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CPS Teachers Achieve National Board Certification

by lynn cherkasky-davis - CTUF Quest Center Director of Teacher Leadership/National Board Certification  |  January 22, 2018

Congratulations are in order!  We are excited to recognize CPS teachers, teacher-librarians, and counselors for their achievement of NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION! On December 16th, 2017, 66 candidates learned they had joined more than 2,200 other National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) actively serving in the Chicago Public Schools.* In addition, this year 87 of our NBCTs renewed their certification.  This makes CPS the school district with the third highest number of NBCTs in the country – truly a milestone!  

Now in its 20th year, Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL), the CPS/CTU partnership program that supports district teachers, counselors, and teacher-librarians in pursuing National Board Certification, happily celebrates the achievement of these new NBCTs.  The Quest Center, with its 94% National Board Certification achievement rate, is proud to provide the professional development and candidate support programming for CPS’ National Board Certification candidates.

As Peggy Brookins, NBCT and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) says, “These teachers have proven that they teach to the highest standards…and they have put in the work to show their commitment to their practice and to their students.”

CTU President Karen Lewis, herself an NBCT, congratulates our new NBCTs, “It continues to be good for CPS to grow this professional group of educators, who have met the most rigorous standards of accomplished practice. The best part is how much our students benefit from teachers who have earned the highest credential an educator can attain.”

An increasing body of research shows that National Board Certified Teachers are more likely to improve academic outcomes for students – up to one and a half months of additional learning in a year – as well as advance their careers. President Lewis added that, “Experiencing the process of becoming an NBCT also helps teachers master the REACH Framework” as they are observed and present and defend student achievement in their classrooms.

This year’s new NBCTs are the first to certify under a redesigned assessment system. It is organized around four key components: three classroom-based portfolio entries and a set of computer-based written Assessment Center exams of content area knowledge. Teachers, counselors and teacher librarians who enroll in the NTL program receive a full scholarship for the NBPTS application fee and for the program’s two-year process, in which candidates demonstrate how they tailor instruction to drive individual academic gains, submit videos of classroom teaching with analysis of their practice and reflections on what went well and what didn’t, and provide examples of ways they’ve used data and school and community resources to improve outcomes for their students. They examine their learning environment and instructional practices to determine and highlight the best ways in which they address student needs. The CPS REACH teacher evaluation system aligns to the four components of National Board Certification.

As Brookins said, “National Board Certification is about helping teachers become great, it is about elevating the teaching profession, and it is about helping children achieve at a higher rate. The certification process impacts teaching and learning well beyond an individual teacher’s classroom.”

The rewards of this predominantly performance-based process also reflect this impact beyond the classroom. CPS NBCTs are the first to be considered for leadership and advocacy opportunities at the district, union, university, and state level, such as Framework Specialists, Consulting Teachers, ISBE licensure board membership, mentoring of new teachers, adjunct professorships, and more.  

Financial rewards for CPS NBCTs include a $1960+ annual stipend. As they go through the process, candidates can earn graduate credit (leading to an optional master’s degree) as well as CPS Lane Placement credit, enabling them to advance on the CPS salary schedule.

We invite you to join this challenging process. Nurturing Teacher Leadership, with its 94% achievement rate, is now recruiting candidates for the 2018-20 certification cycle. Please go to the CTUF.org/QuestCenter/NTL website  for further information about National Board Certification and to https://www.ctuf.org/ntl-informational-meeting/ to register for the meeting. You can also email us at NationalBoard@ctuf.org, or call Lynn Cherkasky-Davis at 312-329-6274.

*New CPS NBCTs (as of Dec. 16, 2017)

 

