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CTU Launches 'Stand Up to the Fat Cats'

by CTU Communications  |  12/10/2012

ILLUSTRATION: Still from the CTU-produced video Stand Up to the Fat CatsCHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today kicked off a public education campaign against the rise of school privatization schemes and the corporate assault on public education with the release of an animated, satirical short film, Stand Up to the Fat Cats. The video seeks to rally the public against corporate infiltration in public education and encourage them to join the fight to provide resources and support for neighborhood schools.

The five-minute film can be viewed on the home page or on
YouTube page: Stand Up To The Fat Cats

Stand Up to the Fat Cats places a spotlight on the history of corporate school reform in Chicago and proposed 20th century advancements that ultimately led to the deterioration of many of the city’s neighborhood schools. The film also introduces us to parodies of popular faces in Chicago’s education debate, including venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Board of Education member Penny Pritzker, venture philanthropist Bill Gates, the Broad Foundation, the Koch Brothers and out-of-town school reformers such as Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform. 

“We need business leaders who will work with us and our schools to create an engaging and vibrant environment of education for students and their families, not corporate dilettantes only looking to serve their own interests,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “This is not some social experiment—this is a damaged system in need of repair.” 

From the formation of the CTU in the mid-20th century to its present-day battles with lawmakers and charter school operators, wealthy, private-interest fat cats have had their paws in public education for years.  After a dominant new feline landed in City Hall in 2011, bringing in a litter of corporate cronies, the CTU went on a year-long offensive in a cat-and-mouse battle against anti-teacher propaganda.

Through Stand Up to the Fat Cats, viewers can revisit how Chicago’s educators stood up to these frisky and felonious kitties once again during the 2012 strike, rallying throughout the city against the closing of public schools, the endangerment of their livelihoods and the jeopardizing of the future of thousands of the children. As the bedtime story depicted in the video goes: Rowdy Rauner and the Litter Box Crew are out to destroy the teachers union and starve neighborhood schools in a sneaky campaign to fatten the pockets of private charter operators and their billionaire friends. 

“The public needs to know who sets Chicago's education agenda—corporate CEOs, bankers and real estate developers in the Commercial Club of Chicago; hedge fund investors such as Bruce Rauner, and billionaire philanthropists such as Bill Gates,” said urban education scholar Dr. Pauline Lipman.

“They use their political connections and immense wealth to drive charter school expansion, closing neighborhood schools, and union busting—policies that are devastating public education and destabilizing African-American and Latino communities,” Lipman said. 

As the Chicago Public Schools system is expected to announce by March 31, 2013, the closing of nearly 150 neighborhood schools, the mission of the Stand Up to the Fat Cats campaign is clear: Don’t let fat cats bully students or educators anymore!

Chicago Teachers Union