As you may know, the Chicago school district has been experiencing ongoing financial and contractual turmoil.
Earlier this month, the district announced that teachers must take three unpaid furlough days to improve the district’s financial situation. The furlough days will reportedly save the district $30 million.
But teachers at Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy have decided to follow through with a previously planned field trip today, the first of the furlough days.
In a press release, Preito’s 7th and 8th teachers said that, even with the announced furlough, 7th graders would still be attending their planned field trip to Illinois Holocaust Museum.
“What message are you sending to students if you tell them that they cannot come to school to learn that day?” said Daniel Gray, a reading teacher at Pietro.
Social studies teacher Roxana Gonzalez said that the decision to continue with the planned field trip is to fulfill learning objectives for the unit that all 75 attending students are studying, according to DNAinfo Chicago.
“By going on this field trip, it is a conversation we had with them, we are choosing to go on this field trip,” Gonzalez said. “We want the students to know and feel like they are powerful. ... A lot of times being a part of a bigger system like CPS it’s easy to feel powerless.”
In the press release Gonzalez added, “Learning will continue as planned, and we, the teachers, will continue to demand an equitable, student-centered contract that respects teachers as professionals. Teachers’ rights are students’ rights.”
Parents and teachers also held a rally this morning in collaboration with the group Parents 4 Teachers outside of Pietro before heading to the Holocaust Museum.
The Chicago district began the fiscal year with financial issues and made a series of layoffs in February. According to The Chicago Tribune, the district stated it was reducing per-pupil spending and principals were to adjust their budgets accordingly.
Those actions resulted in a strike threat by CTU, which voted earlier this week to authorize a one-day walkout on April 1, despite CPS officials stating that the action would be illegal.
Image: Members of the Chicago Teachers Union cheer during president Karen Lewis speech at a news conference on March 23, in Chicago. Source: Nam Y. Huh/AP
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.