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Street theater protest to demand the mayor and city council stop cuts to classroom

July 28, 2015

PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS PROTEST BARE-BONES EDUCATION;
TELL MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL TO STOP STARVING CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS VIA PRIVATIZATION

In reaction to the announcement of yet another year of budget cuts for district-run schools, parents will bring a reminder to city council that multiple years of cuts have already left students with a skeletal school system. With bare-bones budgets, children are getting a bare-bones education.  There is nothing more to cut.  Instead of more cuts to classrooms, parents are demanding that city leaders stop handing over scarce public dollars to private contractors, charters operators, and the mayor’s TIF slush fund.

WHAT: Street theater protest to demand the mayor and city council stop cuts to classroom

WHERE: Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

WHEN: Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Press conference at 9am followed by march to City Council chambers

WHO: Mothers of public school students from across the city
 
Our schools have been starved of resources. Budgets have been cut to the bone again and again.

Students around the city have already been going without art, music, sports, world languages, after-school programming and field trips. Class sizes continue to grow---with 30, 40 or even 50 children, even in kindergarten classes. Every year there are not only fewer teachers, but fewer nurses, librarians, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, cafeteria workers and janitors.  Schools lack library books, art supplies, musical instruments—even copy paper, hand soap and toilet paper.

Schools with peeling paint, leaking roofs, crumbling schoolyards will now have only half-time building engineers—and this is on top of the slashing of janitorial staff after CPS privatized cleaning through multi-million dollar contract for Aramark.

With the most recent cuts, losses to district-run schools since 2013 will total $300 million, not including the closure of 50 neighborhood schools. In addition to the $60 million in school-level budget cuts for 2015, there will also be district-wide cuts for building engineers, special ed assistants, bussing and coaches.

We demand that the mayor and city council do everything in their power to end public school austerity:

  • Shut down the corrupt TIF program where companies — including Grossinger Toyota, UPS, Vienna Beef, Wrigley, Marriott, Village Green Developers — receive tax dollars that should be going to schools, and millions are buried in accounts with no transparency.

  • Open ZERO new charter schools. Every side of the city has protested charter expansion in recent months, North, South and West.  Cannibalizing existing schools to feed new ones is unacceptable.

  • Lay off central office personnel before school employees. No school-level employees should be fired unless more central office departments are eliminated.

  • Cancel CPS contracts with testing and software companies and expensive outside consultants.
     

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DePaul Stadium Naming Rights

by erika wozniak  |  July 28, 2015

In light of the budget crisis in Chicago, we feel it is reasonable to ask for a portion of the money made on this stadium deal to be given back to Chicago Public Schools to help fund our students' education so that someday they will be able to get into a wonderful university such as DePaul.

We ask that DePaul University donate the proceeds of the naming rights of its future stadium back to Chicago Public Schools. As Chicago taxpayers are helping to fund this stadium, we ask, in the spirit of St. Vincent DePaul, that the university steps up and gives back to the deserving students of Chicago Public Schools.
 
ILLUSTRATION: Sign the Petition

NW Side United for Neighborhood Schools

by ctu communications  |  July 27, 2015

Logan Square neighborhood elementary and high schools lost $4 million in the latest round of budget cuts. Many of these cuts affect our most vulnerable students such as diverse learners and English Language Learners.

The Chicago Teachers Union is partnering with parents, students, local elected officials and our community partners Illinois Raise Your Hand the Logan Square Neighborhood Association to call on Chicago Public Schools leadership to restore cuts to staff and programs. We will call for progressive revenue solutions that will provide working families with fully funded neighborhood schools.

ILLUSTRATION: Illinois Centennial Monument

Join us for an important neighborhood rally on Tuesday, July 28 at 9:30 a.m., at the historic Illinois Centennial Monument ("the Eagle") intersection of North Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Boulevard.

Let's stand together with parents and students for the schools our children deserve!

Tuesday, July 28
9:30 a.m.
Illinois Centennial Monument  

I will be there!

WBEZ: Why are there fewer black teachers in CPS?

by Natalie Moore - wbez  |  July 27, 2015

A few weeks before the school year ends, Taree Porter leads word drills with her second graders and reads a Judy Blume classic amid the din of giggles.

