More than a quarter of a million students faced an extended Labor Day weekend as 18,420 teachers in five states continued strikes, and Chicago teachers were ordered to the picket lines today after contract talks stalled.
The 28,000 Chicago teachers had been scheduled to report to work today, and about 430,000 students were to return to the city's schools Wednesday.
Jacqueline Vaughn, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said there was little chance that classes would meet Wednesday because the board had yet to make an economic offer.
Frank Gardner, president of the Chicago School Board, said the union's salary demands were "not even worth contemplating."
Gov. James R. Thompson, who helped resolve last year's Chicago teachers' strike with some fiscal reshuffling, dismissed the possibility of intervention this year because the state does not have enough funds to help.
In Michigan, seven strikes continued to idle 12,543 teachers and 210,768 students, mostly in Detroit.
In Elizabeth, N.J., teachers voted to authorize a strike for today. The district's 15,000 students in 22 schools were set to begin classes Wednesday.
Teachers in seven Pennsylvania school districts remained on strike, with teachers in two other districts set to walk out today. A total of 31,300 students would be affected.