Nightly News | September 10, 2012
>>> good evening, it has been a tough summer in the nation's third largest city, 360 murders in chicago , so far this year. and now in the city schools, the fall season is off to a very tough start. this morning, the teacher's union in the city of chicago went out on strike. it leaves students running for a place to go and parents with no options, just as the union said it had no other option. and like any big city population in our country, nothing is simple, a complicated system with hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. there was a big protest recall called there by the union in chicago , we start with the story.
>> reporter: brian, the crowd is starting to thin some what, but thousands of teachers have been walking in the streets of downtown chicago . and police were so concerned about it they blocked off the street, right in the middle of this big city 's rush hour, causing a lot of concern for many people. but this is right near the headquarters of where the city school administration is conducting business. and the business at hand right now is how do they get all of these thousands of teachers who are on the streets back into the classrooms. it has been a thorny issue. they had hoped in negotiations leading up to this for weeks and months that this was something they would be able to avoid, to make certain they would get the hundreds of thousands of students back in the classroom.
>> what do we want? smaller class sizes.
>> when do we want it?
>> reporter: chicago teachers hit the pick it lines early this
>> it sheet down -- many parents were left running for alternative care for their kids.
>> hopefully it will end, kind of fast.
>> it is horrible
>> reporter: but many support the teachers.
>> this is wrong, they need to pay these teachers, these teachers make everyone who they are today.
>> reporter: the strike is about more than just money. it is about new reforms and new teacher evaluations linked with standardized test results, health benefits and pensions in the school system that is facing a 3 billion dollar deficit over the next three years, and job security . mitt romney , who has pushed hard for reform, backed by the administration, criticized the strike.
>> this does right by our students and is fair to the taxpayers.
>> reporter: teachers don't see it that way.
>> we're advocating for the education that we feel our students deserve, and that all students across the nation deserve.
>> reporter: education experts say the issues in chicago are issues almost everywhere.
>> it is about power, it is about who has the authority to decide very important things for schools. who teaches, how they teach.
>> reporter: nearly 150 schools did open for half the day to provide activities as well as breakfast and lunch. in a district where nearly 80% of the students rely on it.
>> we want to make sure that the students who receive that at school are still able to get it.
>> reporter: but many children wanted more.
>> why should kids miss school?
>> i just hope that the teacher's strike will be short, and we'll just be back to school later.
>> reporter: something a lot of grownups are hoping for, too. nbc news, chicago .