First Name

Last Name

Certification: Certification Name

1

Mayra

Almaraz

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

2

Eduardo

Amezqueta-Martinez

World Languages/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

3

Jessica

Baker

Music/Early and Middle Childhood

4

Stacy

Barrett

English Language Arts/Early Adolescence

5

Regina

Beach

Art/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

6

Amanda

Becker

Generalist/Early Childhood

7

Eurydice

Bevly

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

8

Julie

Bulfer

Physical Education/Early and Middle Childhood

9

Molly

Callaghan

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

10

Katherine

Cantwell

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

11

Jessica

Coonley

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

12

Alejandra

De La Pena

Generalist/Early Childhood

13

Kathryn

DiCianni

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

14

Laura

Dobroski

Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

15

Cynthia

Domine

English Language Arts/Early Adolescence

16

Ryan

Dooley

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

17

Heather

Duncan

Generalist/Early Childhood

18

Amy

Ellifritz

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

19

Byron

Espinoza

Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

20

Nicole

Ferrin

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

21

Monicadejesus

Fuentes

Music/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

22

Stuart

Fuess

Music/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

23

Julie

Gaster

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

24

Elizabeth

Joe-Recinto

Exceptional Needs Specialist

25

Geoffrey

Hiron

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

26

Erik

Hull

Mathematics/Early Adolescence

27

Mona

Iehl

Generalist/Early Childhood

28

Jennifer

Jilek

Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence

29

Benjamin

Johnson

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

30

Joanne

Klonowski

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

31

Erica

Loftus

Generalist/Middle Childhood

32

Amalia

Lopez

World Languages/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

33

Adam

Loredo

English Language Arts/Early Adolescence

34

Kathleen

Madden

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

35

Kathleen

Mahoney

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

36

Cynthia

McCullough

School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

37

Jennifer

McQuade

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

38

Luke

McShane

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

39

Meghan

Murphy

Generalist/Middle Childhood

40

Barbara

Newton

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

41

Adam

Norman

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

42

Courtney

O'Connell

Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

43

Jimini

Ofori-Amoah

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

44

Christina

O'Leary

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

45

Kathy

O'Shea

Generalist/Early Childhood

46

Jala

Phillips

Generalist/Early Childhood

47

Travis

Pierce-Ryan

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

48

Debra

Prouty Daniels

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

49

Nathan

Ramin

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

50

Katie-jo

Ramirez

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

51

Samuel

Rasch

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

52

Jennifer

Rocque

Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood – Young Adulthood

53

Dawn

Sakanis

Science/Early Adolescence

54

Sergio

Santillan

English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

55

Cristina

Sicora

Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence

56

Mark

Sidarous

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

57

David

Stieber

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

58

John

Sullivan

Generalist/Middle Childhood

59

Margaret

Taylor

Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood

60

Monique

Thorpe

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

61

Peter

Van

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

62

Kimberly

Walls

Science/Early Adolescence

63

Adrienne

Wilson

Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

64

Paula

Wyatt

Generalist/Middle Childhood

65

Christopher

Zbasnik

Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

66

Sara

Zoldan

Art/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

Join the CTU this Saturday for the 2018 Chicago Women’s March!

by CTU COMMUnications  |  January 19, 2018

Billed as a Women’s March to the Polls, this event seeks to build women’s power for an agenda that goes well beyond merely electing women to public office. We demand an end to sexual harassment, fully funded women’s healthcare, quality public education for all, real job opportunities with a living wage and much, much more.

Our CTU contingent will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 20 on the northwest corner of Jackson and Michigan in front of the Corner Bakery. We’ll have a banner. Wear your CTU RED, bring signs and stand up for our rights!

Questions? Email Debby Pope at debbypope@ctulocal1.com. See you Saturday! 

ILLUSTRATION: 2018 Women's Rights March

Reminder: Nominations for HS Functional VP

by Maria Moreno, CTU Financial Secretary  |  January 18, 2018

Nominations for High School Functional Vice President

Nominations for the vacancy of High School Functional Vice President were taken at the January 10, 2018 House of Delegates meeting. If there are any additional nominations they must be made by the end of the February 7, 2018 House of Delegates meeting. Elections will be held for this position at the subsequent House of Delegates meeting.

‘Mrs. Caneva,’ my student said, ‘my family and I are undocumented.’

by gina caneva - lindblom math and science academy  |  January 16, 2018

As Congress moves closer to reaching a decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, almost 800,000 Dreamers — young people brought to our nation illegally as babies or small children — await their fate. Will it be a path to citizenship, deportation or continued limbo?

I watch it all, from here in Chicago, and I am reminded of a Dreamer I was fortunate to teach.

On the day after President Donald Trump was elected, many of my students voiced their anger and sadness. But one of my most positive students said nothing at all. When I asked Denilson what was wrong, he responded with a different tone — fear.

“Mrs. Caneva,” he said. “My family and I are undocumented.”

Please click here to continue reading at chicago.suntimes.com.

