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2014 Deferred Pay Advisory

by Kevin Hough and Lois Jones - CTU Field Representatives  |  August 22, 2014

For many of our fellow Chicago Teachers Union members, this past summer provided a hardship as members struggled to make it through almost 10 weeks without regular pay. While every individual’s financial situation is different, those who were able to regularly save a portion of their salary throughout the school year were able to use these savings during the summer break.

As you unpack your boxes and ready your classrooms or offices, also consider doing the same to your finances. New CPS employees should research and enroll in available 403(b) retirement investment options. Returning employees are advised to review their investments and select the options which match their investing goals.

For those who enrolled in an automatic savings plan like those offered by the United Credit Union, it is recommended that all employees readjust their plans to reflect annual contractual raises and lane adjustments. Automatic transfers are offered by most financial institutions and are easy to establish from any account funded by a direct deposit.

In order to fully replace salaries throughout the ten weeks of summer break, the one week of unpaid winter vacation and one unpaid holiday before Thanksgiving, the CTU recommends members set aside at least 23 percent of each paycheck for their personal “deferred” pay fund.

While difficult, setting aside 23 percent of each paycheck is the best way to ensure you have a steady stream of income throughout the year.

CPS Scraps Concept Expansion

by Becky Schlikerman  |  August 21, 2014

This article is reproduced from the Sun-Times Early & Often blog.

CPS scraps controversial South Side charter school campus plan

Concept Schools offices in Des Plaines. | Dan Mihalopoulos/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools officials are not allowing a beleaguered charter school operator to open a planned South Side campus next month, a CPS source has confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Concept Schools'  Horizon Science Academy-Clay Evans, which was planned for the Chatham neighborhood, will not open in September, the source said.

The decision was made after Concept, whose Des Plaines headquarters were raided by the FBI in June, lost out on its first facility. 

The second facility chosen for the school at 9130 S. Vincennes won't be ready for the first day of school next month, the source said.

The located generated controversy after the Sun-Times reported earlier this month that David Vitale, the president of the Chicago Board of Education, runs a bank that would have benefited if Concept had opened the school in the Vincennes building.

Read more at the Sun-Times Early & Often blog.

Chicago Defender: Simeon’s Electricity Program Reinstated

by Andrea V. Watson - Chicago Defender  |  August 20, 2014

Simeon StudentsAfter much pushing from the community and alumni, Simeon Career Academy High School’s electricity program will be brought back this fall.

Chicago Public School announced the news Wednesday. A partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will provide high school graduates an opportunity to become an electrical apprentice. Initially, the program was cut due to lack of enrollment from incoming freshmen.

“After hearing from students, parents and the community, CPS is restoring the electricity program, providing our students the opportunity to learn technical skills and secure electrician jobs across the City,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Through our partnerships with local unions, local businesses and education institutions, we are committed to preparing the next generation of Chicago’s workforce.”

For the full story please visit the Chicago Defender website at

On Due Process, Or What You Call Tenure

by ctu communications  |  August 20, 2014

For the purposes of this essay, I’m using the term “due process” in lieu of tenure because people like Whoopi Goldberg (and millions of others) confuse “tenure” for “job for life.” If that’s what we call “tenure,” then “due process” is more exact. More and more, what it means for K-12 educators and college professors is coming to a confluence.

As far as my contract is concerned, it’s not like, after my third year, I got a job for life. Due process just gives me a better chance at talking back.

Teachers earn (please know this) due process after three years of working and building up a portfolio of pieces that we’ve gathered showing that we have the right to object to our dismissal for frivolous reasons. This carries tons of implications, especially in places where school funding waxes and wanes depending on who the principal, superintendent, mayor, or governor were / are. It means teachers can’t get fired for frivolous reasons, many of which include being pregnant, speaking out of turn, dress code, or different racial make-up than the students they serve, or because the principal just doesn’t like you.

Within reason.

Please click here to continue reading at

Sun-Times: Million buck pledge changes Lewis’ ‘calculus’ — but not timeline

by TINA SFONDELES  |  August 20, 2014

Karen Lewis said Tuesday that a $1 million pledge of support from the American Federation of Teachers “automatically changes the calculus” of a potential mayoral campaign.

But apparently not enough to push the Chicago Teachers Union president any closer to deciding whether or not to actually challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“I want to run things on my time line,” Lewis told a capacity crowd of union members at Morgan Park’s Beverly Woods Banquet Hall.

It was her third “conversation” with Chicagoans.

And she’s got 74 more to go.


Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, (right) talks with Walter Jacobson Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, (right) talks with Walter Jacobson Tuesday night at the Beverly Woods Banquet Hall. | Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times

CPS Teacher Career Fair Cancelled for Aug. 19

August 18, 2014

CTU Logo

The CPS Teacher Career Fair scheduled for Tuesday, August 19, Local 399 Union Hall, 2260 S. Grove St., has been cancelled. Please visit the Rights at Work -> Layoff Rights section of the CTU website for future dates as they become available.

The Chicago Teachers Union is committed to supporting all of our members affected by layoffs, as well as working to mobilize and educate the community about how our mayor and his handpicked Board of Education cut resources from those who need them the most.   

Please stay in touch with CTU throughout the school year for further information on our political, community outreach and organization efforts. 

Sun-Times: Lewis: Rahm’s CPS preference plan in firefighter hiring a ‘stunt’

by karen lewis - ctu president  |  August 20, 2014

The City of Chicago is gearing up to enforce its Chicago Public Schools preference policy, which would give CPS graduates preferential standing among other firefighter applicants, providing an unfair advantage above students enrolled in private or religious schools. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel apparently seeks to encourage more opportunity for CPS high school graduates to serve in the Chicago Fire Department, it seems like a shortsighted approach to creating educational stability and opportunities for Chicago’s youth.

With dwindling poll numbers as it relates to his education policies, it appears the mayor yet again has not given much thought towards how to empower Chicago’s youth.

I suggest a real and meaningful incentive plan that goes beyond the mayor’s proposal.

Please click here to continue reading at

NYTimes: Teaching Is Not a Business

by David L. Kirp  |  August 18, 2014

Today's education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology.
Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.

Petition: Save Simeon Electrical Program

by Michael Brunson, CTU Recording Secretary  |  August 07, 2014

The youth unemployment rate in Chicago is very high. Training programs leading to employment opportunities for the youth are hard to find. Urge the Chicago Board of Education to continue Simeon’s Electrical Program. This petition to Rep. LaShawn Ford will help us get crucial support to bring back an essential training program for young Chicagoans. Click below and sign it.


District 205 teachers reject offer

by antwon r. martin - the register-mail  |  August 18, 2014

Teachers rejected a contract offer late Tuesday night from District 205, which means they will be on the picket line Wednesday morning, just one day before school was to begin.

It’s the first strike in the district in nearly 37 years.

Following more than 15 hours of mediation over the past two days and a three-and-a-half hour meeting Tuesday evening, the Galesburg Education Union membership turned down a proposal from the District 205 Board of Education without a vote. As they exited First Lutheran Church after 9 p.m. Tuesday, the teachers, professionals and paraprofessionals carried signs for Wednesday’s picket.

“The proposal does not adequately address safe working conditions for educators and students,” GEA Spokeswoman Tami Qualls said, reading from the union’s prepared news release. “Fair working conditions such as just cause for dismissal and the number of days and hours employed are not included.”

Please click here to continue reading at

Chicago Teachers Union