The Rundown: The end of the latest CPS-CTU standoff?

Teachers and members of the CTU assembled a car caravan near Union Park in the West Loop of Chicago to protest in school learning on January 5, 2022. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Teachers and members of the CTU assembled a car caravan near Union Park in the West Loop of Chicago to protest in school learning on January 5, 2022. Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

The Rundown: The end of the latest CPS-CTU standoff?

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Hey there! It’s Wednesday, and I’ve been to a lot of City Council meetings and never saw anything like this. Get with it, Chicago. Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Chicago teachers are voting on a deal that reopens classrooms

We could know any minute now whether Chicago teachers have accepted a tentative agreement that ends a standoff with city officials that resulted in five days of canceled classes.

The deal includes very few demands made by the Chicago Teachers Union, leaving many teachers frustrated, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I just hope that the public understands we were not asking for much and it became such a struggle and it should not be this way.” said Elizabeth Morales, a union delegate at Spry Elementary who said she does not know how she’ll vote on the agreement.

If teachers reject the deal, the union’s governing body could vote to resume the standoff.

But it’s unclear if there’s much of an appetite to prolong the labor dispute.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey told members “we saw our bargaining leverage decreasing” because city officials had “less and less incentive to actually bargain with us.” And Chicago Public Schools officials did not guarantee teachers would recover pay from the missed school days. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced it would distribute millions of free COVID-19 tests to schools across the nation in an effort to keep classrooms open. [NPR]

2. Trump cuts short an NPR interview after being pressed on his baseless election fraud claims

Former President Donald Trump hung up on Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep just nine minutes into what was scheduled to be a 15-minute interview.

The abrupt end came as Inskeep pressed Trump on his baseless and unproven claims that the 2020 election was “rigged.”

As NPR reports, “The tone of the interview changed. Trump then hurried off the phone, as he was starting to be asked about the attack on the Capitol, inspired by election lies.” [NPR]

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Trump said politicians who do not say whether they received a COVID-19 booster shot are “gutless.”

The comment appears to be a dig at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has refused to disclose his vaccination status and has not ruled out a 2024 presidential bid if Trump were to run again. [CNN]

3. An influential Illinois Democrat vows to pass an anti-crime bill to tackle rising carjackings and retail thefts

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch tells WBEZ that he hopes to address alarming rises in carjackings and organized retail thefts in an anti-crime bill.

Welch, a Democrat, did not provide “details of what would be in the measure but said his party intends to push back against GOP portrayals that Democrats have been soft on crime,” reports WBEZ’s Dave McKinney.

“One of the messages that we’re going to send out loud and clear this session is that we believe that if you do the crime, you should do the time,” Welch said. “We believe that police should be properly funded and trained and educated. But it’s going to take us all working together to make sure that we bring this violence down.”

In Chicago, carjackings rose by 23% in 2021 over the previous year and are up by nearly 300% since 2019, according to city data. The crime wave has spared few parts of the city. [WBEZ]

4. COVID-19 cases dipped in Chicago, but hospitalizations are still rising

The city may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the omicron wave, but it’s too early to say for sure, city officials say.

Dr. Allison Arwady this week said some measure of “relief” could be near as case counts and the positivity rate have dipped.

“The data is maybe giving a little sense of some potential relief. I am feeling that, but I can’t say for sure that we are flattening or past a peak,” Arwady said yesterday. “We are beginning to see a flattening of the increase.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

The city is reporting a seven-day average of 4,801 cases per day as of yesterday, down 11% compared to the previous week. And the positivity rate has fallen to about 18% from 21%.

Hospitalizations, however, are averaging 189 per day, up 32%, according to city data. And about 90% of intensive care beds were taken. [COVID Dashboard]

5. Ida B. Wells is honored with her own Barbie doll

Educator, journalist, anti-lynching activist and NAACP co-founder Ida B. Wells is getting her own Barbie doll, complete with a miniature replica of the Memphis Free Speech, the newspaper where Wells became editor and co-owner in 1889, reports NPR.

“My great-grandmother was a trailblazer, who courageously followed her convictions and challenged the status quo by fighting for civil rights and women’s suffrage,” said Michelle Duster, author, public historian and great-granddaughter of Wells. “This is an incredible opportunity to shine a light on her truth and enduring legacy to empower a new generation to speak up for what they believe in.” [NPR]

In case you missed it, WBEZ’s Curious City has this fascinating episode that examines the lasting impact Wells had on Chicago. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • NATO and Russia agreed to set up more meetings as they try to ease tensions amid concerns Moscow will order an invasion of Ukraine. [AP]
  • A federal judge ruled that a sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew can move forward. [NPR]
  • U.S. inflation jumped at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month. [NPR]
  • I had no idea what Wordle was until almost everyone I know on Twitter began posting about it this week. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

The nominations were announced today for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, with House of Gucci and The Power of the Dog leading in the number of film nods (three each). Over in TV land, Succession and Ted Lasso were tied with five nominations each.

The awards’ top category, best cast, included Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, House of Gucci and King Richard. [New York Times]

Among the notable snubs were The Harder They Fall, The French Dispatch, C’Mon C’Mon and Spider-Man: No Way Home. [Hollywood Reporter]

Tell me something good …

Libby and I need some new artists to listen to while we write the newsletter. Who do you recommend and why?

Charlie writes:

“If you’re still looking for some new music to refresh those 2022 playlists, try Julie Jurgens — she’s got a great new album coming out on Friday, but the first single is already out on Spotify.”

What are you listening to? Feel free to email me at or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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