The Chicago teachers strike drags into a second week, after a representative group of the Chicago Teachers Union decided over the weekend not to end the walkout even though union leaders and school officials had reached a tentative contract deal.
The strike in the third-largest school system in the country is affecting more than 350,000 children.
A quick primer:
Q. What's the sticking point?
A. Among the major issues, the teachers are negotiating over the length of the school day, objecting to their evaluations being tied to performance and fretting about potential job losses.
Q. How would the length of school days change?
A. Elementary students would gain 75 minutes to create a seven-hour school day. High school students would gain 30 minutes to create a seven-and-a-half-hour school day. Teachers wants additional money to teach the additional hours.
Q. Why are teachers objecting to evaluations tied to performance?
A. The union says student performance is directly linked to conditions in the home or neighborhood, making it unfair for teachers to be punished if students don't do well in the the classroom for those reasons.
Q. How many jobs will be lost under the evaluation plan?
A. As many as 6,000 teachers could lose their jobs under the evaluation system, according to CTU President Karen Lewis, who has called the system "unacceptable." The mayor's office, the city and school officials have questioned that job-loss figure.
Q. How many school closings are being talked about?
A. The teachers union says 200 schools will be closed, but Marielle Sainvilus, a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools, calls the claim "false," asserting that union leaders said recently that 100 schools would close. "I'm sure it'll be another number tomorrow," she said.
Q. What is the status of the strike?
A. The Chicago Teachers Union will make no decision Monday. They are taking the day off for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is vowing to go to court to force teachers back to work, calling Sunday's actions by the union "a delay of choice that is wrong for our children." He announced in a statement that he's asked city lawyers to file an injunction in circuit court to "immediately end this strike."
Q. What's next?
A. The House of Delegates - a group of 800 union representatives - will reconvene Tuesday afternoon, at which point delegates could decide to end the strike. If they do, classes would resume no earlier than Wednesday. The rank-and-file of the Chicago Teachers Union would still have the opportunity at some point to accept, or reject, the proposed contract.
But as of Sunday, Lewis said a "clear majority" of union delegates did not want to suspend the strike given the proposed contract, saying "they are not happy with the agreement."