CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is urging negotiators to come up with a new contract for the city's teachers quickly for the sake of the children.
During a news conference today, Emanuel said negotiations resumed a little before noon.
Emanuel defended the Chicago Public Schools' contract offer to teachers. He says negotiators were close to agreement, but the Chicago Teachers Union chose to go on strike despite that. He called the strike "totally avoidable."
Thousands of teachers walked off the job today in Chicago's first schools strike in 25 years.
Emanuel says one of the unresolved issues is disagreement over the teacher evaluation system. But the mayor says that system was designed by teachers for teachers.
A striking teacher who was picketing outside an elementary school says he had hoped the walkout would be averted. Michael Williams says, "We all want to get back to teaching." But he says wages and classroom conditions need to be improved.
Officials are trying to figure out how to keep 400,000 schoolchildren safe and occupied during the strike. About 140 schools were open for the first half of the day so children who rely on free meals could eat breakfast and lunch.
153-w-36-(Tim Maguire, AP correspondent, with Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and Mayor Rahm Emanuel)--Chicago public school teachers hit the picket line. AP correspondent Tim Maguire reports. (10 Sep 2012)
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091-a-11-(Gladys Hampton, parent of a Chicago school child, in interview)-"not about them"-Parent Gladys Hampton says she's angry the school board and teacher's union could not come to an agreement. COURTESY: ABC 7 Chicago ((mandatory on-air credit)) (10 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *091 (09/10/12)>> 00:11 "not about them"
APPHOTO ILSD103: Public school teachers picket outside Amundsen High School on the first day of a strike by the Chicago Teachers Union, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Chicago. The school is one of more than 140 schools in the Chicago Public Schools' "Children First" contingency plan, which feeds and houses students for four hours during the strike. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong) (10 Sep 2012)
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APPHOTO ILMG108: Rose Davis speaks outside Benjamin E. Mays Academy where she dropped off her two grandchildren for a half day of school supervision, during the first day of a teachers strike Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Chicago. Thousands of teachers walked off the job in the nation's third-largest school district for the first time in 25 years after union leaders announced they were far from resolving a contract dispute with school district officials. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (10 Sep 2012)
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