One of the most discussed topics around Central recently has been the potential strike and what it means for students going forward.
The issue involves the Unit 4 School Board and the Champaign Federation of Teachers and the inability to come to a compromise over a contract for the teachers. Negotiations began over a year ago over kindergarten class sizes, home visits, and professional development days.
Students have expressed their concerns over what lost instructional time will mean for semester finals and even AP testing in May. The strike would also affect winter sports due to many coaches teaching in the district.
AP test dates don’t account for whether or not students have had necessary class time to prepare. Learning new material for AP students may be condensed due to the strike. As a result, the effectiveness of this teaching may not be best for student success.
High school students are not the only ones that would be affected by the strike. Elementary students that are unable to stay home by themselves would have to rely on their parents throughout the day while they still need to work.
“A lot of the kids get meals from the school,” said concerned student Liara Aber. The students that rely on the school for basic meals and supervision during the day would be unable to have those resources readily available. Working parents that are unable to afford to send their child to daycare would have to sacrifice their payment or work schedule in order to watch over them.
Community members have become concerned over how these children will get lunches during the potential strike. A GoFundMe was started to provide sack lunches at distribution points for students that rely on their school for lunch. If negotiations are successful and the strike doesn’t occur, the money raised will go to paying off student lunch debt.
A strike would affect more than just academics; sports teams would be unable to practice in school facilities, play games, and be coached by teachers while the strike is happening. Student-led practice is one solution that basketball coach and teacher Andy Place has suggested.
When asked about how the team will rebound from potential lost practice time, Place said that he is unsure if the team will be able to make up for that lost time due to the intensity of the practices. As the strike could go on for as long as it takes for the two sides to sort out an agreement, the season’s success could be hindered. “It can, it probably will [be affected]” said Coach Place.
This situation brings its fair share of problems for the Champaign community and shows how these issues affect more than just the people directly involved. As said by Coach Place, “I don’t think anybody really wins in this situation… both sides are really supposed to fight for kids… while [striking] is necessary for the teachers, nobody wins.”