OPINION: Teachers should avoid going on strike

Kate Rehwinkel, Columnist

Typically I try to stay away from political and controversial topics, because I am not always understanding all the facts or do not have an opinion that I want to share. However, this week I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and do just that. 

This week Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers have decided to go on strike for the first time since 2012, leaving 300,000 kids without teachers. According to The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered the union 16% raises over five years plus numerous commitments for more support staff, nurses and librarians in a school district already in perilous financial shape. 

It is a fact that many public city schools suffer with the amount of funding they receive, and the amount of pay for teachers isn’t all that great either. It is not only Chicago that is having these problems. I know St. Louis city public schools are in desperate need of funding as well. I remember when the teachers went on strike. To me, Mayor Lightfoot made a generous offer, especially since the public schools are dealing with lots of financial issues. 

I am one of the few people I know who believes teachers going on strike is bad. Do not get me wrong, I believe that teachers deserve more money than what they make now; however, having these strikes leaves several thousands of kids without teachers. Now, parents have to figure out what they are going to do with their children. Some parents might have to take off work, pay for a babysitter, or take them to work if they can. 

Most of the education majors I know have told me they want to be a teacher to help make a difference for children, not because of the money. I believe those teachers that are on strike do care a lot about the children they teach and their future, but when you are out there on strike you are not caring about the kids, you are caring about yourself trying to get more money. 

The whole reason the teachers are on strike is for higher wages, and when CPS does not have money to give it means the government is not funding city schools properly. This whole problem is rooted in the actual government funding. 

I suggest that if the teachers want to go on strike they should have to use their sick days, hire substitute teachers and provide them with lesson plans so the kids can learn and get an education instead of sitting at home and not learning. I think the top priority for teachers should be the children, and I believe that when teachers go on strike they lose that priority and become greedy. 

Kate Rehwinkel is a senior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]