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Social Worker Shortage Factor in Chicago Teachers’ Strike

Chicago teachers went on strike to address a variety of issues, including large class sizes and a shortage of social workers. Photo courtesy of WBEZ radio.

A shortage of social workers in the Chicago Public Schools is one reason teachers went on strike, this article from WBEZ 91.5 radio said.

There are 370 social workers in the system, or just one social worker per 1,000 students, the article said.

“I went and bought 16 ice packs to keep in my room so I don’t have to buy bandaids,” said Alyese Faibisoff, a teacher at Armstrong Elementary in the Rogers Park in north Chicago. “We don’t have a nurse here . We don’t have a full-time social worker here either. And that’s dangerous.”

“At every opportunity and benefit we have to serve kids, we are not given respect,” Karyn  Aguirre, a school social worker, said in this article from Education Week. “Our case loads are too high; they don’t allow us to give the kids what they need.”

Teachers are also making other demands, including smaller class sizes, better job security and air conditioning.

Social workers help children overcome hurdles to getting a good education. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Schools and Communities website by clicking here.

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  1. During this day and time, personally find this applauding! Having worked within the this industry years back, early 70’s- mid 80’s teachers continue to play dual-roles is simply disgusting.

    They are overworked, underpaid, and lack of recognition; to say the least!! Serving in many roles; to name a few, parents, childcare-providers, and mentors. I’d protest as well!

    Employed as principal assistant, I too had to serve as a part-time nurse and full-time principal, teacher and student assistant; OVERWHELMING!!

    Due to our nation’s economic crisis, the average household is experiencing not only financial difficulty, but extreme emotional stress that trickles down to the child! The child as the result brings it to the classroom. The child not having the ability to understand why the household’s in such chaos thus, the child does not having the ability to focus and function properly in school! As a result he acts out in the classroom and guess who suffers; the TEACHERS!

    So from a personal perspective there should be at least one social worker to certain number of students per school! One social worker per school, is not enough!

    The teacher should in addition have a licensed professional counsel assigned to them as well ! They have personal lives and livelihoods as well!!

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