Make up days or paid days?


Photo and Artwork by Diane Gonzalez (Div. 023).

Vivian Aviles , Reporter

On the evening of Oct. 31, the Chicago teachers strike came to an end, but not before Mayor Lori Lightfoot agreed to make up five of the 11 missed school days. If teachers decided to go on strike which meant that they knowingly sacrificed part of their income, their improved contract should have been enough.

CPS announced the makeup dates on Nov. 5 on social media platforms, having parents, teachers and students change their plans last minute if possible.

Makeup days are Nov. 27, Jan. 2 and 3, and June. 17 and 18. The three 2019 dates interrupt holiday breaks, and the June dates were added to the end of the year, which does not help students prepare for any AP or SAT test.

This is unfair and disappointing to students and their families. Students work hard all year and rely on these breaks to relax, catch up on sleep, and hang out with relatives or friends. Not only that, but some people have pre-planned vacations during these days that will now count as an unexcused absence if they go.

“I feel bad for the kids who have vacation plans because now they have to miss school and do all the work that was handed out during those days even though they wouldn’t have had to if there weren’t days to be made up. At the very least, the days should be excused,” said junior Aleena Banuelos, Div. 137.

Some students weren’t upset that instructional time has to be made up, but that the days are being taken out of pre-planned breaks.

“I support making up the days, but I don’t support when the days are. I do feel that making up the days is necessary, though. In my IB Sports class, we’re behind so those extra days that we can make up will give us more time to learn what we missed. If we don’t finish on time, we will have to do class work as summer homework,” said Banuelos.

Other students believe that school days shouldn’t have to be made up at all.

“Students aren’t the ones who chose to go on strike. Teachers probably just wanted to make up days so they can get paid. One of my teachers even told me that was the reason,” said junior Madison Rodriguez, Div. 137.

It’s clear that teachers want make up days so they can earn money they missed when they went on strike. In fact, CPS administration did not allow for the make up days to be made up on non-attendance where teachers were already being paid.

The makeup days do count as attendance days, so as an incentive to come to school, Taft is hosting a Homecoming 2.0 dance, scheduled for Feb. 15. This would be an added benefit to attending school on makeup dates because a student can only have five or less unexcused absences to be eligible for the event. Homecoming 2.0 is something fun to look forward to.

“Even though no one really wants to go to school during the days we were supposed to have off, it’s nice that students are getting something out of it in a way because of Homecoming 2.0,” said Rodriguez.

Many people, including teachers, live paycheck to paycheck, so it’s understandable why the Chicago Teachers’ Union added another strike day to win back worked school days. However, it seemed like the teachers were overreaching when they asked for some makeup days. It’s not much of a benefit to instructional time. Some students and even teachers will not be able to accommodate these preplanned vacation days. At least, only five are being added into the year and the extra time can help students in rigorous classes catch up on material they wouldn’t have been able to cover.