In the footsteps of Dr. King, stand up for racial justice in our schools

by ctu communications  |  January 15, 2018

ILLUSTRATION: MLK
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is flanked by Eva Grace Lemon (7 years old) and Aretha Willis (7), as they march to integrate schools in Grenada, MS, 1966. (AP Photo)

Stand for Racial Justice

The fight for racial justice in our schools is as vital and necessary as it was when Dr. King led it 50 years ago. Today, schools in the South are as racially segregated as they were in 1968, when an assassin’s bullet took Dr. King from us. Chicago Public Schools also still reflect intense segregation.

In Chicago, the Board of Education is continuing to harm Black schools by proposing to close all four open-enrollment, district-run high schools in Englewood, by proposing to undermine Hirsch HS with a co-located charter school, and by closing National Teachers Academy — a high-achieving neighborhood school that predominantly serves Black and low-income students — to move into their building a high school that would serve more affluent neighbors.

Schools and businesses are closed to memorialize Dr. King and his work. An even greater tribute is to carry that work on. On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day pledge to stand up for threatened schools and strengthen the movement for education justice.

I'll stand up!

Retiree Delegate Election Update

by Maria Moreno, CTU Financial Secretary  |  January 10, 2018

A message to retired CTU members

CTU recently mailed ballots to to all retired CTU members for the retiree delegate election. We did not state that the postage required to mail the ballot is $1.19. To make sure all ballots are delivered to CTU, regardless of postage, CTU opened a Postage Due Account. The USPS is therefore delivering all envelopes, whether or not $1.19 in postage is affixed. Due to concerns raised by members, the Rules and Election Committee extended the deadline for the return of ballots. The ballot must be postmarked no later than Thursday, January 25, 2018, or dropped off to the CTU office by 5:00 P.M. Friday, January 26, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience that lack of clear information about the postage may have caused.

Dear Mr. Mayor, let's start the the Janice Jackson regime the right way

by CTU officers  |  January 09, 2018

January 8, 2018
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
5th Floor, Chicago City Hall
121 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60602 

Dear Mr. Mayor,

We write to urge you to start your new CEO of schools off on strong footing both in terms of policy and finances, instead of saddling this new administration with the baggage of previous CEOs’ failed policies. CPS must overhaul a number of practices and policies in your education agenda if Janice Jackson is to be afforded the independence and capacity to pursue a path that will elevate all of our public schools and their students.

First, don’t make your new CEO justify the unthinkable. If you insist on closing the last four public high schools in Englewood, the consequences will be catastrophic for students and their families. There is no such thing as safe passage when you force students to travel through five to eight miles of gang territory to get to school every day. Virtually no one thinks this is a good idea – not even your 2012 school closings commission, which raised this precise threat of mortal danger to our most vulnerable students when the commission rejected high school closings for the 2013 school year. Yet since 2012, instead of investing in these high schools and their students, your school board has slashed the budget of Hope by 55%, Team Englewood by 46% Robeson by 71%, and Harper by a staggering 74% – a strategy designed to undermine instead of support these schools and their students, more than 98% of whom live in poverty. Your current proposal to close all of Englewood’s high schools also dovetails with the lock-out of these current Englewood students from access to a proposed new neighborhood high school.

Stop these attacks on Black families and invest in our schools instead of closing them. Without investing in Englewood’s four neighborhood high schools, you run the risk of telegraphing again to families in communities of color – as you did in 2013 – that the students of these neighborhoods just don’t matter. Families and students of NTA share that conviction after CPS proposed to phase out the school simply to hand over their building to another community. Supporters of Hirsch Metropolitan High School feel the same, after CPS’ unelected School Board voted to co-locate a clout-heavy charter school, a move that will ultimately destroy Hirsch and undermine her neighborhood students. These proposals for closure and co-location are worse in many respects than your mass school closings in 2013, because there is no clearly defined support for the kids who will be forced out of their schools.

Instead, allow your CPS CEO to invest in schools like Harper and Robeson now, so these schools can stabilize, thrive and renew their tradition of providing great educational opportunities for the families whose children rely on good public schools near their homes. Last month, the Chicago Reporter extensively documented the impact that your 2013 round of school closures has had on Black families in the city – forcing students from one highly segregated and unequally funded set of City public schools to suburban school districts that struggle under the same dynamics. The bottom line, backed by hard evidence, is that the 2013 school closings have forced Black families out of the city.

