Former public school teacher: Strikes 'wake-up call' for Democratic Party

A former public teacher based in Chicago said Thursday that the recent rise of teacher strikes across the country has been a “wake-up call” for the Democratic Party, which he argued has been on the wrong side of the issue for years.

“There’s definitely been a shift in the narrative,” Eric Blanc told Hill.TV on Thursday during an appearance on "Rising."

Blanc pointed to Democratic presidential candidate Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGOP senator blasts Dem bills on 'opportunity zones' Booker on Erdoğan: We should not be 'rolling out the red carpet for a ruthless authoritarian' The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine MORE (D-N.J.) as an example. Booker has said he would prioritize public schools as president, despite his past record of supporting charter schools when he served as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

Blanc said he remains skeptical about Democratic support of the public school system as a whole.

“The question is now whether the Democrats can be forced to do the right thing in practice,” he told Hill.TV.

Blanc’s remarks come as thousands of Chicago public school teachers take to the streets to protest over a number of issues, ranging from pay and benefits to class sizes and learning conditions for students.

Negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) remain stalled. 

Lightfoot claimed that the union rejected her deal, which included a 16 percent pay raise over the course of five years and an increase in health care contributions.

Union leaders, meanwhile, have disputed the amount in the offer made by the city and said that the proposal fails to address other key demands, including the need to have a nurse in every school.

—Tess Bonn