Rich Miller, proprietor of the must-read Capitol Fax, was kind enough to commission the second poll on the Chicago Teachers Strike, after the Sun-Times. The
former first found majority support for the strike, but didn’t have much in the way of breakdowns. Miller’s poll took a larger sample, and broke down the results. Again, the majority was in support of the strike, three days in:
The poll, taken after three full days of no school, found that a 52 percent majority of whites disapprove of the strike. Whites were the only ethnic group that expressed a majority disapproval of the strike.
African Americans approved 63-32 and Latino support was even higher at 65-32.
A majority of parents with kids in private schools opposed the strike, 52 percent to 43 percent, while parents with public school kids approved of the strike 66-31.
Given the racial breakdown, it shouldn’t be surprising that the strike has 55.5 percent approval. The demographics of CPS are nine percent white, 47 percent black, and 41 percent Hispanic. The demographics of CPS are much, much different than that of the city as a whole:
CPS’s extreme white minority isn’t all that unusual for big school districts. In LA it’s nine percent; in Houston, eight percent; Atlanta, ten percent; New York City, 14 percent; Philadelphia, 14 percent. Chicago is somewhat unusual, though, in having no real dominant majority/minority difference between blacks and Hispanics.
Miller points to this as an explanation for the gap between media and public support of the strike. To which I’d add that much of the media attention has focused on salaries and the other specific demands of the CTU—which is what the negotiations are specifically about, after all, but in part because the CTU is only allowed to strike on very specific issues like salaries. The actual reasons for it are much more varied and political than previous Chicago teachers strikes, which City Hall is probably learning.
Photograph: Chicago Tribune