Each year, during the summer months especially, the news is filled with stories of senseless deaths due to gun violence. Just this summer alone, there have been over 300 deaths as a result of shootings. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 1,706 shooting since as of September 2. This has become such an issue that it is no longer local news; now, other cities are getting wind of the foolishness that goes on here. It's embarrassing, to say the least. Over the past few days, I've checked Twitter sporadically, each time I watched as others expressed their disdain.
The Chicago Teacher Union's decision to strike has seemed to add fuel to the fire. Parents and school officials alike are outraged that the teachers could be so "inconsiderate", choosing to go on strike the night before the second week of classes were scheduled to start (tomorrow, September 13, will mark the fourth day of the strike).
People are anticipating more violence during the strike as a result of hundreds of thousands of CPS students now out of school, looking to place the blame on the teachers.
I get that there are two sides to every story. Decisions to implement longer school days so the children can have more time to learn coupled with the decision to have stricter evaluations for the teachers doesn't seem fair. I'm sure that the teachers are not happy that their students are probably out roaming the streets when they could be learning but there is obviously a need that is not being met. Seventy five thousand dollars a year is nearly not enough for what they're are up against in the classroom. I've worked with students who attend Chicago Public Schools; it is NOT an easy task. I understand what these teachers have to put up with for eight hours a day.
I also understand that the city is facing is up against it's own financial crisis. The city is facing an $8.1 billion deficit while the state of Illinois has accumulated $43.8 billion in debt. These numbers make it almost impossible to meet the demands of these overworked and underpaid teachers. What's to be done in this kind of situation?
I hate the impression other cities have of us. I feel as if they fear us in the sense that this a place they'll never want to visit, which is a shame because we have one of the most beautiful cities in North America. Two years ago, the Huff Post ranked us #4 on their list of top 10 best cities. I feel like we're being judged and it doesn't sit well with me.
I have no idea what Mayor Emanuel plans to do or how he plans to go about it but I pray a decision is made soon regarding this strike (for the same of being realistic: by the end of the week). as for this on going violence among each other--I'm at a lost for words. I don't know what could be done to end it altogether short of Jesus' return.
How do we save our city?