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Saturday: Political Action Training to fight Trump, Rauner and Rahm

by ctu communications  |  December 08, 2016


Political Action Training

Are you fed up with politics as usual?

Are you trying to figure out how to fight back?

Are you ready to build an independent political organization by and for the 99%?

Then join us this Saturday for our inaugural Political Action Training!

Saturday, December 10
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Chicago Teachers Union
1901 W. Carroll Ave.

Facebook RSVP

At last week’s post-election strategy session, we heard from so many people who are looking for a political home in the era of Trump, Rauner, and Rahm—and looking for a way to fight back and win.

This training is for you. We’ll analyze recent election results, define and discuss the need for UWF as a people-powered independent political organization, and practice organizing conversations that recruit people to our long-term work and vision.

For more information contact Emma Tai.

Sole bid for Chicago charter school dropped

by ctu communications  |  December 07, 2016

Chicago Public Schools won't be advancing any plans for new privately operated schools this year after the sole remaining applicant for an additional charter campus abandoned an effort for a shuttered South Side building.

The application to open the Kemet Leadership Academy charter school at the site of the former Morgan Elementary School in the Gresham neighborhood was withdrawn on Friday, a district spokeswoman said.

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CTU Hiring Communications Director

by Shynaa Brown, CTU HR Director  |  December 05, 2016


Position Summary:

Under the supervision of the Chicago Teachers Union President and Executive Vice President, the communications directors will supervise all communication department staff and directs the paid and earned media campaigns across platforms. This role is responsible for crafting and implementing messaging and mobilization campaigns across media at the city, and state level, and supporting the work of our elected leaders and members in traditional and digital media efforts. This position will serve as the chief writer and media strategist for the CTU and will work with other CTU departments and the international union to develop and execute traditional, digital and internal membership communications strategies.

Position responsibilities:

  • Manages media campaigns staff to ensure high-quality, consistent and creative campaigns across media types to advance the mission and vision of the CTU.
  • Helps to develop and oversee strategy for media components of campaigns that the CTU is running local and state level.
  • Builds and optimizes CTU’s relationships with journalists and producers.
  • Works with the Office of the President to best coordinate and amplify speaking engagements and media requests and to leverage digital media to best amplify and support activities of CTU’s membership and executive officers.
  • Works with other department heads and additional stakeholders to craft and deliver messaging for CTU and its officers.
  • Oversees work and contracts for pollsters, graphic artist, paid and earned media vendors
  • Creates and implements best practices for media engagement throughout CTU’s campaigns, departments and divisions.
  • Oversee paid advertising for the CTU on local and state campaigns.
  • Works with the political and other departments to integrate best media practices into the union’s work.

Primary Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • A minimum of 6 years’ experience running media, messaging and/or digital campaigns
  • At least two years experience managing staff in communications and/or political campaign settings
  • Fast and effective writer with a strong eye for political messaging
  • Ability to supervise work allocation and implement procedures and systems to maximize operating efficiency.
  • Experience writing speeches, columns, op-eds and articles
  • Ability to persuasively articulate the importance of integrating media strategy in an organizing, political or issue advocacy campaign.
  • Knowledge and interest in integrating digital media with traditional media.
  • Work effectively with elected leaders and staff in complex and sometimes politically sensitive situations.
  • Ability to oversee and manage multiple priority projects and meet deadlines.
  • Background in labor, education and/or politics is desirable.

Secondary Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Prior work experience in a union environment is preferred.
  • Familiarity with local and state education and political issues is a plus.
  • Experience in Hispanic media outreach and Spanish speaking is a plus.
  • Experience working with community partners and civil rights groups a huge plus.

Application requirements:

Applicants should submit a cover letter, writing sample and résumé via e-mail to Shynaa Brown, Human Resources Director. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please reference posting CTU Communication Jobs in the subject line.

