Negotiations between teachers union, Chicago School Board down to the wire (+video)
Almost 30,000 teachers and staff members could strike Monday if a deal is not struck between the teachers union and the school board in Chicago. The strike is over proposed reforms by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
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Fields said union and school officials should "get into a room and don't come out until the deal gets done."Skip to next paragraph
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A protracted stoppage could hurt relations between Obama's Democrats and national labor unions, who are among the biggest financial supporters of the Democratic Party and will be needed by the party to help get out the vote in the Nov. 6 election.
Lewis said on Saturday night that while the district's position had improved, she would not call it "dramatically improved."
The union opened its strike headquarters on Saturday to hand out strike signs and red union t-shirts.
At issue are teacher pay and school reforms such as tougher teacher evaluations that are at the heart of the national debate on improving struggling urban schools.
'A LOT AT STAKE'
Both sides in Chicago agree the city's public schools need fixing. Chicago fourth-grade and eighth-grade students lag national averages in a key test of reading ability, according to the US Department of Education. One union complaint is that class sizes are far too big.
Emanuel, who has a reputation as a tough negotiator, is demanding that teacher evaluations be tied to standardized test results, a move the union is resisting. He also has pushed through a longer school day this year.