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Baltimore Teachers Rally Behind Their Chicago Counterparts

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Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After another day of failed contract negotiations, thousands of teachers in Chicago remain on strike. Now Baltimore teachers are rallying behind them. Monique Griego has more.

In Maryland, it is against the law to strike but teachers here in Baltimore say they have similar frustrations and their support is behind those striking in Chicago.

For the second day in a row, 25,000 teachers in Chicago did not report to class and instead took to the streets in protest of failed contract negotiations. Tuesday, they gained a new set of allies.

“It’s a really courageous decision on their part to stand up to a national movement that’s really against students,” said Baltimore teacher Iris Kirsch.

Tuesday afternoon, a group of Baltimore teachers rallied outside the Polytechnic Institute in northwest Baltimore to show support for the changes educators in Chicago are fighting for—better pay, job security, smaller class sizes and a new performance evaluation process.

“It’s a very strong stance they’re taking and I think it’s going to influence bargaining all around the country for improvements in education,” said Polytechnic teacher Bill Bleich.

Teachers here say they’re dealing with the same problems.

“They’re trying to make our class sizes smaller so we can learn better and I think that’s awesome,” said student Daniel Griffin.

The strike has kept 350,000 Chicago students out of the classroom. While that’s earned teachers some criticism, supporters say it’s the only way to get things done.

“They know in the long run, sending those kids to schools which are overcrowded and unsafe isn’t doing anything for those children. Those children deserve better schools,” Kirsch said.

The negotiations in Chicago are still ongoing, with teachers vowing to remain on strike.

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