Charter Schools remain open during strike

September 10, 2012

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(WBEZ/Odette Yousef)
Students at Chicago Math and Science Academy in Rogers Park were relatively untouched by the city-wide teachers' strike.

Not all students were out of classes today.  

For those at Chicago’s 118 charter schools, it was just Monday as usual. Charter schools fall under the Chicago Public Schools system, but they do not hire teachers from the Chicago Teachers Union.

At Chicago Math and Science Academy in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the Far North Side, students between grades six and 12 years old crammed the hallways, shoving things in and out of their lockers, catching up on weekend gossip, and moving through to their first-period classrooms where the day would start prompty at 8:15 a.m.

“You know, the biggest impact it’s going to have unfortunately is on our athletic program,” said Ken Johnson, dean of students at CMSA. Johnson said the girls’ volleyball and boys’ soccer teams have far fewer public school teams to play against, with other public schools closed. “So we’ve actually been talking to the kids, kind of preparing them for the fact that their season will be stalled. So there’s some disappointment there.”

Johnson said the strike complicates things in other ways: Some students have siblings in schools that are closed. With 600 students of its own, Johnson said CMSA was not able to take in any additional students during this strike, but he says parents appear to be finding their own solutions.

Though they do not belong to the CTU, teachers at CMSA have had their own years-long fight to unionize.