CTUF Quest Center Hiring PD Facilitator

by Carmen Curet, Exec. Dir. CTU Foundation  |  December 05, 2016

The Chicago Teachers Union Foundation (CTUF) is seeking applicants for the position of Professional Development Facilitator in the Quest Center. The individual selected for this position will be responsible for designing professional development (PD) and delivering PD on a variety of topics. They will also have other responsibilities that are tied to the work of CTUF generally and the Quest Center specifically. There will a focus on the following goals:

  • Planning and delivering continual professional development of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) member teachers and paraprofessionals at all levels of their careers
  • Helping to raise the professional profile and expanding the reach of the Quest Center, elevating it to the level of a nationally-recognized and respected voice of leadership in the field of public education
  • Enacting principles of social justice and culturally competent education in all of the Quest Center’s work
  • Advocating for the needs of students and families, particularly those in underserved and disenfranchised communities, and preserving the dignity and well-being of all students
  • Disrupting forces that threaten the integrity of public education, such as corporate reform, the proliferation of charter schools, the school-to-prison pipeline, the erosion of disabled students’ rights, the de-professionalization of teachers, and the slashing of education funding

The responsibilities of the Professional Development Facilitator at the Quest Center include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Designing and implementing cutting-edge professional development tailored to the needs of CTU members
  • Supporting members’ professional needs in areas such as licensure, certificate renewal, and teacher evaluation
  • Establishing and nurturing relationships with a wide range of partner organizations in order to enhance the scope and quality of the Quest Center’s work, including securing grant funding
  • Developing strategies for involving students, families, and community organizations in Quest Center work
  • Promoting programs and initiatives that support the CTUF Quest Center’s goals, such as public education, restorative justice, cultural competency, social justice, parent and community involvement, advocacy and professional development

The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • At least 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher
  • History of developing and providing PD to teachers
  • Master’s degree
  • Curriculum design experience and expertise
  • Proven capacity to foster teamwork
  • Self-starter
  • Demonstrated ability to network and collaborate with a wide range of individuals
  • Flexibility, interpersonal skill, initiative, and goal-oriented outlook
  • Grant writing
  • Knowledgeable in many areas (especially science, social science, and special education)

The CTUF is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a culturally diverse workplace. Please send a resume, cover letter, and references to no later than January 3, 2017, or mail to CTUF Foundation Executive Director; 1901 W. Carroll Ave,; Chicago, IL 60612. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE!!!!!

Restore special education and clinician services

by ctu communications  |  December 01, 2016

ILLUSTRATION: Special ed pic2


This year, CPS has made drastic cuts to special education that hurt our students with disabilities. CPS also wrote a new procedure manual that creates onerous obstacles to providing our students the special education services that they need. As the Board of Education holds its monthly meeting, they must see that the public will not stand for our most vulnerable students to be cut off from services that are essential to their success. The mayor’s handpicked Board has refused to pursue funding sources that could support these students and has chosen, instead, to put up barriers to services. Show up and stand up next Wednesday for students with special needs!

December 7
9:00 a.m.
CPS Headquarters
42 W. Madison Ave.


ILLUSTRATION: Special ed pic3

Special Education Focus Of Budget Hearings

by sarah karp - wbez  |  November 30, 2016

How to pay for special education dominated Monday’s public hearings on Chicago Public Schools’ proposed budget.

The district has seen an increase in the number of students with special learning needs, with more than 52,000 students registered this school year compared to 49,186 enrolled in 2010. 

The debate over special education funding has become the latest battle between CPS and some community members. 

The Memo

During the summer, CPS’ new special education chief sent out a memo to principals that detailed ongoing problems with special education. Among the issues outlined were rising costs from too many students being identified as needing special services. The memo said CPS is now spending about $900 million on special education, a $131 million increase since 2010.

The memo also said many students were placed into special education who could have had their needs met through programs in regular education. Special education advocates took issue with many of the contentions in that memo, especially the comparisons between Chicago and other urban districts. They point out that, compared to most other districts, Chicago serves more children living in poverty and experiencing trauma -- two factors that have been shown to increase the likelihood that students need special education services.

