—but we aren’t quite there yet.” 

“They’ve moved inches in some areas, now we need them to move yards; there’s no reason to prolong this any longer than they have. Until we have a clear landing, our members will stay engaged on the picket lines.”

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