(KCEN) -- In Chicago, there is new hope that an end is in sight for the bitter teachers' strike.
Students have been out of the classroom for nearly a week now.
The union says both sides are near an agreement on pay, but far apart on teacher evaluations, benefits and other issues.
Republican Senator Jim Demint spoke to the "values voter forum" in Washington, calling the teachers "thugs."
He said, "On my way over I was reading another story about a distant place where thugs had put 400,000 children out in the streets and then I realized that was a story about the Chicago teachers strike. But we have got to think about good things. Good things could happen."
Nearly 30,000 teachers are represented by the union.