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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Inner City Blues: Chaos in The City of Wind

Chicago has made itself a home in the news this summer, breaking records, I'm sure. Between the debacle that is Lil Jojo and Chief Keef to senseless and seemingly never ending gun violence in the city to the Chicago's Teachers Union's decision to go on strike, we just cannot seem to get a break. It hurts my heart to see the city I have grown to love fall apart like this.

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).
Michael Butz, CPS Parent: I am the parent of a CPS 3rd grader. I support our teachers 100 percent, but I am terribly disappointed in the CTU's decision to strike after receiving a contract offer which was fair to all parties which have a stake: children, teachers, parents and taxpayers.
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?


  1. I totally, agree and I think we all think about how can we make a difference. I just want to say SALUTE to the CPS teachers who are on strike. Some of my people are out there striking. I couldn't be more period. People don't understand what teachers deal with. The work doesn't stop after ever 7 hr work day. The mayor,I believe has no plan, but putting the blame of these kids roaming the street on the teachers. We have to support our teachers. What he has failed to mention is that a lot of students are out there marching with their teachers. The students running the streets, have their parents and themselves to blame. That's a personal choice. I am a child of two working parents. We weren't out running the streets when left unattended. My parents always knew where were as well. That being said, it's a choice those kids are making to be in yne streets, not their teachers.The question should be, what are parents going to do, to make sure their kids are off the streets? They're treating teachers as if their babysitters even though that is one of the hats we wear, among many others.

  2. --Soulful Mama,

    Where I do agree that the parents should take responsibility for the whereabouts and actions of their children, what about the ones who can't monitor the child's every move; the ones who have to work lest the family be homeless and without food? At this place we're in now, how do they keep those children occupied during the strike? Do the children even respect their parents enough now to do as their told??

    You and I were raised differently. We were shown love and affection differently, which molded us into the women that we are today. A lot of these students don't share that same accountability we had to our parents. My mom had to know my every move and though I hated it then, I appreciate her attentiveness now.

    The junior high and high school students I worked with last summer were already functioning as adults, taking care of themselves because some parents were unable to. Because of that, they developed a sense of "I'm grown. You can't tell me what to do." At that point, how do you tell a teenager, who doesn't have to answer to anyone because THEY are their own provider, to respect an authority figure?