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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Chicago Teachers End Strike

After weeks of protest, teachers and students are going back to school.

Chicago teachers agreed to end their week-long strike Tuesday, sending thousands of students back to school.

The nation’s third largest school district left 350,000 students at home as the teachers union protested teacher evaluations and job security, bringing the topic to a national level.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to court to try to force the teachers back to the classroom, calling the walkout unnecessary and a "strike of choice."

He filed a lawsuit that described the strike as an unlawful danger to the public. Emanuel said that the agreement could be reached with school in session while the union believed that there were still many unresolved issues.

This was the first school strike in Chicago in 25 years, and thousands of parents had to find other educational alternatives for their children, including many who live in gang ridden neighborhoods.

Parents however supported the strike, coming out to march alongside the teachers.

The vote that took place was not a vote on the contract, but on ending the strike. The contract will now be voted on by more than 25,000 teachers.

This walkout posed as a test for teachers unions which are opposing efforts to expand charter schools. They also protested reaching out to private companies to help with failing schools, as well as comparing teacher evaluations with their students' scores.

On a political level, this labor strike in President Barack Obama's hometown comes at a time of prominent campaigning, and Democrat Emanuel's opposition to the strike has angered many teachers and parents.

The strike began on September 10th following months of conflicting contract talks.

In July, Emanuel and the union agreed to implement a longer school day and hire back 477 teachers who had previously been laid off rather than increase the salary of regular teachers to work longer hours. Despite hopes that the contracts would be resolved before school started, other conflicts became more prominent.

When discussing teaching payment, the district proposed a 16 percent raised over four years which is much more than what other American employers have offered recently.

The union delayed its vote to give teachers more time to consider the contract that they will vote on in future weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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