MIKE NIETO: A lesson learned from the strike

2012-09-20T18:00:00Z 2014-05-12T22:21:02Z MIKE NIETO: A lesson learned from the strikeMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
September 20, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

Now that the teachers' strike is over, everyone can go back to school and let the games continue.

Forget about the last week or so and everyone can pick up where they left off. The Chicago Public Schools were back in session on Wednesday.

If it were only that easy.

Sure the Chicago Public League teams lost athletic events as well as valuable classroom time. Sure, the games may be made up and so can the classroom time, but how do the student-athletes feel?

Washington High School junior quarterback Aaron Cruz said while most of the time a teen will do anything to get out of going to class, he and his friends missed school.

"We have the ACTs coming up and we need all the classroom time we can get," Cruz said. "I went to the library and did some studying on the Internet, but it is not the same."

Cruz said the teachers gave out a lot of assignments in anticipation of the strike.

"I don't know if a lot of kids studied on their own," Cruz said. "You realize that we are behind already. We can make the work, but not the lost time."

Washington football coach Jimmy Smith said he is just glad to have his team back. He works security at the East Side high school and said it was tough to not be around the kids. The Patriots were supposed to play South Shore on Thursday, but the game has been rescheduled for 4:15 p.m. Sunday at Eckersall Stadium.

"They called me all the time wanting to work out, practice," Smith said. "It's kind of funny because some of those were the ones who missed some summer workouts, or missed a practice. Old story. Once it is taken from you, you miss something."

Smith and his team were back to work on Wednesday as were the rest of the Patriots fall sports teams. Cruz said since they could not practice officially as a team, they managed to get some workouts in.

"We went to the park at Jane Addams Elementary School, over on 108th (Street and Avenue H) and ran plays," Cruz said. "We had guys who are not on the football team also come out and play some defense.  Our guys ran routes and I threw to them. We were trying to stay in shape because we didn't know when the strike would end."

What was too bad is the students got caught in the middle and so were their parents, the taxpayers. This is not about who was right or wrong, but hoping everything can get back on track. Neither side got everything they wanted and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis even said so.

Sometimes the best lesson learned comes outside of the classroom.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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