by Stacy Davis Gates, CTU Legislative & Political Director | May 28, 2015
With a veto-proof majority, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly on Thursday, May 28 passed SB1591, which requires disclosure of criminal and civil investigations for any group submitting a charter school proposal. The bill was introduced by Illinois Senator Jacquelyn Collins (D-16) in recognition of the scandals that have plagued many of the outfits seeking to enter or expand their footprints in the education market established by doling public funds to these privately-managed schools. Concept Charters, for example, is currently under federal investigation yet continues to seek charters to run new schools. The UNO Network of charter schools—the largest charter network in Chicago—has also been plagued with scandal. The bill originally passed the Senate in mid-April with a vote of 56-0 in favor. The bill was sponsored by Representative Robert Martwick (D-19) in the House, where the vote of 104-11 means both chambers have more than enough votes to override pro-charter Governor Bruce Rauner should he attempt to exercise veto power.
by ctu communications | May 26, 2015
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has organized a picket line before the Chicago Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, May 27, to highlight the hypocrisy of the district’s insistence on expanding charter operations throughout the city while claiming a $1 billion budget deficit. The financial “crisis” for Chicago Public Schools is the result of the district’s own fiscal irresponsibility—hundreds of millions of dollars mired in scandal, swap deals and failed, privatized outsourcing. By allowing the unchecked growth of charter schools, including some into closed neighborhood school buildings, CPS continues its plan to weaken communities by creating a culture of chaos that the district will use to justify cutting school budgets, closing schools and laying off thousands of CPS educators and education support staff.
Four Points of CPS Charter Hypocrisy
- Lying to the Illinois General Assembly that there would be no charter schools placed into any school building that was part of the mass school closings in 2013. CPS is “selling” the Peabody Elementary School building—closed in 2013—and putting Rowe Charter into that building.
- Expanding charter operations—a Noble Street charter school moving into the Uptown neighborhood; Rowe moving into the Peabody building; a Perspectives charter school moving to 85th & Lafayette—as the district claims a massive budget deficit.
- Ignoring community opposition to place a Noble Street charter school into a community that has voiced outrage over the proposal. “They told my mom what she wanted to hear to get me and my brother to go there, but she realized after a few years of struggle, that the school doesn’t live up to its promise,” said a former Noble Street student who is now attending a neighborhood high school in Uptown. Another student added: “Noble schools don’t work with kids to do better—they just kick them out to their neighborhood schools.”
- Rewarding an ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Howard Brookins with the lucrative placement of a Perspectives charter school into the Rev. Charles Jenkins’ Legacy Project development, with no disclosure of how the project is being financed.
WHO: CTU teachers and community partners and allies
WHAT: Picket line before the Chicago Board of Education meeting
WHEN: Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at 6:30 a.m.
WHERE: Chicago Board of Education, 42 W. Madison St., Chicago
by Noel Perez-White and Dave Woo - Urban Prep Charter Academies teachers | May 22, 2015
In February, teachers and staff at Chicago's Urban Prep Academies announced that they were forming a union. They stood up to improve teaching and learning conditions in their schools, and asked CEO Tim King to respect their decision and their dedication to the schools.
At the time, Mayor Emanuel publicly expressed his support for these educators. Now, unfortunately, Urban Prep administrators are responding by requiring teachers and staff to listen to anti-union speeches, cutting into valuable work time. One speech made misleading claims about the union that the teachers and staff seek to join, Chicago ACTS. These speeches aim to sow fear and misunderstanding about how unions work.
Until educators vote on June 3rd in the union election, they may continue to be bombarded by administrators’ claims that having a union could result in worse teaching conditions and that a union would not be true to the mission of Urban Prep—a mission that these educators take very seriously and would use their union to uphold. The teachers and staff have discovered how much their administration spends on consultants, lobbyists, and outside events, while seeing the challenge of meeting their students needs despite continued turnover of staff each year.They have discovered how much their administration spends on consultants, lobbyists, and outside events, while teachers keep striving to meet their students’ needs, despite high staff turnover. The teachers and staff at Urban Prep are dedicated to their schools’ long-term success and are organizing to bring greater accountability and stability to their schools and their students.
Public schools like Urban Prep should remain neutral when educators seek to form a union. Mayor Rahm Emanuel should live up to his pledge of support for teachers at charter schools, by telling Tim King to respect the educators at Urban Prep and to stop using anti-union messages to discourage them in their upcoming election.
by ctu communications | May 22, 2015
Governor Bruce Rauner and charter advocates are demanding that the cap on charter schools be lifted with House Bill 814. It is tremendously irresponsible to push such legislation in this environment. Their amendment could receive a vote in the House today!
The Board is considering 30+ charter proposals at the same time that the Charter industry wants to build even more in a city that is supposedly “underutilized.” Meanwhile, CPS claims they won’t be able to make payroll in the fall and need to cut teacher pay by a whopping 10%. More evidence, if we ever needed it, that CPS is broke on purpose!
It shows that charter operators don’t care about public schools, budget conditions, or about the revenue our children throughout Illinois need and deserve. They only care about expanding their footprint to make their hedge fund daddies, like Ken Griffin and Governor Bruce Rauner happy. This is consistent with Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” which sees union-busting as the key to his vision of Illinois.