Porter, a teacher for 14 years, is black and comes from a family of Chicago Public Schools educators.

Just 15 years go, 40 percent teachers in CPS schools were black. Today, it’s 23 percent. Many black students are segregated into majority black schools—like National Teachers Academy in the South Loop, where Porter teaches.

The fact that she's among a dwindling demographic isn't lost on Porter. And all this change didn’t occur in a vacuum. Modern education reform in Chicago started in 1995 and ramped up in the following years.

Please click here to continue reading at wbez.org.

Judge rules against the unconstitutionality of Emanuel’s pension ‘reform’

by jesse sharkey - ctu vice president  |  July 24, 2015

CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey released the following statement in wake of today’s ruling on city pensions:

Today, Judge Rita Novak ruled that the pension promises made to our city’s dedicated servants cannot—and should not—be broken. Just as the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in May, the pension clause of the Illinois Constitution ‘is a statement by the people of Illinois, made in the clearest possible terms, that the authority of the legislature does not include the power to diminish or impair the benefits of membership in a public retirement system.’

This ruling ensures that Chicago’s budget woes won’t be balanced on the backs of those who have provided decades of dedicated service to this city, and we are happy that those who have made great sacrifices in contributing to the fabric of public services will not have their retirement benefits taken away from them. 

In light of today’s ruling, as well as the Illinois Supreme Court ruling concerning attempts to diminish the benefits of members of the state pension systems, we urge the City to forgo appeal and, instead, to focus its efforts on implementing a fair and constitutional solution to its funding obligations and seeking revenue options such as supporting a LaSalle Street tax and a progressive income tax, suing big banks for toxic swap agreements, and declaring the maximum tax increment financing surplus possible.

CTU VP Sharkey talks 'broke on purpose' with WGN Radio

by brian jones - wgn radio  |  July 24, 2015

The Chicago School Board voted unanimously to borrow $1.2 billion through bonds that the Chicago Teachers Union Vice President, Jesse Sharkey, says makes little financial sense. Click here to listen.

Chicago Teachers Union VP, Jesse Sharkey
(Antonion Perez; Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Teachers Union VP, Jesse Sharkey (Antonion Perez; Chicago Tribune)

IL Raise Your Hand: Special ed cuts and resources if you need assistance

by illinois raise your hand  |  July 23, 2015

CPS has announced numerous cuts to special ed positions, and today we learned from Access Living that CPS is consolidating some self-contained classrooms and informing parents via letter that their children will start at a new school in the fall.

If you are a parent who needs assistance in this area, below are some resources:

Non-Profit Organizations

Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (Attorney) (must be referred by medical source) 180 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 2110 Chicago, IL 60601 Phone: 312.605.1974 Website: www.aidslegal.com

Equip for Equality (Attorney) (must meet eligibility requirements) 20 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60602 Phone: 312-341-0022

JCFS Legal Advocacy Center (Attorney) 216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 800 Chicago, IL 60606 Phone: 312.673.2740 Website: www.jcfs.org/node/147

Legal Assistance Foundation (Attorney) (must meet eligibility requirements unless student is a foster child through DCFS) 120 S. LaSalle, Suite 900 Chicago, IL 60606 Phone: 312.341.1070 Website: www.lafchicago.org

Advocates

Educational Advocacy and Consulting (Advocate) 50 S. Main Street, Suite 200 Naperville, IL 60540 Phone: 630 624-3784 Website: www.educationaladvocacyandconsulting.com

Family Resource Center on Disabilities (Advocate) 20 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 300 Chicago, IL 60604 Phone: 312.939.3513

Jean Kulczyk (Advocate) 102 Willow Dr. Waukegan, IL 60087 Phone: 224.730.0303 Email: advocate4kids@gmail.com

North Shore Pediatric Therapy (Advocate) 950 Lee Street Des Plaines, IL 60017 Phone: 877.486.4140 Website: nspt4kids.com

Pam Labellarte (Advocate) From Advocacy to Action 231 Bingham Circle Mundelein, IL 60060 Phone: 847.401.5053 Email: plabellarte@gmail.com Website: www.fromadvocacy2action.com

Attorneys (some do low bono and sliding scale)

