WBEZ | 1980s http://www.wbez.org/tags/1980s Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Remembering the Chicago teacher strikes of the 1980s http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/remembering-chicago-teacher-strikes-1980s-102355 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sign%20photo.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 310px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left; " title="Sign making at teacher's strike, Nettlhorst Elementary School (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">In the 1980s Chicago Public Schools were a mess. They had no money, terrible working conditions and poor educational standards. Teachers walked out four times between 1983 and 1987. Kathy Pick&#39;s children were in elementary school then.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;It was a devastating situation, particularly the last strike, which I believe was 19 days.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">In response Pick and other parents set up what they called &ldquo;strike schools.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&quot;We would find a space, like we had a Boys and Girls Club, that we could convert it into classrooms that would be from like 9 to 1.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">Pick thinks the school system is much better now. Back then she wouldn&rsquo;t think of sending her kids to the neighborhood school. Now she says, &quot;It&#39;s one of the better schools in Lincoln Park.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">But Judith Stein thinks the current system still needs work. Stein taught English at Kenwood Academy in the 1980s. &quot;I think today&rsquo;s teachers have been under far worse pressure,&quot; Stein said. &quot;Both political and community and everything else, than even we were &mdash; and we were always under pressure.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">Stein didn&rsquo;t support every teacher&rsquo;s strike in the 80s. But she knows why they&rsquo;re necessary. &quot;The truth is when you&rsquo;re back is up against the wall, you have to do something to be heard.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="">Earlier strikes did result in major school reforms. And they may have left their mark on those who lived through them &mdash; including Karen Lewis. The current head of the Chicago Teachers Union was one of Judith Stein&rsquo;s students.</div></p> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 16:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/remembering-chicago-teacher-strikes-1980s-102355