A Chicago Teachers Union action. (Photo credit: Flickr user JeanPaulHolmes)

At 10 PM central standard time last night, 29,000 Chicago teachers and support staff declared that they are going out on strike (read about their grievances and how you can help them here).

On his blog Teacher X, Chicago Teacher Xian Barret explains one of the most important things to understand about the teacher strike: it’s not just about teachers, it’s also about defending kids. Here’s an excerpt from his blog post, where he responds to Chicago Public Schools administration claiming that a strike hurts kids:

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

If you want to learn more about the strike in Chicago and how you can help, see our blog post “Chicago’s Teachers Just Went On Strike — Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Why.