Over 25,000 Chicago teachers went on strike on October 17, forcing the cancellation of classes for over 361,000 students in the country's third largest school district. The strikes occurred after the Chicago Teachers Union had not negotiated an agreement with them about the district's pay and working conditions.
Teachers are ready to strike until their demands are met, which stops the public school system. As the strike continues in a new week, the union's demands highlight the financial challenges teachers in the United States face.
Teachers demand better pay and more staff.
The union demands that the school district "cease to change the people who make our schools work" and salaries go up and down.
Teachers want the school district to hire more staff "in all areas that affect children's learning," such as social workers, counselors and nurses.
Overcrowded classrooms are another major concern of the union, which supports fixed caps for class sizes. According to the union, schools currently have up to 40 students in a class.
The school system has resisted these demands. The Chicago Public Schools said their original compensation agreement, which was rejected by the union, contained "the most generous offers in the district's history."
The national teacher salary is growing slowly, rooted in evidence. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States lags behind its peers, including Canada and Australia, in terms of teacher salaries.
The average annual salary for primary school teachers in the United States amounts According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 201
While wages in various professions have steadily increased since the recession, the average teacher salary has actually dropped by 3
The Chicago Public School teachers earn an initial salary of just under $ 53,000 over the last decade, according to the Chicago Tribune per year. In a unique Chicago rule, teachers need to live in public schools in the actual city where the cost of living is higher than in the surrounding suburbs. In fact, according to PayScale, Chicago's cost of living is 23% above the national average.
Other Financial Burdens on Teachers
Apart from salary problems, teachers are often faced with additional financial burdens due to the nature of the job.
Many teachers said they would spend their own money on educational materials without reimbursement, which would be another financial burden.
Since teachers generally work only 10 months a year, they have to find ways to stretch their salary or other means to make ends meet in the summer vacations. An analysis by the Pew Research Center found that one out of every six public school teachers worked as a sideline in the summer to supplement their income.
Since the lesson was canceled on the fourth day, the union and the school system are still negotiating an agreement. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter Monday that the government would "continue to work hard on the negotiating table."
However, after Lightfoot proposed that teachers end the strike without reaching an agreement and continue negotiations while working without a contract, union president Jesse Sharkey told the Chicago Tribune that "progress has stopped".
How this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!
Do not miss: 618,000 millionaires live in the US – here they live