Law Offices of Charles P. Fox (Attorney) 355 West Dundee, Suite 209 Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 Phone: 847.205.9897 Website: www.foxspecialedlaw.com

Children’s Law Group (Attorney) 142 E Ontario St, Ste 525 Chicago, IL 60611 Phone: 312-265-1055 Email: dpergament@childrenslawgroup.com Website: www.childrenslawgroup.com Christine 

K. Wee, Esq. (Attorney) 1155 W Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60614 Phone: 617.869.2983 Email: christinekwee@icloud.com

Matt Cohen & Associates (Attorney) 155 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 715 Chicago, IL 60601 Phone: 866.787.9270 Website: www.mattcohenandassociates.com

Mauk & O’Connor (Attorney) 1427 W. Howard Chicago, IL 60626 Phone: 773.262.2377 Website: www.maukoconnor.com 

Law Office of Maureen Graves (Attorney) Phone: 714.378.5100 Email: maureen@maureengraves.com

Sabrina Shafer, Esq. (Attorney) Breaking Autism, Inc. Phone: 847.849.7917 Email: sshafer@breakingautism.com Website: www.breakingautism.com Law 

Office of Sandra E. StrassmanAlperstein (Attorney) 113 N. McHenry Rd. #134 Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 Phone: 847.293.9311 Website: www.spedlaw4kids.com Whitted,

Takiff & Hansen 3000 Dundee Rd. Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: 847.564.8662 Website: wthlawfirm.com

Boycott Bank of America

by ctu communications  |  July 22, 2015

ILLUSTRATION: Boycott Bank of America

CTU to protest budget cuts, layoffs before Board of Ed meeting, call for boycott of Bank of America

by ctu communications  |  July 21, 2015

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), parents, students and neighborhood social justice organizations will protest tomorrow, July 22, before the Chicago Board of Education meeting, against budget cuts to Chicago’s public schools, the dismissal of thousands of CPS educators and education support staff, and to formally announce a boycott of the Bank of America (BOA) for its “toxic” interest rate swap deals that have cost Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the City of Chicago more than $1 billion.

Recent attacks on working families in the form of deep budget cuts to health care, orphan assistance, public education and a myriad of social services will have a devastating impact upon our communities. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) alone just cut 1,400 positions and eliminated 200 special education positions designed to serve our most vulnerable students. While many Chicagoans will be harmed by this austerity, the African-American and Latino communities will suffer disproportionately. 

BOA has profited by $100 million for dumping toxic swaps upon Chicago’s public schools. The $200 million in CPS cuts is what the City of Chicago paid to banks like BOA and Loop Capital to terminate these deals, proving that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education colluded with the banks to make us broke on purpose.

“The Board plans tomorrow to borrow $1.2 billion, and $228 million of that is in swap termination fees, the very instruments that the banks used to siphon $500 million from the schools,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “This is almost exactly the same amount of money that CPS has cut from school budgets—an unconscionable decision in light of the revelation that the mayor’s board of education sat on its hands when it had the chance to sue the banks and retrieve millions for our classrooms.

“If they won't take action to hold the banks accountable, then we will do it ourselves.”

WHO:               

Chicago Teachers Union members, CPS parents and students, community organizations

 

WHAT:            

Protest before monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting

 

WHEN:             

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
9:00 a.m.

 

WHERE:                             

Chicago Board of Education
42 W. Madison St.
Chicago

Researcher Seeks Interviews About Closed Bronzeville Schools

by ctu communications  |  July 20, 2015

Seeking Interviewees for Bronzeville
School Closings Research Project

Are you a former student, parent, or teacher affiliated with one of these Bronzeville schools that are now closed?

  • Daniel Hale Williams Elementary (closed 2002)
  • Stephen A. Douglas Elementary (closed 2004)
  • Williams Multiplex/Williams Middle Prep (closed 2013)
  • Mayo Elementary School (closed 2013)
  • Walter H. Dyett High School (closed 2015)

Eve Ewing is a graduate student and former CPS teacher doing a research project on Bronzeville school closings who would like to interview you about your experiences.

Interested?

Please email eve_ewing@mail.harvard.edu
or call/text 51-BRONZE-05 (512-766-9305)

Chicago Teachers Union