Allow your new CPS CEO to end the attack on Black and veteran educators, who have borne the brunt of the layoffs that your policies of austerity and school privatization have driven. At the heart of the loss of our most seasoned educators of color lies the system of student-based budgeting, a reform that you implemented with dire consequences for our students and their educators. Under SBB, the number of Black teachers in the system has been slashed in half. Principals routinely tell veteran applicants that they would hire them if they could afford them – but they can’t. Experience matters immensely, as does the race of teachers for Black students – particularly low-income Black students, who have lower drop-out rates and higher college attendance rates when they are taught by even one teacher of the same race as them. This powerful dynamic has been most recently documented by the Institute of Labor Economics. Other recent studies – notably the 2016 John Hopkins University study on race biases in teachers’ expectations for students, and the 2014 Center for American Progress study on the consequences of a shortage of teachers of color – also document the critical positive difference that a teacher of color can make in the lives of students of color, particularly poor students. Allow your new CPS CEO to stop staffing schools on the cheap. None of the top-ranking suburban school districts use SBB, a fundamentally inequitable way of financing education that also flies in the face of the state’s new evidence -based school funding formula. Why would CPS persist in this failed policy?

Instead, implement the evidenced-based practices in Illinois’ new school funding formula – an explicit commitment to lower class sizes in early grades; provide adequate access to pre-K and special education services; ensure that librarians, counselors, school nurses and clinicians are staffed at the level of national best practices; and ensure funding that allows schools to hire committed veteran educators – particularly Black educators. CPS has relied instead on education short-timers from Teach For America, barely 30% of whose participants stay on to teach for a third year. While these TFA hires are cheaper to bring on board than veteran Black teachers, many have neither the training nor the disposition to commit to durable public service to our students. Students, parents and community residents want both excellence and stability in staffing for our schools – the hallmarks of strongly performing suburban districts and a proven path forward to creating conditions for success in CPS, in both our cadre of educators and the ranks of top administrators, which in the last seven years have been roiled by chaos and scandal through three previous CPS CEO’s.

State your public support for an Elected Representative School Board. No CEO will ever have legitimacy in this city if they continue to work under the persistent cloud of certitude that they are making decisions on behalf of the Mayor instead of students, families, educators and residents across the City. No taint of scandal will ever be removed from our school system or the mayor’s office as long as the people of this city have no voice in electing those responsible for school governance – and as long as a school board wholly appointed by the mayor is responsible for failures of oversight when school officials are exposed for wrongdoing. It’s long past time that Chicago end its outlier status as a school district that denies its residents this basic right – a right that every other school district in the state has long exercised.

Work with the CTU as partners to build a Sustainable Community School District. For too long in Chicago, the students who need the greatest resources have received the least. Yet even with Illinois’ new evidence-based funding formula, Chicago continues to deny our neediest students in our poorest neighborhoods the supports mandated by the state law. We need to instead ramp up investment in the schools that serve the communities with the highest unemployment, poverty and homelessness, and the inevitable violence that these conditions drive. Nothing short of massive investments in wrap-around supports, culturally relevant curricula, community outreach and programming will alter these inequities. The CTU and the City agreed in our 2015 contract to pilot the sustainable community schools model by providing twenty schools with pivotal supports to bring them into sustainable community schools standards. Yet today, this endeavor remains mired in CPS’s bureaucratic red tape. Help us unleash this initiative with the appropriate resources, attention and system-wide implementation this initiative deserves by making a public commitment to sustainable community schools – and backing up this commitment with real dollars. To do any less is to consign hundreds of thousands of low-income students of color to a continuing chronic lack of resources that undermines their success as students and their prospects as adults to live productive, fulfilling lives.

We remind you that CPS is scheduled to receive a windfall of roughly $220 million in ten days -- three months early this year. Some of those funds could be redirected to neighborhood public schools desperately short of funds in the wake of more than $400 million in cuts that your top CPS executives and board have baked into CPS' budget over the last three years. Redirect those funds to the schools that most desperately need them – including Hirsch and Englewood's neighborhood public high schools -- and more broadly into desperately needed trauma services for our students, into bringing Chicago into compliance with the state's new funding formula, and into the growing groundswell of support to make our entire school district a sustainable community school district.

