CNN - Chicago public school teachers went on strike Friday over state funding and school closures, prompting the cancellation of classes for 400,000 students in the nation's third-largest district. The Chicago Teachers Union's "Day of Action" sought to highlight stalled contract negotiations with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school board and to criticize Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner over a state budget stalemate that jeopardizes classroom funding.
Protesters temporarily blocked traffic on Lake Shore Drive, causing significant traffic snarls during Chicago's busy Friday evening commute. Three protesters were arrested, Chicago Police spokesman Kevin Quade told CNN, and charges are pending. One person was also ticketed during the march. Police said they had no reports of injuries or property damage.
The last Chicago teachers strike was in 2012 and lasted more than a week until teachers and the mayor reached an agreement. Teachers and students rallied outside Northeastern Illinois University and staged a theatrical "New Orleans-style jazz funeral" to describe Chicago schools' state of affairs. Other striking teachers picketed in the Friday rain -- some with signs, some with umbrellas. "We're fighting for not only our own contract but for better funding across the entire state. As you can see, there's tons of people out here from all walks of life," one striking teacher told CNN.. "We care about the students," the teacher added. "We want funding (for) our schools so our children can have supplies ... gym, art, and P.E. just like the kids in the suburbs do."
Another striking teacher said, It's showing solidarity. It's everybody standing together and saying we're not going to take this any more."