Chicago Teachers Strike while Philippine Teachers Continue to Work

Hundreds of thousands of children in the city of Chicago suddenly have no classes to attend. Parents found themselves scrambling to find alternative childcare arrangements so that they could go to their work. This is what snow days do to us in Virginia. School closings can have a dramatic impact on our schedules. But public schools are not closed in Chicago due to a snowstorm. The teachers went on strike. The main reason behind the strike is the school board's plan to use students' test scores in standardized exams as a major part of teacher's evaluation. Chicago teachers on the average receive more than US$6000 per month. The school board even promised a 16% raise over the next four years.

More than 200,000 Chicago pupils qualify for the free lunch program. This means that a large number of these pupils will not be having the nourishment they normally receive when schools are closed. These numbers are likewise used to support the teacher's opposition to the use of standardized test scores. Teachers have pointed out that learning outcomes measured by these standard tests are heavily influenced by poverty. Children from poor families perform poorly in these exams not necessarily due to poor teaching.

Philippine public school teachers receive a much lower (at least 10 times lower) salary. Kindergarten volunteer teachers receive about US$70 per month (that is almost 100 times lower). Classrooms in the Philippines are not air-conditioned. Teachers in the Philippines deal with students who are sometimes have nothing to eat. Yet, these teachers have not stopped working.

Perhaps, this gives us more reason to start listening to the teachers in the Philippines:

And instead of staging a strike, they dance to demonstrate:

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