by michael brunson - CTU recording secretary | December 04, 2013
10 MORE SEATS! 2 MORE DAYS!
There are still 10 seats available for this Saturday’s SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER social justice workshop at CTU headquarters in the Merchandise Mart. Parking is free, lunch will be served and there will be a raffle of seven Flip video cameras for attendees to take back to their schools as a resource.
The class size is limited to 30 participants. RSVP to CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson at email@example.com or call 312-329-6224.
by ctu communications | December 04, 2013
Over the last year, community groups and teachers unions have taken unprecedented steps to forge an alliance to work together to reclaim the promise of public education as our nation’s gateway to democracy and racial and economic justice. The National Day of Action on Dec. 9 is our next step.
Teachers, parents, students and communities have been facing unprecedented attacks on their public schools, jobs and civil rights. These attacks raise fundamental questions: Will public education continue as a truly public institution that aspires to provide all students with an equal opportunity to learn? Will the labor movement survive as a strong voice for economic justice?
Please click here to continue reading and learn more at reclaimpublicednow.org.
by Dan Montgomery - President, Illinois Federation of Teachers | December 04, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Just 24 hours after receiving a 325-page bill, Illinois lawmakers convened in Springfield today to vote on pension-slashing legislation that robs teachers and public employees who have served our state and faithfully made their pension contributions. Despite vocal opposition from numerous lawmakers, enormous outcry from our members, and vehement testimony from the IFT and members of the We Are One Illinois coalition, legislative leaders called the unfair, unconstitutional pension theft proposal for a vote.
After hours of heated debate, the bill attacking the working class and retired public servants passed with the minimum votes necessary in the Senate (30-24-3) and in the House (62-53-1). It is rumored that Governor Quinn plans to sign this measure as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday). If and when he does, the IFT will join our union partners in an aggressive challenge to this measure in court.
This battle has been long and hard fought, starting as far back as the 1970s when our union brought to court a lawsuit demanding that state politicians and budget architects make the pension payment, in full, every year. Over the last several years, the IFT and other public sector unions have beat back draconian attempts to cut pension benefits for current employees and retirees.
The battle for fairness, dignity, and security in retirement doesn’t stop with today’s legislative action. It is simply a dark day in the developing history of our efforts to protect the middle class.
Our efforts together are not in vain. Working Americans are engaged in a fight for a fair economy, strong education system, and a dignified retirement for committed educators and public employees. We will continue to fight against efforts to take people’s retirement security when they need it the most, after they have worked hard and earned those benefits.
For more than two years, your efforts have made a significant impact. Together, we’ve engaged in hundreds of meetings, countless rallies, hundreds of thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls to legislators. And frankly, when you look at the votes, you’ll find that even during our defeat today, there are a number of legislators who’ve stuck with us.
I encourage you to take a look at the vote in the House and Senate and PLEASE, take the time to thank your legislator if he or she voted NO on this bill. Your “thanks” goes a long way and makes a big impact in future efforts.
If your legislator voted “YES,” he or she should hear from you as well. Politicians should know that you’re paying attention – before, during, and after their votes.
IFT and the We Are One Illinois coalition will release additional details as soon as they become available.
Governor Pat Quinn likes to say, “Let the will of the people be the law of the land.”
Well, the law of the land is the Illinois Constitution, not the politics of Springfield.
Thanks for all your efforts.
President, Illinois Federation of Teachers
by Citizen Action Illinois | December 03, 2013
NO ON HB2536, Amendment 4
Did you hear that on the same day Illinois legislators are considering destroying retirement security for state public employees, they are going to provide Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) a tax credit?
ADM will receive $7.5 million in tax credits over the next five years. ADM is demanding the tax subsidy to move their headquarters from Decatur to Chicago.
- ADM made over $2 Billion in profit in 2012.
- At the bill’s hearing, ADM lobbyists refused to guarantee that ADM will stay in Illinois, even with the subsidy.
- ADM is holding Illinois taxpayers hostage and threatening to take all its jobs out of our state if we don't pony up the ransom money.
Call Your State Representative and Senator Today.
Tell them “No to HB2536, the ADM subsidy bill”
At a time when our state is struggling with funding critical programs for education, healthcare and infrastructure - Why are we doling out money to companies that essentially take taxpayers as hostage?
Call Your State Representative and Senator Today.
Tell them “No to HB2536, the ADM subsidy bill”
by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah - Chicago Tribune | December 02, 2013
With a teachers strike and massive school closings behind it, Chicago Public Schools is hoping for a better shot this year at getting federal money through the competitive Race to the Top grant program.
The U.S. Department of Education announced this month that CPS was one of 31 finalists for the district-level competition that provides funding aimed at improving student learning, closing the achievement gap and improving the skills of teachers at school systems throughout the country.
Last year, CPS was not a finalist. This year, district officials are hoping to get as much as $30 million for programs at noncharter schools.
This year's proposal was put together in collaboration with the Chicago Teachers Union. It calls for a greater focus on helping eighth-grade students make a smooth transition to high school so they stay in school and graduate on time, ready for college or a career.
by By McKayla Braid (Plainfield East), Kathryn Cua (Hinsdale Central) and Anna Quesse (Fremd) - The Mash | December 02, 2013
Take as many AP and honors classes as possible, but don’t forget about extracurriculars. Study until you know the material like the back of your hand, but make sure to get a good night’s sleep. Oh, and remember to keep up a healthy social life.
As high school students, we face a lot of conflicting expectations. On top of it all, we’re always being tested. If it’s not the ISAT, it’s the ACT. If it’s not the ACT, it’s the SAT. Or the PSAE. Or the PSAT. Or the PLAN test. And the list goes on.