Take immediate steps to remedy burgeoning problems with GoCPS. Under student-based budgeting, where funding is tied to enrollment, GoCPS is totally untenable, becoming a tool to drive down enrollment further in neighborhood public schools while claiming rhetorically that collapsing enrollment in these schools is “choice”. We must, instead, move to a system where we’re funding all schools fairly.

CPS rolled out GoCPS as a “streamlined” high school application process without creating a level playing field for the neighborhood schools vying for students to enroll. Neighborhood high schools have suffered profound budget cuts and have widely varying capacities at marketing – capacities which are significantly reduced at chronically underfunded neighborhood high schools. Under the current funding structure, students and parents are not able to choose schools in a fair system where all high schools have been invested in adequately and able to share what makes them great with prospective students and their parents. CPS has instead left it entirely up to schools to figure out their own marketing strategies even as those same schools have lost more librarians, clinician services, art and music teachers, and more.

Parents and students both want and deserve a streamlined process to apply to high schools. However, the system in place has had serious glitches – including the reality that counselors have been hampered in their ability to help students navigate the process due to limited training and a lack of detailed information about how the “single best match” will be made. CPS appears to have focused instead on marketing the system, rather than ensuring that students, parents, and counselors have a deep and rich understanding of the algorithm that will be used to match them to a school. The system is internet-based, and while there is supposed to be a paper back-up system, we’ve heard concerns from parents about the efficacy of the site (including lost data) and we’re deeply concerned about access for those who have limited internet access. 

GoCPS also dovetails with CPS’ flawed “choice model”, which sets up a limited number of well-resourced magnet schools and a large number of charter schools – an approach that has, in combination with student-based budgeting, contributed to the destabilization of Chicago’s Black and Latinx neighborhoods, driven families from Chicago, and left many neighborhood schools starved of resources and struggling to offer students a quality curriculum.

We can do better. We must do better. Our city’s children deserve better. You can make it possible. We’re happy to meet with you and your new CPS CEO to discuss these proposals at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely, 
Jesse Sharkey, Vice President
Michael E. Brunson, Recording Secretary
Maria T. Moreno, Financial Secretary

Honduras: Solidarity with teachers and others fighting for democracy

by ctu communications  |  December 29, 2017

We all know we are under assault on a million fronts here in Chicago and in the U.S.. Sometimes that makes it hard to also keep an eye on what is going on around the world, but we want to encourage CTU members and supporters to take a moment and learn about the struggle in Honduras against electoral fraud, the brutal repression people are facing, and the visionary resistance the people are waging.

Why should we pay attention?

  • Because we are fighting the same enemies. The same financial interests behind closing schools and privatizing education in Chicago are also supporting the Honduran dictatorship. There they don’t just have charter schools, they have corporate-run charter cities! The powerful behind these policies work together, and we also need to work together if we are going to win.
  • Because our tax dollars are funding their death. 34 people have been killed in Honduras just for peacefully protesting against electoral fraud. The Honduran military and police have received over $100 million from U.S. taxpayers since the 2009 coup d’etat, during which many teachers were killed for protesting. They are using that money to carry out a brutal wave of repression.
  • Because we have important lessons to learn from Honduran teachers' resistance. As authoritarian rule begins to creep up on us here at home, we need to learn lessons from those resisting outright dictatorships around the world. Few places have social movements as bold and visionary as in Honduras right now, where in the last month they have been able to shut down over 200 roads around the country, convene marches of millions, and force a major crisis for a dictator who has yet to be recognized by most of the world or fully install himself into power despite using overwhelming force to try to crush the protests against him. This repressive regime has yet to fully take power because people have not given up. Teachers have played a major role in opposing repression and are often described as the backbone of the resistance.
  • Because this crisis will provoke a mass wave of refugees. After the 2009 coup d’etat, migration from Honduras to the U.S. skyrocketed, leading to tens of thousands losing their lives while passing through Mexico and thousands of children ending up at the border as refugees. This current crisis is only exacerbating those pressures in what is already the world’s most violent country.
  • Because Honduran teacher leaders are specifically asking Chicago teachers and their supporters to help.