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The CTU is ready to take on Trump.

by ctu communications  |  November 27, 2016

We are prepared for what happened last Tuesday. President-elect Donald Trump has used attacks on our students and their communities to ride a wave of voter resentment into the White House. A Trump administration is sure to promote efforts to expand Right to Work (for less) to Illinois; continue attacks on public education with an aggressive push for vouchers and charter proliferation; rain down oppressive police tactics on our students and their families with federal support for Stop and Frisk programs; and mass deportation of our undocumented students and their families.

Why does this sound familiar? Because we have been there and done that. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago is ground zero for efforts to close the most schools in American history, almost exclusively in the Black community. The foundation of the mass school closings came with aggressive charter school expansion and the denial of affordable housing to low income families. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Illinois is where the uber-rich governor has attempted to gut collective bargaining rights and eliminate our retirement security, with help from the mayor.

Emanuel is the architect of mass deportations that have ravaged the Latino community over the last eight years. Chicago is, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the epicenter of Stop and Frisk tactics that have done little to protect our Black and brown youth from an epidemic of violence and police murders, while eroding their civil rights. Both Emanuel and Rauner have defended the malfeasance of banks and refused to tax their wealthy friends at a great cost to our communities and the services, schools and institutions they depend on.

The same effort we have taken to advance the call for greater democracy in an elected school board, a more equitable and progressive tax structure, and greater investments in schools/transportation/jobs and housing for the most beleaguered neighborhoods, is what is needed, not more Trump/Rauner/Emanuel austerity. The Chicago Teachers Union’s role in advancing a holistic agenda that can fortify and nurture our city is the best antidote to the harmful rhetoric from our adversaries.

We welcome any and all of our members to share with the CTU any lesson plans, activities and strategies you are using to support our students in these perilous times. We would like to share those valuable insights with all of our members.

We also want to emphasize that the CTU and our allies are strong, unified and will be successful, not only at withstanding the battles ahead, but winning them. People feel betrayed by the political elite and their Wall Street backers, and are looking for a program like ours to restore equality and justice in our cities and throughout the country.

On January 19, the day before Inauguration Day, we have been asked to join tens of thousands of teachers, students and parents across the country to defend public education, protect our students from the Trump/Rauner/Emanuel attacks and promote our vision for the schools our children deserve. Will you join the movement?

Sign your school up here!

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

by randi weingarten - american federation of teachers president  |  November 23, 2016

WASHINGTON—In response to President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education, AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement: 

“The president-elect, in his selection of Betsy DeVos, has chosen the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education. 

“In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.

“DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation.

“We have an obligation to all children in America. That’s why we’ve fought to ensure that struggling schools get fixed, that we fight for kids to have the powerful learning, the social and emotional and wraparound services, and the great teachers they need. That’s why we fight for parents to have the voice they need and communities throughout the country to have the local decision-making for their schools and the investment they need, so we do everything we can to help all children have a great public education. What this pick means is far from ensuring that every child has the option of a great public education—the many who have it now will lose it. That’s been the experience of 25 years of privatizing: It helps very few, and many students now go to schools that have faced years of austerity and disinvestment.

“Betsy DeVos is everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America—an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters. Installing her in the Department of Education is the opposite of Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.” 

Happy PSRP Day!

by ctu communications  |  November 16, 2016

Wednesday, November 16 is



Since 2006, the State of Illinois has designated the third Wednesday in November as Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel Day.

PSRPs are essential educators. Their services are a vital link in the educational chain. In the Chicago Public Schools, all PSRPs are members of the Chicago Teachers Union. Some may be in the same school—or even the same classroom—every day, while others only visit each school a few times per year!

Teachers and clinicians know that their jobs would simply be impossible if not for the hard work of their fellow educators. Take some time to celebrate the PSRPs in your school or workplace today!

