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Teachers' strike shuts down Chicago's charter schools

The Acero teachers, who earn £10,000 pounds less than teachers in traditional schools, are demanding higher wages and smaller class sizes

CHARTER schools across Chicago were shut down yesterday as teachers walked out in the first strike in the chain managed by the non-profit Acero network.

More than 500 staff took part in the industrial action which affected 15 schools serving more than 7,000 children as they demanded higher pay and smaller class sizes.

The schools are taxpayer-funded but managed privately by nonprofit organisations like Acero or profit-making organisations. 

Teachers at Acero schools earn up to $13,000 (£10,198) less than those in traditional schools, with the Chicago Teachers Union warning that they cannot afford the high cost of living in the city.

Acero chief executive Richard L Rodriguez earns around $260,000 (£204,000) per year to manage the 15 charter schools.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said the charter school movement is experiencing challenges after being seen as “the shiny new object” for decades.

“They’re going through growing pains, and what you’re seeing in a bunch of the different charter schools is that teachers are saying we want to make a career helping kids in this structure, but we need to have the conditions kids need and the pay we need,” she said.


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