by June Davis, PSRP Field Services Coordinator | November 18, 2015
by CTU Communications | November 13, 2015
Timotheus Gordon has started an online petition for CPS and the Chicago Board of Education to stop cuts to special education.
November 11, 2015
For Immediate Release: Contact:
November 11, 2015 Gary Arnold, Access Living"
Groups call for more transparency, participation in CPS Hiring Process
In the wake Markay Winston’s resignation, a group representing a range of public schools stakeholders raised concerns about the process to select the next Chief Officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services. On November 6, advocates for students with disabilities, community based organizations representing parents of CPS students, unions representing special education teachers, and paraprofessionals, along with related service providers, sent a letter outlining the concerns and demands related to the concerns. The letter was sent to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, CPS President Clark, Chief Education Officer Jackson, and members of the CPS Board of Education.
The letter recommends that CPS Leadership present the top five candidates for the ODLSS Chief Officer position to the public. Members of the public need the opportunity to provide written feedback on each candidate. The feedback would be used by the CPS Board of Education in the decision process.
The group also calls on the CPS Executive Team to select candidates with prior experience as special education leaders, and to prioritize the long-term interests of students with disabilities when selecting candidates. The letter specifically raised concerns over whether current members of ODLSS would be considered, stating that “some of the decision making by that team was problematic and not in the long term interest of students with disabilities in CPS.”
The concerns of this group are compounded by fiscal problems of the Chicago Public Schools. Citing cuts to special education and severe staff reductions, the group wrote, “We all believe that the budget reductions for special education programs implemented at the start of the 2015-16 school year are wrong and will serve to limit the academic progress of students with disabilities.” The group called for a full restoration of the $32 Million in cuts to special education, suggesting the cuts would have horrible consequences on schools and students, and could trigger legal ramifications.
The letter was signed by Rodney Estvan of Access Living, and supported by these organizations and individuals: The Chicago Teachers Union; Service Employees International Union Local 73; Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education; Sharon Weitzman Soltman, Esq.; Advocate for children with disabilities; Amy Zimmerman, Director, Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children; Karen Berman, Assistant Director, Illinois Policy, Ounce of Prevention Fund; Beverley Holden Johns, Professional Fellow in Special Education, MacMurray College; Matt Cohen, J.D Matt Cohen and Associates; Penny Richards, President Elect, Learning Disabilities Assoc. of Illinois; Heather Dalmage, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Director, Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation Roosevelt University.
For more information, contact Gary Arnold at 312-640-2199 (voice), firstname.lastname@example.org.
by CTU Political & Legislative Dept. | November 09, 2015
Chicago Teachers Union releases early endorsement list in statewide races for March 2016 Primary
CHICAGO - Today, the Chicago Teachers Union’s Political Action and Legislative Committee released its early endorsement list in advance of the upcoming statewide electoral cycle. General Assembly candidates participated in an extensive screening process with rank-and-file members that included the completion of a mandatory questionnaire, addressing a myriad of issues impacting the lives of educators. The Illinois primary race will be held March 15, 2016.
“We are focused on getting an elected, representative school board in Chicago, progressive revenue solutions that will fund our school district and halt the attacks on our pensions, and the full restoration of our collective bargaining rights,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “Therefore, our first priority is to get champions in the statehouse. This means that we need political leaders who are grounded in our mission to strengthen our schools; and, they must be able to win.”
The CTU believes early endorsements buoy the hopes of challenging candidates by infusing their campaigns with much needed resources. The endorsees include:
- State Senator William Delgado—District 2
- State Representative Elgie Sims—District 34
- State Representative LaShawn Ford—District 8
- State Representative Ann Williams—District 11
- State Representative Cynthia Soto—District 4
- State Representative Robert Martwick—District 19
- Community leader Jay Travis—District 26
The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.
by CTU House of Delegates | November 05, 2015
Resolution on CTU Solidarity with CPS Students
WHEREAS, Mayor Emanuel’s handpicked Board of Education continues to privatize public education, against the will of the majority, and at the expense of students and taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, the Board continues to expand charter and magnet schools at the expense of neighborhood schools, who serve the most vulnerable students with the greatest need; and
WHEREAS, the state of Illinois is the 5th wealthiest state in the United States, but 50th in education spending; and
WHEREAS, both the Mayor and Governor refuse to adequately fund public education by pursuing the progressive revenue solutions offered by the Chicago Teachers Union and others; and
WHEREAS, the Board continuously slashes school budgets, disproportionately impacting neighborhood schools, leading to thousands of teacher layoffs and resulting in the cancellation of college preparatory electives, Advanced Placement classes, and other valuable student programs and resources; and
WHEREAS, the constant instability produced by these draconian budget cuts constitute sabotage of student learning and student support; and
WHEREAS, students at several CPS high schools across the city have protested these budget cuts through respectful, nonviolent direct action; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union stands in solidarity with student activists and organizers who are defending their right to a high quality public education; and
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union affirms that public schools belong to the public trust and must be fully funded, because a high quality and free public education is a human right; and
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union demands that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) redress the grievances of students, take no further punitive action against students protesting cuts, and expunge the disciplinary records of students who have participated in nonviolent direct action.