Our legislators need to know that we oppose lifting the cap on charters, as charters drain valuable resources and take a disproportionately lower number of ELL and special education students, leaving fewer resources to educate all of our students. Please tell your Representative that you oppose lifting the cap on charter schools. Email your State Representative and tell him/her to oppose HB814 House Amendment #2!
by ctu communications | May 20, 2015
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Thursday, May 21, will lead a coalition of members, retirees and paraprofessionals to Springfield to send a message to Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly: Choose working families over millionaires. The CTU will join more than 1,000 parents, workers and community activists downstate to advocate for fair wages, adequate health care and educational opportunities, affordable housing and child care, and safe neighborhoods for all families in Illinois.
In the four months since his inauguration, Gov. Rauner has proven to be both impractical and unrealistic in his plans for running state government, with his narrow-minded “turnaround” agenda forcing a number of cuts to services in a budget that even the conservative Civic Federation has called “unachievable.” The governor has pressed for changes that would negatively impact not only health care, child care and affordable college, but also retirement security for Illinois families.
“It’s extremely dangerous for the governor to push right-to-work and tout his plans to attack and weaken unions while he’s cutting funding from services that union workers need for their families,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. “Last week’s zero votes for right-to-work sent a message that he’s in for a long fight from the people of this state.”
Thursday’s trip to Springfield will provide Illinois citizens the opportunity to demand that government focus on increased revenue, and to outline the broad range of available revenue options that policymakers can choose to avoid cuts to essential services—including income tax reform and urging businesses and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share.
“By spreading his union-busting agenda, while at the same time proposing cuts to thousands of working class families—including union families—throughout the state, the governor is proving himself to be a dual threat to labor,” Lewis said. “And this is the same person who reportedly cut funding for the state’s autism programs on World Autism Day, so he’d be better served listening to and learning from the people he’s governing instead of trying to run this state like his billion-dollar businesses.”
Gov. Rauner has stressed the notion of “shared sacrifice” to solve Illinois’ financial problems, but it is obvious that in cutting services from the most vulnerable, the only sacrifices are coming from those who are most in need of assistance. The coalition that the CTU is part of will expose on Thursday the hypocrisy and dangerous intent of the governor’s “turnaround,” and how his tax breaks for the wealthy and refusal to call upon the state’s most fiscally sound individuals and companies to contribute to a real turnaround prove that he is no agent of change.
The CTU will also continue bargaining with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked Chicago Board of Education to renew the contract for 25,000 of Chicago’s public school educators, and during a June 9th rally at the James R. Thompson Center, will call upon both the mayor and the governor to make a quality education for every Chicago student and a quality workplace for every Chicago teacher a priority.
by chicago teachers' pension fund | May 15, 2015
by norine gutekanst - ctu organizing coordinator | May 15, 2015
Take a leading role in the campaign to promote our members’ rights and fight for educational justice! CTU’s Summer Organizing Institute will provide training in organizing skills, leadership, and union and community education issues.
Summer Organizing interns will meet with CTU members, parents, and community leaders to build our contract campaign, fight for revenue for schools, oppose cuts and charter expansion, and engage in other struggles to improve our schools, jobs and city. Interns will mobilize supporters and develop grassroots leaders, organize meetings and public events and participate in neighborhood canvasses. Help build the movement for good schools for all, while learning skills that will help you become a school leader in our contract fight when you return in the fall!
- Interns will receive a weekly stipend
- Position requires strong communications skills and a passion for social justice.
- Must be willing to travel throughout the city and have access to an automobile.
- Minimum five week commitment. Five days/week including evenings and some Saturdays.
- Women and people of color strongly encouraged to apply.
- Bilingual abilities are a plus.
- Open to all CTU members: PSRPs, Clinicians and others encouraged to apply.
- Summer Organizing Internship begins Monday, July 6. Internship will end on August 8.
To apply or for more information, please send a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted until May 29, 2015
May 13, 2015
Teachers --- The deadline for Administrative Transfer (without your current principal’s approval) has been extended from May 26th to June 30th. This gives you more time to secure the position of your choice for the 2015-16 school year.
by ctu communications | May 13, 2015
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement regarding Moody’s downgrade of the Chicago Public Schools bond rating:
“The downgrade is an example of how the rating agencies work in concert with bond holders in pushing our city and schools to the brink by recklessly increasing termination fees and costs of borrowing. Today’s action by Moody's induces further political panic to force the city to implement even more misguided fiscal decisions that will hurt our students and public schools,” said CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin.
“Mayor Emanuel and his handpicked school board have refused to challenge big banks like Loop Capital and Bank of America for misrepresenting the risks of toxic swap deals or take responsibility for market conditions in the 2008 collapse that have greatly increased Chicago's liabilities. Additionally, rating agencies have consistently argued that the mayor must get more revenue and repair a rocky relationship with the CTU in order to improve Chicago's ratings.
“Instead of heeding this advice, the mayor has provoked more labor discord by demanding a 7 percent reduction in compensation for teachers and paraprofessionals while promulgating a fiscal ‘crisis’ of the Board’s own making. He has also refused to support progressive revenue options like a LaSalle St. Tax, releasing the TIF surplus, suing the banks for toxic swaps, advocating for a Millionaires Tax and other revenue options.”