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Chicago teachers parodied a Lizzo song on the picket line, and it’s Good as Hell.
Teachers in the Chicago Public Schools have been on strike since last Thursday, when negotiations with the city over their union contract stalled out. They’re asking for smaller class sizes, better pay, and more support staff, as well as more resources to help kids struggling with homelessness. While the city debates whether they want to agree to those demands, the teachers have kept their spirits up by rewriting lyrics to popular songs to apply to their strike — and performing them on the picket line.
So far, they’ve done renditions of Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” and Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”
And Lizzo noticed. On Thursday, she retweeted the video of a teacher, jamming on her ukelele.
“Why mayors great ‘til they gotta be great?” Rachel Johnson, a teacher at John B. Murphy school, sings in the video about Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot. The union has accused Lightfoot of holding up the negotiations and backing off promises she made on the campaign trail. She also preempted the strike by cancelling classes Thursday last week — before the union had officially announced that it would go on strike.
“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% on strike,” Johnson continues in the video. “You could have had a contract, but you didn’t. You could’ve staffed your schools now, such a pity,”
The teachers want the school district to give them a call when they’re ready to make a deal, so they did a version of Carly Rae Jespen’s “Call Me Maybe,” too.
“Hey, we’ve been striking, and this is crazy. When there’s a contract, then call us maybe,” a chorus of teachers sings in another video posted to Twitter.
“We’ve been striking for so long, we wanna stop that,” they continue. “We’ve been teaching for so long, we wanna go back.”
“You don’t want no problems, no problems with CTU,” they sang to the tune of Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem,” referring to the Chicago Teachers’ Union.
“When it comes to class size, yes we need a cap,” raps Lindsay Prossnitz, a second grade teacher at Chicago Academy Elementary School. “And our preschoolers deserve to take a nap.”
Chance hasn’t retweeted that video, but he has been vocal in his support for the striking teachers on Twitter. Back in 2017, he donated $1 million to the Chicago public school system.
And here are more teachers doing a choreographed dance to The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
The strike’s dragging on as the city and union haven’t been able to come to a deal. The teachers are making an ambitious ask: In addition to the standard demands of higher pay and smaller class sizes, they’re asking the public school system to do more to provide more affordable housing, city-wide — not just for students and teachers.
“I have kids who are experiencing homelessness, and they end up not coming to school because they fall through the cracks,” Aaron Bingea, a 7th- and 8th-grade math teacher, previously told VICE News.
Cover image: Musical artist Lizzo performs at The Hollywood Palladium, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)