Getting caught in a fight between two important allies is not where a president locked in a tight re-election race would willingly choose to be.
But that's where President Obama is today as he attempts for now to stay above the fray pitting the striking Chicago teachers against Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, in an earlier incarnation, was Obama's White House chief of staff.
It was a major accomplishment in Chicago that teachers who used to walk out frequently had, for the past 25 years, managed to avoid a strike. But it's not surprising, many experts say, that things would fall apart now.
"I think it is a perfect storm," says Tim Knowles, head of the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute. He says issues in Chicago — of tying teacher pay to student test scores, job security, longer school days and expanding charter schools, for example — are not unlike issues unions have grappled with in other cities, from New York to Los Angeles.
With the Chicago Teachers Union on strike, the Chicago Public Schools opened more than 140 sites Monday to help provide child care for students affected by the strike. Renee Montagne speaks with Lorraine Forte, editor-in-chief of Catalyst Chicago, a nonprofit watchdog covering education in the city. She visited a couple of schools on Monday that are providing child care, and also went to an alternate site at a local community center.