CHICAGO (AP)—The city's teachers agreed Tuesday to return to the classroom after more than a week on the picket lines, ending a spiteful stalemate with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that put teacher evaluations and job security at the center of a national debate about the future of public education.
Union delegates voted overwhelmingly to formally suspend the strike after discussing details of a proposed contract settlement worked out over the weekend. Classes were to resume Wednesday.
The walkout, the first in Chicago in 25 years, shut down the nation's third-largest school district just days after 350,000 students had returned from summer vacation. Tens of thousands of parents were forced to find alternatives for idle children, including many whose neighborhoods have been wracked by gang violence in recent months.
Union President Karen Lewis said the union's 700-plus delegates voted 98 percent to 2 percent to reopen the schools.
"We said that we couldn't solve all the problems of the world with one contract," Lewis said. "And it was time to end the strike."
Tuesday's vote was not on the contract offer itself, but on whether to continue the strike. The contract will now be submitted to a vote by the full membership of more than 25,000 teachers.