Here’s some background on what’s going on, followed by a call to action:

As you may have heard, Honduras is in flames. There were elections on November 26th where the two leading contenders were Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship and Juan Orlando Hernández, who flagrantly violated the Honduran constitution, which prohibits a sitting president from running re-election. Hernández has been consolidating his grip on power since his last electoral fraud in 2013. His administration was found to have stolen millions from the public hospital system in Honduras to help finance his previous campaign, officials in his government have been directly implicated in the assassination of indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, and he has militarized Honduran society like never before seen, especially through his creation of a military police force that responds directly to him without any accountability. He has given away hundreds of concessions to mining and dam companies, deepened privatization, attacked teachers and other unionized workers, had close family members implicated in ties to narco-traffickers, and relentlessly criminalized and attacked human rights defenders.

Hondurans rejected him overwhelmingly at the polls. The head of the electoral tribunal, a close friend of Hernández and a member of his party, refused to release results that showed the opposition alliance having an “irreversible lead” with most votes counted and the opposition up by 5%. A rebellion by one of the magistrates and pressure from international observers forced the release of these results and Hondurans began to celebrate for several days, despite the system “going down” and no further results released for days. When the system came back up, all the remaining votes broke for Juan Orlando Hernandez overwhelmingly, the hard drive had been re-formatted and ballot boxes were found opened -- all of which is documented in the Organization of American States’ report. The final “results” showed Juan Orlando Hernandez with a razor-thin margin.

Hondurans cried foul and took to the streets in numbers not seen since at least the 2009 coup d’etat, and surpassing that resistance in many ways. They have shut down all of the major roads in hundreds of blockades around the country and held marches of millions denouncing the fraud.

The response has been the use of live ammunition by the military police, leaving 34 people killed, hundreds wounded, and thousands detained. The regime is desperately clinging to power through the use of force alone, and people are not giving up, leading to a quickly spiraling human rights crisis. Tear gas is being shot indiscriminately into densely populated areas, leaving numerous children hospitalized. Even the main public hospital was tear gassed.

But Hondurans have not given up, and are stepping up their struggle. The least we can do as a starting point is to pay attention. Here are some resources to learn more, followed by a call to action. Make sure to watch the video specifically directed to Chicago teachers from a Honduran teacher leader as a starting point.

Background articles and videos :

People can follow the crisis on the La Voz de los de Abajo blog: HondurasResists.blogspot.com

Call to action:

  1. January 27th at 10am we will participate along with other Chicago unions and organizations in a citywide teach-in and action downtown (location TBA) in solidarity. Please mark your calendars and begin to spread the word.
  2. Call your representatives. You can call (202) 224-3121 and give your zip code and be connected with your representative. Tell them  “My name is ________, I am a constituent and live at _____________ and a member of _____________. I am outraged about the human rights violations and electoral fraud in Honduras. I want to know what my representative is doing and ask that you 1) call for an end to all U.S. military and police aid to Honduras until the human rights violations cease and 2) call on the State Department to take back its recognition of Juan Orlando Hernández, whose candidacy was illegal under the Honduran constitution and whose electoral victory the OAS and European Union have both said was mired in irregularities and whose results both have refused to certify as a result.”
  3. Call Senators Durbin - (202) 224-2152 - and Duckworth - (202) 224-2854 - and deliver this same message. Also ask Senator Durbin to stand with Senator Leahy and use his vote in the Appropriations Committee to hold up funding to Honduras through the Alliance for Prosperity until the human rights violations end and there is a transparent process to ensure the Honduran people’s will is respected.

CTU statement on federal tax bill

by ctu communications  |  December 20, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his buddy-in-chief, President Donald Trump, both got a “win” today. Rauner wins because no one’s paying attention to his dangerous ideology of crisis creation to squeeze Illinois’ predominantly female public-sector workers, or his continued bungling as Illinois’ chief executive. And Trump wins by enriching himself, Rauner and their fellow billionaires at the same time services for the rest of us are slashed—all the while saying he did it for the middle class.

Deliberate policy decisions have transferred wealth from the bottom 90 percent to the top, with disproportionate impacts. People of color have seen higher rates of foreclosure, higher rates of unemployment and lower income. And the state’s rural and small cities have been impacted more than those in the Chicago area, especially through Rauner’s deep cuts to higher, public education and deep cuts to social services that hurt already-weak job markets.

Plus, the federal tax bill skews heavily toward Illinois’ richest residents, who can afford higher state taxes.