ADOPTED November 4, 2015
by CTU House of Delegates | November 05, 2015
Resolution in Solidarity with Quebec Public Sector Workers
WHEREAS, half a million Quebec public sector workers organized in the Front Commune, the teachers union, Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), and the nurses union, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) face enormous attacks by the Liberal Party Government of Philippe Couillard on their wages, working conditions, and essential services they provide; and
WHEREAS, Couillard wants to impose wage freezes on each union in the first two years of a five-year contract, followed by a one percent increase in the final three, and raise the retirement age to sixty-two and slash pensions; and
WHEREAS, Couillard wants to enlarge class sizes; count children with special needs as one child, instead of three, as has been the norm; and increase the workweek from thirty-two to forty hours; and
WHEREAS, Couillard wants to raise the number of patients for each nurse, increase forced overtime, and prevent larger bonuses for working night shifts; and
WHEREAS, the Front Commune, FAE, and FIQ have all issued calls for strikes and actions in October and November, escalating to a potential general strike in December; and
WHEREAS, the student union, Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), has called for a student strike and mass demonstration on November 5th; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that Chicago Teachers Union extends our solidarity to the Common Front, FAE, FIQ, and ASSÉ in their struggle to stop the Couillard government’s program of austerity and defend public services, education, and healthcare in Quebec.
ADOPTED by unanimous vote of the House of Delegates November 4, 2015
by CTU House of Delegates | November 04, 2015
At the monthly House of Delegates meeting of the Chicago Teachers Union, the following resolution was passed.
RESOLUTION TO SEND A LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR THE TEACHERS OF OAXACA MEXICO
WHEREAS, there has been a pushback against education “reforms” in Mexico by thousands of teachers marching through the streets in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Jalisco, and Hildalgo in July of 2015; and
WHEREAS, resistance to these reforms have also resulted in opposition between groups of fellow educators, the sisters and brothers in the CNTE (Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) in conflict with the sisters and brothers in the SNTE (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) ; and
WHEREAS, the CNTE has mounted resistance in the form of road blocks, occupations, and shut-downs to oppose privatization, moves against tenure and labor rights, and the imposition of an unfair teacher “evaluation” system;
WHEREAS, the teachers’ fight for a democratic education, respect for their profession, resistance to privatization, education based in local communities that is respectful of indigenous languages and cultures has been portrayed in the mainstream media as simply a fight to protect jobs and “privileges”; and
WHEREAS, the response to the CNTE has been repression, the most extreme form being the abduction and disappearance of 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa Normal School in the state of Guerrero, Mexico on September 26, 2014; and
WHEREAS, most recently on October 29, 2015 the federal military police arrested four teacher representatives of SNTE-CNTE as they evicted the occupation that the teachers were maintaining outside the education institute of Oaxaca; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union express solidarity by sending letters to Mexican President Peña Nieto, the Secretary of Education, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, and Mexican Embassies demanding the release of Carlos Orozco Matus, Othon Nazariega, Efraín Picaso Pérez, and Roberto Abel Jiménez García and the withdrawal of arrest warrants for any other CNTE teachers; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union call for an end to the repression of our fellow educators and union activists in the country of Mexico and for the opening of genuine dialogue on the issues of public education.
by ctu communications | October 30, 2015
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) tonight will hold its 2015 Legislators and Educators Appreciation Dinner (LEAD) at 5 p.m. at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. This annual event, organized by the CTU Political Action/Legislative Committee (PAC), provides an opportunity for rank and file members to engage elected officials and discuss the conditions in Chicago’s public schools and the Union’s fight for the city that Chicago’s students deserve.
The theme for 2015 LEAD is “Changing What We Cannot Accept,” and as the Union prepares for the next year of political and community action, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district continues to blame Springfield for its “broke on purpose” narrative. This, however, is a one-sided story that leaves out the parts CPS controls:
- No request for a property tax referendum to voters—last referendum for CPS was in 1968.
- No mention of righting the wrongs that CPS had the power to do, such as the capital improvement tax that went unused for 10 years, or opposing tax increment financing (TIF) expansion.
- No mention of the things the district has done to create its own crisis, such as toxic swaps, excessive charter expansion and pension holidays.
