Another bargaining session came and went yesterday. What do we know today that we didn’t already know?
We know that the Delta Variant has a mind of its own, but Mayor Lightfoot and her CPS team do not believe the protocols and mitigation strategies we agreed to earlier this year are important for reopening schools to all students next month.
Keep in mind that those mitigation strategies were put in place when only 25 percent of students returned to school buildings. With the mayor and CPS imposing in-person instruction on all students beginning Aug. 30, the safety protocols we agreed to in the winter and spring must remain in place.
We also know that CPS will have a record infusion of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan, but only a small percentage of those funds will make their way to our classrooms. We have an historic opportunity to leverage those resources into the kind of transformation our schools need and deserve. Simply put, we need more adult bodies in our schools and CPS has the money to do that.
We know that CPS finally has begun to focus somewhat on the need to vaccinate eligible students. But that attention lacks the urgency and recognition of what our students and their families need in this moment.
The district has indicated a willingness to consider our demand that the Virtual Academy be staffed by members with family or medical needs for remote accommodations. But CPS still refuses to guarantee members the right to return to their original school once the pandemic ends.
On Wednesday, we had a powerful picket and press conference at CPS headquarters. We stated our case loudly and succinctly. We will continue to do so until the mayor begins to truly listen. You can help by signing and sharing our Invest in Our Schools petition.
And, after more than 150 years of appointed leadership of our schools, we have an elected representative school board.
When we fight, we win. Democracy wins.