Hours ahead of a union vote that could end Chicago's strike on the seventh day, hundreds of parents gathered outside the Chicago Board of Education Tuesday to stand with teachers.
"Whatever decision they make today on the proposed contract, we're behind them," CPS parent Erica Clark told reporters. "Parents are asking for the same things teachers are asking for."
The group said it collected more than 1,000 postcard messages from parents across the city stating concerns about Chicago Public Schools and the proposed contract. The postcards were addressed to Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard, and though a personal delivery wasn't allowed, parents said they hope their point was heard.
"This is a travesty that in this building, this building of education that we all paid for with our tax dollars, there's not one person who could come out and speak to us," Clark said.
Delegates began meeting at 3 p.m. to discuss the proposed deal and vote. A "yes" vote would send 350,000 students back to school as early as Wednesday. If they vote no, a judge on Wednesday morning will hear an injunction request from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's general counsel.
Delegates outside CPS said the general feeling so far is to end the strike and head back to school.
"I want us to go back," CPS social worker Susan Hickey said, "but suspend the strike and then if we look at the contract and it doesn't go the way we want to, walk out again."
Until the vote, parents and teachers said it's a waiting game.
"We want to make sure that when this strike is over it is not in vain."
Hundreds of parents, students and community workers are expected to gather at 6:30 p.m. at Daley Plaza to speak in favor of kids returning to school if those schools improve.
Details of the tentative deal:
NBC Chicago has an array of reporters and producers covering the Chicago teacher strike. Check our live blog for continuous coverage and updates throughout the strike.