Striking Teachers Rallied in Front of 1st Ward Alderman Moreno’s Office Yesterday, Congress Plaza Downtown
32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack joined nearly 400 teachers, parents, students, and supporters during portions of a 90-minute march yesterday morning that included a stop outside 1st Ward Ald. Moreno’s Office, 2058 N. Western Ave.
The photo at right was shared by Heath Davis, a Goethe School Science Teacher, who organized the gathering and spoke with the pipeline shortly after the march.
“We’re all hoping that the strike will end soon. We have an awesome school and students and it’s killing us to not be back in our classrooms where we’re doing what we love, teaching,” Davis expressed.
[UPDATE: Per this Chicago Tribune report, a deal by 2 p.m. today (9/15/12) is looking "realistic," which would enable teachers to return to work and students to the classrooms on Monday]
Davis’s first science project of the year for his students will be about analyzing a disease called Pellagra, which is caused when the body does not get enough of the proper nutrients. Heath said that he will be teaching his students the Scientific Method as it applies to studying the disease and its impact on the human body.
According to Davis, the visit to Moreno’s office coincided with the fact that it was part of the march route. The strikers started at Fullerton Avenue and marched east to Western Ave.
“We thought we’d say, ‘Hello, good morning,’ and got there around 8:30 a.m. We waited until 9:15 a.m. but he (Moreno) did not show up,” he said.
According to Davis, two of Moreno’s staffers went into the office , which opens at 9 a.m., but did not acknowledge the teachers. While no members of the CTU went into the alderman’s office, a few 1st Ward parents did, and they were told that they would be welcome to come back later in the day to speak with the alderman. Earlier this week, Moreno spoke about the strike on FOX News.
Pulaski parent Aisha Goodman of Bucktown missed the march and rally in front of the alderman’s office, as did parent Suzanne Manley of Logan Square. This writer encountered both women and their children, who’d met for the first time only a few minutes prior, near Walgreen’s at Armitage and Western.
On the walk to nearby Goethe School, 2236 N. Rockwell, to join up with the strikers and supporters, Goodman, who is on the search committee for a new principal at Bucktown’s Pulaski International School of Chicago, said, “I feel like all the teachers we’ve worked with at Pulaski have been great. They support our kids and my daughter’s curiosity. She is in second grade and reading well. Her favorite book is Robinhood.”
Goodman said she was unaware of the details surrounding the departure of Pulaski’s principal Pat Baccellieri (who came to lead the newly reformed school in 2010 and would have been entering his third year as principal this fall). She said that her family moved to the Bucktown neighborhood specifically because they saw its local school, Pulaski, as a viable option for their children.
“We’re looking forward to a new principal and to a great school year,” she said. “I feel like teachers have been taking a lot of heat for the past few years and what makes this frustrating is that they are being told that they are the crazy ones. If everyone is acting like you’re the problem, that’s not helping toward the solution.”
Before having children, Manley was a CPS teacher for five years. When asked how she is approaching the strike with her children, she said that she’s been teaching them that it’s about, “Better schools for everyone, fair treatment, the basics.”
Later in the afternoon, the rallying continued at downtown’s Congress Plaza, where signs carried by strikers were critical of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Board of Ed., and the city’s controversial Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program. For more local coverage from the strike yesterday, visit this Our Urban Times post. Photos from the past week, including visits to six neighborhood schools, are in the pipeline’s Facebook album.