By Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison -
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) remain closed and classrooms empty. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CPS leadership and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) continue their carnival show at the expense of Chicago’s children.
Isolation is devastating children. Not the coronavirus. Students have been relegated to their homes and sequestered away from a proper educational setting which allows for a more productive and socially nourishing learning environment. The social and emotional wellbeing of in-person learning continues to go missing at CPS at a time when it is so urgently needed. Especially for many children at the lower end of the economic spectrum who lack the educational resources and additional guidance at home.
When you are truly honest about your commitment to the health and welfare of children then CPS classrooms would have already been re-opened by now. Like the Archdiocese of Chicago and most suburban school systems throughout the area, they have reopened their classrooms and brought the children back into a safe environment. The Archdiocese of Chicago made the decision last year to put children first and return to the classroom calling their mission, “Operating with Trust” and it has proved safe and successful for both children and adults.
Why CPS remains lost in the abyss is almost criminal. The Chicago schools mess has only deepened in recent weeks with CTU’s refusal to return to the classroom and their aggressive attempt to exploit this situation with the threat of a strike. It’s been reported that CTU is lobbying Governor Pritzker to quickly sign HB 2275 which would allow CTU the ability to strike. Will Governor Pritzker, who has remained largely silent on the CPS reopening fight, acquiesce to CTU’s strike demands or will he step up and help resolve this situation amicably? Either way, it’s time for CPS children to return to the classrooms.
A simple question for all the parties involved: Why must the children continue to suffer?
Sean M. Morrison is Cook County Commissioner for the 17th District