Chicago partner Jesse Ruiz spoke to a number of major news outlets, including CNN, CNN en Espanol, CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox, to clarify the position of the Chicago Board of Education in ongoing negotiations with teachers and unions over contract terms involving teacher evaluations and other issues.

Teachers staged a walkout on Monday, Sept. 10, and have been on strike since, leaving some 350,000 children, from kindergarten to high school, out of school.

Teachers have said they are concerned about the issue of closing schools in poor neighborhoods and evaluating teachers without giving due weight to the conditions children live in.   Another concern is the rehiring policy for laid-off teachers, known as the recall policy.  The school district seeks to reform the recall policy to provide school principals with the autonomy to make their own hiring decisions for teachers in their schools.

Speaking to CNN, Jesse said the school board recognizes the challenge teachers face working at low-performing schools that are liable to be closed, and accordingly provides a safety net.

“If a teacher loses their job because a school consolidation or other reasons through no fault of their own, they have that safety net where they get an opportunity to reapply for those jobs and be compensated within a pool of teachers that are waiting for that for up to five months,” he said.

Speaking to Fox on the issue of school closures, Jesse said “it shouldn’t be a worry [for teachers] and one of the ‘right to recall’ issues is that there will be more protection in this new contract for teachers who find themselves without a position based on no fault of their own.”

He emphasized that “the goal here is making sure we keep our excellent teachers in the classroom.”

Jesse expressed confidence to NBC that significant progress could be made.  He said the two sides were “not that far apart and should be able to wrap these things up.”

To watch the CNN interview, click here.