Chicago has "spent hundreds of millions" to keep schools safe and open and the Chicago Teachers Union has staged "an illegal walk-out" and "abandoned kids and their families," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday.
"To be clear, what the Chicago Teachers Union did was an illegal walk-out," Lightfoot told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"They abandoned their posts and they abandoned kids and their families."
Lightfoot continues to try to get Chicago's kids back in school, but is calling out the CTU for politicking to "abandon the science."
"We can get a deal done if there's good will on both sides, but fundamentally what we cannot do is abandon the science," she told host Chuck Todd. "We know that the safest place for kids to be is in-person learning in schools. And we've spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make our schools safe. They are safe. We've got the data to demonstrate that.
"We've got to get the teachers union to get real and get serious about getting back into in-person learning."
After years of debate on in-person learning, Lightfoot has now adopted the long-running conservative effort to keep kids in school, backed by "an unprecedented level of parent activism."
"Parents are outraged, and they are making their outrage known to the teachers union," Lightfoot continued.
"This is a very different dynamic than ever before. We've got an enormous amount of parent activism. They are writing letters, emails. They are protesting. They're holding press conferences. This is an unprecedented level of parent activism all in support of returning to in-person learning."
Lightfoot also said the union is breaking the law.
"So this walk-out by the teachers union, which is illegal, has had cascading negative ripple effects not only on the students and their learning, their social, emotional welfare, but also on the families themselves," she said. "It is making them have tenuous financial status because they have to work, but they also have to take care of their kids. This is an untenable situation and completely, utterly avoidable. So I'm going to be on the side of the parents fighting every single day to get our kids back in school."
The talks are being conducted by the minute, she concluded.
"We're working like the dickens to make sure that we get a deal done today, so I remain hopeful," she said.
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