In Solidarity,
Anita Burks, PSRP Field Representative and
José “Jay” Jimenez, PSRP Field Representative

CTU member PSRPs are:

  • Audiometric and Vision Screening Technicians
  • Audio-Visual Technicians
  • Community Relations Representatives
  • Computer Technicians
  • Educational Sign Language Interpreters
  • Guidance Counselor Assistants
  • Head Start Educational Resource Assistants
  • Head Start Health Resource Assistants
  • Head Start Parent Resource Assistants
  • Head Start Social Service Resource Assistants
  • Health Service Nurses
  • Hospital Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Instructor Assistants
  • Interpreter Clerks
  • Occupational Therapist Assistants
  • Parent Advocates
  • School Assistants
  • School Clerks
  • School Clerk Assistants
  • School Community Representatives
  • School Library Assistants
  • School Social Service Assistants
  • Special Education Support Clerks
  • Speech/ Language Pathology Paraeducators
  • Student Special Needs Program Assistants
  • Student Special Services Advocates
  • Teacher Assistants
  • Technology Coordinators 

Tell State Senators to Vote for an Elected School Board

by ctu communications  |  November 16, 2016

Every school district in Illinois EXCEPT for Chicago has a right to an elected school board. Last spring the Elected School Board Bill, HB557, passed overwhelmingly in the Illinois House. Now, we have an opportunity to pass it in the Senate.

Take action: The Illinois Senate Education Committee will meet TODAY and may vote on the Elected School Board Bill, HB557. We can help get it voted out of committee and brought to the full Senate for a vote.

Go to the committee meeting’s online witness slip form and follow the step-by-step directions below for each form section.

1. You must put something in every field except “Fax.”
“For Firm/Business or Agency” simply type the word "None."
For “Title” you may use Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. but you must put something in the field.

2. For this section type "None" unless you are acting in your capacity as an acknowledged representative of an organization.

3. For this section, click the circle above "Proponent."

4. In this section, the appropriate choice is probably "Record of Appearance Only."

5. You must click the checkbox in the lower left that states “I Agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement” before finally submitting the witness slip by pushing the "Create Slip" button at the lower right of the form.

6. When you’re done, call all the offices of all 15 committee members to follow up. Your voice is the most effective way to get a message to the senator!

Witness Slip

We forced the appointed Board of Education to back down from their most offensive contract demands because we organized and were ready to strike. But it isn’t nearly enough: The mayor and his hand-picked Board of Ed still intend to leave our classrooms overcrowded and our staff without the resources to meet the needs of special education students. These choices—which hurt our students, shortchange our schools and disrespect educators and parent—are made by Rahm’s hand-picked board—composed of businessmen and bankers.

Chicago needs an Elected Representative School Board!

The only solution the appointed Board ever has is to cut from students, union members and retirees. They are beholden to their billionaire friends, not the families and educators they are meant to serve. If we elected the school board, would they have argued against receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in TIF money? If we chose the people that ran our schools, would they finally say “NO” to Wall Street banks profiting off our schools, corporations looking for a tax break, or the charter school operators that are still asking for more?

Read the Text of HB557

See the Status of HB557

Witness Slip

Senate Education Committee Members

  • (217) 782-8505 - Kim Lightford
  • (217) 782-8191 - Iris Martinez
  • (217) 782-5652 - Omar Aquino
  • (217) 782-0052 - Jennifer Bertino Tarrant
  • (217) 782-2119 - Daniel Biss
  • (217) 782-7353 - Melinda Bush
  • (217) 782-0228 - Andy Manar
  • (217) 782-3650 - Julie Morrison
  • (217) 782-7746 - Michael Noland
  • (217) 782-8022 - Steve Stadelmann
  • (217) 782-8137 - David Leuchtefeld
  • (217) 782-6597 - Jason Barickman
  • (217) 782-1997 - Karen McConnaughay
  • (217) 782-3840 - Sue Rezin
  • (217) 558-1006 - Chapin Rose 
Chicago Teachers Union