Union leaders say teachers employed by a Chicago charter school network are staging the first strike at any of the privately run, taxpayer-funded schools in the U.S.

Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside the Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside the Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

The strike at Acero’s 15 charter schools in Chicago began Tuesday morning after disappointing negotiations with management. Classes have been canceled for about 7,500 students.

From left to right, Kathryn Schoedel, a teacher at Ziumbo Elementary School, Lindsay Anderson, a teacher at Torres Elementary school and Vanessa Cerf-Nikolakakis, a teacher at Torres Elementary School with their signs as they prepare to walk the picket line outside of Acero's Zizumbo Elementary charter school on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP)
From left to right, Kathryn Schoedel, a teacher at Ziumbo Elementary School, Lindsay Anderson, a teacher at Torres Elementary school and Vanessa Cerf-Nikolakakis, a teacher at Torres Elementary School with their signs as they prepare to walk the picket line outside of Acero’s Zizumbo Elementary charter school on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP)
Charter school teachers including Vanessa Cerf-Nikolakakis, center, of Torres Elementary School, and other supporters walk the picket line outside the Acero's Zizumbo Elementary Charter school, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)
Charter school teachers including Vanessa Cerf-Nikolakakis, center, of Torres Elementary School, and other supporters walk the picket line outside the Acero’s Zizumbo Elementary Charter school, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The Chicago Teachers Union represents the approximately 500 teachers at the predominantly Latino schools. Union leaders say the teachers want smaller classes, an increase in special education staff, higher salaries and guaranteed protections for students and families living in the country without legal permission.

Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students.  (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Educators with Acero charter schools strike outside Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Chicago. Hundreds of teachers have gone on strike at the Chicago charter school network, leading to canceled classes for thousands of students. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Acero CEO Richard Rodriguez blames the strike on an “anti-charter political agenda.” He says students and parents are being forced to suffer a strike for “no good reason.”

Source: The Associated Press

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