State and national laws require students to take a number of exams. But last year Chicago Public Schools had a whopping 25 district-mandated standardized tests. On Aug. 7, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced that the district would drop 15 of those tests.
Please click here to continue reading at themash.com.
by ctu communications | November 29, 2013
Unfortunately the threat is now a reality. Illinois legislators will return to Springfield on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, to take a vote on a bill to cut the STATE pension funds.
Meanwhile, the Grinch, AKA Mayor Rahm Emanuel is working to add Chicago teachers and retirees to the bill.
Included on the mayor’s pension cut wish list are significant cuts to retiree healthcare, significant cuts to cost of living adjustments (COLA), and a major increase in the retirement age.
Call both your state senator and your state representative NOW and leave them with a clear, strong message to VOTE NO on any pension bill that cuts benefits for members of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. No CTU member has agreed to any of the proposed changes to retiree health or pension benefits. You can call our hotline at 888-412-6570 or click here to call on December 2-3.
Chicago Pension Action Day: December 2, 2013
Calls are important, but in-person lobbying is even better. We will target the district offices of key legislators all across the state and in the city for a vigorous grassroots lobbying effort with as many union members and retirees as possible in attendance. Make sure legislators in your area feel the heat.
Visit your elected officials’ Chicago-area offices on Monday, December 2, before they head to Springfield to take a vote on unfair and draconian pension cuts, and let them know that pension cuts are unacceptable.
School funding in Chicago is a revenue problem, not a problem of retiree benefits!
Illinois State Pension Action Day: December 3, 2013
We will have buses to Springfield on December 3, headed to the state capitol to directly oppose cuts to retiree healthcare and pension benefits.
Contact the CTU organizing department at (312) 329-6227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our continued advocacy has prevented pension cuts to this point.
Our continued advocacy is the only way we will block cuts in the future.
Please call and visit your state representative and state senator Monday, and join us Tuesday in Springfield.
CTU is the model of a fighting union for the rest of the state and the country.
We must demonstrate our strength again.
by Becky SCHLIKERMAN - chicago sun-times | November 26, 2013
Chicago Public Schools has decided against using inBloom, a controversial data storehouse run by a nonprofit, and will work directly with a state-run data program, a spokeswoman said.
In Illinois, an online platform called the Illinois Shared Learning Environment, or ISLE, is in development to collect student data in one place.
The services of inBloom, which would allow access to a broader range of digital applications and content, were an optional add-on, but not mandatory, Illinois State Board of Education officials have said.
On Tuesday, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said CPS will use only ISLE.
She said CPS has the resources to implement the data-sharing effort on its own and doesn’t need a third party.
“We believe the best course of action for CPS is to work directly with [the state board of education] to provide the data needed to participate in this important initiative,” Carroll said.
Critics of inBloom were concerned about privacy, the security of the data and how the data would be used.
One CPS parent who has been worried about inBloom, Cassie Creswell, lauded CPS. “This is great news,” she said.
But Creswell said more information about ISLE’s system is needed.
A state board of education spokeswoman has said data collected by ISLE will be relevant only “to instructional applications” and won’t have anything to do with a child’s health or disciplinary matters.
In Illinois, two Downstate districts will pilot the ISLE program this winter, according to the state board. Over the next two years, 35 pioneering districts that receive federal money will start participating in ISLE.
That includes CPS, which committed to participate in ISLE and over three years will receive $19 million of federal money from the Race to the Top fund.
by Sarah Karp - Catalyst Chicago | November 22, 2013
Parents from Lincoln Elementary reacted at Wednesday's board meeting to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s controversial plan to build an $18 million addition to the school, with some expressing elation while others pointed out a less expensive solution: redrawing attendance boundaries so some Lincoln students would be sent to other nearby schools, Alcott or Mayer.
But nothing was said about Manierre, a school just 1.3 miles away and more underutilized than any of the other neighborhood schools. In fact, as the district planned the closings, officials considered using Manierre--or at least its building, emptied of its students--to solve overcrowding in Lincoln Park.
Manierre, a predominantly black school, was initially placed on the list of schools to be shut down, but was taken off after intense community objection--in large part because of the plan to send Manierre’s students to Jenner, the only other school in the area that is predominantly African American and has the lowest academic rating. Several of the other nearby schools had space, are racially diverse and have the district's highest rating.
Documents submitted by CPS to lawyers in discovery for one of the federal lawsuits challenging the school closings states that the action to be taken in Lincoln Park was to “reduce underutilization and possibly leverage the empty Manierre building in the future.”
Asked in a deposition for the lawsuit why CPS officials didn’t consider redrawing attendance boundaries so some students in overcrowded schools would be sent to Manierre, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said “a reason why not is because it is highly disruptive to relocate people from their existing school to another school.”
The attorney then points out that most of the students in closing schools were black and asks Cawley whether CPS officials were more concerned about disruption involving white students. Cawley says that is “patently false.”
Please click here to continue reading at catalyst-chicago.org.
by becky schlikerman - chicago sun-times | November 22, 2013
As some rejoice about a plan to relieve overcrowding at a Lincoln Park elementary school, parents with kids at other crammed schools want to know when they’ll be able to spread out.
Lincoln Elementary School is set to receive an annex that could cost up to $20 million and accommodate about 500 additional kids, officials said. Chicago Public Schools said the annex will be funded with state money.
But the announcement made earlier this month has some parents fuming.
“How do you decide who gets the funding?” Canty Elementary School mom Maria Georgekos asked the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday.
“Canty has been asking for upgrades for our school for the last 15 years,” she said.
Please click here to continue reading at suntimes.com.