The real solution to Illinois’—and the country’s—signature challenge of wealth and income inequality is actually the complete opposite of what’s been attempted: Increase taxes on those at the top, and increase workers’ negotiating power through increased union membership.

Contrary to what Rauner, Trump and the like would have you believe, there is a way out for Illinois. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Close the carried interest loophole at the state level. The carried interest loophole allows private equity billionaires (like Rauner, who admitted skirting taxes this way) to fake their income by calling it capital gain, thus paying a lower tax rate than teachers, nurses, receptionists or construction workers. Trump supported closing the loophole at the federal level, and then flip-flopped (as expected). Closing this loophole at the state level could bring in between $500 million and $1.5 billion to Illinois at minimal net cost to the wealthy individuals who just got a tax cut at the federal level.

  2. Follow Minnesota’s lead and raise taxes on those earning the most. Minnesota’s billionaire governor, Mark Dayton, used a much different approach than Rauner. Rather than attempting to starve the state government, Dayton raised taxes on those most able to pay and led the state to a budget surplus that was then spent on the services Minnesota’s residents needed most—education, health care and infrastructure. And far from killing the state’s economy, Minnesota soared. Minnesota added more than 50,000 residents last year; Illinois lost more than 30,000. Minnesota’s unemployment rate is lower (3.3 percent to 4.9 percent for Illinois) and labor force participation rate higher (69.1 percent to 65.3 percent for Illinois, as of 2016). Public education in Minnesota is also funded more equitably.

  3. End the state’s new school voucher program. Not only does the program suck $75 million out of the state’s budget via tax breaks to wealthy Illinoisans, but the federal tax bill opens up 529 savings programs to K-12 private schools. This provision creates a double whammy for public education by diverting students and the state tax incentives tied to 529 plans. Rauner’s so-called “#2 accomplishment” is thus a scam that harms public education, the public service more people in Illinois use than any other. Scrap the voucher plan and shift the money toward Illinois’ new school funding formula.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t get a pass on this, either. His attacks on public schools via his handpicked school board and his refusal to tax those who have money are unconscionable. He supported slashing special education and school budgets, leaving students without required services or counselors or librarians so long as he could maximize his TIF funds for downtown developers and giving his donor class a free pass on a corporate head tax that had been in place for decades. What he needs to do is reform the TIF program so that money goes to support sustainable community schools, reinstitute the corporate head tax to bring back mental health clinics and create a massive jobs program for youth of color. Those who would potentially be paying a corporate head tax just received a major federal corporate tax cut, so they can afford it.

Illinois has had a revenue problem for years, and the federal tax bill only makes that worse. The General Assembly should act to fix that flawed federal action and put the state on a course to harness its resources and unleash our state's real potential, and not the visions of sugarplums that Gov. Rauner dreams of.

Proposed school closing hearing dates

by ctu communications  |  December 15, 2017

Chicago Public Schools is required by state law to hold hearings for any proposed school action and published information in the chart below. Please join in support of fellow union members, parents, and students.  

Pledge to Attend

Proposed School Action

Hearing Dates

Location

Castellanos-Cardenas

1/9 6pm

2524 S. Central Park

 

1/16 6pm

2524 S. Central Park

 

1/25 7pm

42 W. Madison

     

Hirsch

1/9 6pm

7740 S. Ingleside

 

1/16 6pm

7740 S. Ingleside

 

1/31 5:30pm

42 W. Madison

     

Haugan-Henry-Roosevelt

1/10 6pm

4540 N. Hamlin

 

1/17 6pm

4250 N. St Louis

 

1/26 6:30pm

42 W. Madison

     

Hope-Harper-Team-Robeson

1/10 6pm

740 W. 63rd St

 

1/17 6pm

513 W. 72nd St

 

1/30 5:30pm

42 W. Madison

     

Rudolph-Hope Institute

1/10 6pm

1628 W. Washington

 

1/17 6pm

1628 W. Washington

 

1/29 4:30pm

42 W. Madison

     

Ogden-Jenner

1/9 6pm

24 W. Walton

 

1/16 6pm

1119 N. Clevelend

 

1/25 4:30pm

42 W. Madison

     

NTA-South Loop

1/9 6pm

3241 S. Federal

 

1/16 6pm

1936 S. Michigan

 

1/29 6pm

42 W. Madison

Chicago Teachers Union