Emanuel looks to court to end Chicago teachers' strike

According to CPS, the contract - which includes the plan for a longer school day and longer school year - would cost an additional $74 million per year.

"This is the deal we got. This is not a good deal by any stretch of the imagination, not to what our members are compared to having," Lewis said. "I have a certain amount of integrity. I'm not going to [say] this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

"They're still not happy with the evaluations, they're not happy with the recall. They don't like the idea that people's recall benefits are basically cut in half," she said.

"The big elephant in the room is the closing of 200 schools. That's what the big elephant in the room is with our members," said Lewis. "They are concerned with this city's decision, on some level, to close schools. They are extraordinarily concerned about it. . . . It undergirds just about everything they talked about."

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Emanuel administration plans to close scores of under-performing or low-enrollment schools, which could lead to potentially thousands of layoffs.

The strike is the first for the city's teachers in 25 years and has kept 350,000 students out of class, leaving parents to make other plans.

Working mom Dequita Wade said that when the strike started, she sent her son 15 miles away to a cousin's house so he wouldn't be left unsupervised in a neighborhood known for violent crime and gangs. She was hoping the union and district would work things out quickly.

"You had a whole week. This is beginning to be ridiculous," Wade said. "Are they going to keep prolonging things?"

The strike has shined a spotlight on Emanuel's leadership more than ever, and some experts have suggested the new contract — which features annual pay raises and other benefits — is a win for the union.

"I'm hard-pressed to imagine how they could have done much better," said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "This is a very impressive outcome for the teachers."

With an average salary of $76,000, Chicago teachers are among the highest-paid in the nation, and the contract outline calls for annual raises. But some teachers are upset it did not restore a 4 percent raise Emanuel rescinded last year.

Emanuel pushed for a contract that includes ratcheting up the percentage of evaluations based on student performance, to 35 percent within four years. The union contends that does not take into account outside factors that affect student performance such as poverty and violence.

The union pushed for a policy to give laid-off teachers first dibs on open jobs anywhere in the district, but the city said that would keep principals from hiring the teachers they think are most qualified.

The union has engaged in something of a publicity campaign, telling parents about problems that include a lack of important books and basic supplies.

Some parents said they remain sympathetic to teachers.

"I don't think they're wrong. The things they're asking for are within reason," said Pamela Edwards, who has sent her 16-year-old daughter to one of about 140 schools the district has kept open during the strike to provide meals and supervision.