CPS creating an astro-turf advocacy program to goad parents into lobbying Springfield lawmakers would be laughable if it was not so offensive and disrespectful to those who went without food for over a month as a last resort to keep their neighborhood school open, or to those who marched and protested the encroachment of privately ran charters in their communities. For decades, the voices of parents have been ignored, and now the mayor and his hand-picked Chicago Board of Education want them to raise those same voices in an attempt to shame Springfield into bending to their will.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest strategy is perhaps the clearest indication that he has lost credibility with Springfield lawmakers. Beginning in 1995 with the Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act (the state’s first “Turnaround Agenda”), City Hall has received nearly every piece of legislation it has lobbied for—from binding the ability of teachers to bargain over class size, to obtaining multiple pension holidays, to ushering in school privatization, to making the choice to close more than 50 neighborhood schools.
While City Hall’s media machine promotes a message that blames Springfield, teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians for CPS’ current budget woes, it is the lack of democracy, loss of worker agency and the mayor’s inability to secure adequate progressive revenue sources that have failed our district. The “broke on purpose” narrative is the complete and total fault of Mayor Emanuel, who can no longer ignore empirical data that proves mayoral control of Chicago Public Schools is a failure. He also cannot ignore the impact of the underfunding of teacher pensions as a result of non-payment through multiple pension holidays.
Parents understand that unchecked privatization has left our schools filthy, our district with mediocre education “options” and scores of veteran educators in unemployment lines. Springfield lawmakers—more than 50 of them—have said that CPS needs an elected, representative school board. The mayor and his current hand-picked Board of Ed should join parents and voters in supporting that measure.
by Carolyn Brown - Kelly H.S. teacher, LSC member | October 29, 2015
When my daughter and I decided to transfer her to a neighborhood high school from a selective enrollment school where she had gone since 7th grade, we were met with pushback from friends, family, and complete strangers alike. Our choice seemed unthinkable to many people in the test driven educational atmosphere that exists in Chicago today. For us, though, it ended up being a straightforward decision. After attending the selective school from 7th through 9th grade, she had become increasingly unhappy with the atmosphere of competition surrounding her. While we appreciated the quality of resources available in her school and the variety of courses and extracurricular activities offered, we realized the constant pressure to be the best (compared to other students and other schools) prevalent in the culture of the school was not a good fit for my daughter’s personality. We know many students thrive in the selective enrollment environment, but it wasn’t for us.
Fortunately, we knew that Kelly High School would offer the academic programs, artistic opportunities, and strong teaching staff she needed alongside a more welcoming and flexible school environment. Neighborhood schools’ open enrollment policies require them to develop a more adaptive approach to students’ needs. This makes them the perfect environment for students to engage in new experiences without the fear of being judged inferior for lack of experience and gives them the chance to learn leadership skill in their individual areas of strength.
Please click here to continue reading at ilraiseyourhand.org.
by Jen Johnson | October 27, 2015
Unsatisfactory Appeals & Remediation Workshop on Thursday, October 29th
The CTU is holding an Unsatisfactory Appeals Workshop for members who receive a final SY 14–15 Unsatisfactory rating, which is scheduled for Thursday, October 29th from 6-8pm at SEIU HCII Hall (2229 S. Halsted). (There is a parking lot at the rear of the building and ample free street parking nearby.) At this workshop, members who receive a final Unsatisfactory rating will receive assistance to begin the appeals process and connect with CTU staff who can help them. Delegates and CTU teacher evaluation liaisons interested in assisting their colleagues may also attend. Please RSVP for the October 29th Unsatisfactory Appeals Workshop by emailing CTU Quest Center Assistant Trisha Raymond at TrishaRaymond@ctulocal1.com. Internet will be available at the workshop to begin an appeal immediately, so educators are encouraged to bring their own laptops and tablets to the workshop.
Any educator (PAT or tenured) who receives a SY 14–15 final summative REACH rating of Unsatisfactory may appeal their rating. Educators may appeal regardless of whether they received an Unsatisfactory because (1) their total rating score is 209 or less or (2) because they received a second consecutive Developing rating where both their Professional Practice score and their final total rating score decreased from SY 13–14 to SY 14–15.
Once the PDF summary reports with the final summative ratings are released on RLS, any educator who receives a SY 14–15 “Unsatisfactory” rating can begin the appeals process on the RLS web site. Educators will have 10 calendar days after receiving their final PDF SY 14–15 summary report with a rating of Unsatisfactory to file an Intent to Appeal on RLS, and 30 calendar days after receiving the final PDF SY 14–15 summary report with a rating of Unsatisfactory to upload evidence and documentation to RLS to support the appeal. Again, the 10- and 30-calendar-day clocks do not begin until the PDF summary reports are released on RLS. Educators completing the appeal are also reminded to make sure to “opt-in” to allow the CTU access to their appeals and rating information on RLS so that CTU can more fully represent them in the appeals process. Additionally, tenured educators who receive a final “Unsatisfactory” rating are required to participate in a remediation process.
CTU will provide information and support on the appeals, remediation and professional development plan processes at the October Appeals Workshop, the October delegate training and to our Teacher Evaluation Liaisons. You can read about the appeals process in contract Article 39-9 and the remediation process in contract Article 39-8.