Email Print

We are looking for an organizer

by ctu communications  |  December 15, 2017

CTU organizers play a key role in the fight to enforce our contract and for good schools for all. The roles and responsibilities of a CTU Organizer include, but are not limited to:


  • Work with CTU members to involve them in acting upon member concerns, as well as educational and legislative issues that impact schools.
  • Plan campaigns and develop actions in collaboration with school members to promote our members’ rights and fight for educational justice.
  • Prepare CTU members to successfully organize their coworkers and mobilize parents.
  • Help develop school-level issue campaigns to protect members’ rights under the contract.
  • Mobilize for union-wide events and campaigns.
  • Develop grassroots leaders.
  • Work with parents and community organizations around issues related to funding and other struggles to improve our schools and communities.

The ideal candidate will:

  • Have demonstrated union/community/political/organizing experience
  • Have served as union delegate or other union leadership position
  • Possess excellent interpersonal skills
  • Possess strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading Spanish is highly desirable
  • Be well-organized, self-motivated, with demonstrated initiative and commitment
  • Be able to manage multiple tasks and projects simultaneously and meet established deadlines
  • Be able to work irregular, often long, hours
  • Have proficiency in Microsoft Office tools
  • Be willing to travel throughout the city and have daily access to an automobile

Please submit resume, with references and a cover letter to All are encouraged to apply. EOE M/F/D/V/SO/GI.

The deadline for submission is December 26, 2017.

CTU political endorsements

by ctu communications  |  December 14, 2017

The CTU House of Delegates has completed its first round of endorsements this evening, choosing to support four champions of democracy, public education and the need for progressive revenue to support the schools our students deserve.

ILLUSTRATION: Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson is a longtime CTU member and staffer in the organizing epartment. Prior to his work at the CTU, he taught at Jenner Elementary School and Westinghouse High School.

Brandon’s focus is to support the services that support our students and protect those who do the work: physical and mental health care, restorative justice programs and the revenue needed (from those who can afford to pay) to make sure those services are available to all who need them.

Delia Ramirez has been an education organizer in Logan Square and Humboldt Park for many years. The former president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, she opposed the 2013 school closings and charter expansion and advocated for real sanctuary for students. She supports progressive revenue and using the money to fund not only school needs—counselors, clinicians, librarians, and a broad and rich curriculum—but affordable housing, too. Delia is endorsed by CTU affiliates United Working Families and Grassroots Illinois Action.

ILLUSTRATION: Delia banner

Rep. Sonya Harper is strong CTU ally and the chief House sponsor of HB 3720, a bill to reform the TIF program in Chicago. The bill tightens the rules around development projects to clearly determine how much money is available, adds a provision that TIF funds could be used for special education and trauma supports in schools, and most importantly, directs large TIF payments to CPS every year instead of downtown developers. Rep. Harper passed the bill out of the House (with a veto-proof majority) last spring.

ILLUSTRATION: Harper banner

Rep. Rob Martwick is one of the CTU’s strongest allies in the Illinois General Assembly. He is the chief sponsor of HB 1774, the bill for an elected school board for Chicago. His work on this bill has moved CPS closer to an elected school board than at any other point in history. Rep. Martwick has also sponsored legislation that requires funding to follow students when they transfer between charter and traditional schools and a bill to outlaw for-profit charter schools.

ILLUSTRATION: Martwick banner

House of Delegates passes constitutional change referendum

by ctu communications  |  December 13, 2017

Last night the CTU House of Delegates passed a vote to recommend the following changes to the CTU Constitution, and has set Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, as the date for a referendum of the entire CTU membership.

Do you approve amending the CTU Constitution and By-Laws to allow unionized charter school teachers, PSRPs and other staff to join the CTU, to have representation and membership rights within the CTU, to establish a comparable dues structure, to create a Charter School Division within the CTU, and make other changes regarding charters as contained in the Draft for CTU House of Delegates 10-4-17? *

Do you approve amending the CTU Constitution and By-Laws to improve the structure and governance of our union by creating a functional group for clinicians, allowing schools with fewer than 20 members a voting delegate, lowering part-time and substitute dues, setting retiree dues at $50/year, adding language that recognizes our commitment to racial, social and economic justice, and make other changes as contained in the Draft for CTU House of Delegates 10-4-17? *

* For the Jan. 25 referendum, the term “Draft for CTU House of Delegates 10-4-17” will be replaced with “as printed in the January 2018 edition of the Chicago Union Teacher magazine."

What Teachers Know

by Kim Bellware - chicago magazine  |  December 08, 2017

Every day, parents place more than 392,000 children in the hands of Chicago Public Schools teachers. That’s greater than the population of Tampa, Florida. It’s no surprise, then, that the issues affecting CPS teachers consistently make headlines. But while advocates and policymakers have been vocal in the intense public debates about budget cuts, strikes, school closings, corruption, gang violence, and other hot-button topics, the voices of the teachers themselves are seldom heard.

So Chicago asked 15 CPS instructors to speak, on condition of anonymity, about their jobs. They included blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians. Some were rookies, some veterans. Their students ranged from poor to privileged, and their schools from struggling to prestigious. Among other things, they talked about their best and worst days on the job, the bureaucracy and the rites of passage, what it’s like to see a student graduate and what it’s like to see one killed, and why it’s sometimes best to let a kid sleep in class. A term the teachers commonly used was “firehose”—a way of characterizing the relentless stream of demands from principals and parents. But the conversations also revealed enormous reservoirs of hope and optimism.
Please click here to continue reading at

Notice of Delegate Elections 2018 Delegate Election Vacancies

by Maria Moreno, CTU Financial Secretary  |  December 04, 2017

In accordance with Article VI, Section 3 of the Chicago Teachers Union Constitution and By-Laws, the terms of office of current delegates will end on January 31, 2018. New delegates in all functional categories will be seated at the February House of Delegates meeting on February 7, 2018. Below are the nomination and election procedures established by the Rules-Elections Committee for the 2018 Delegate Elections. The numbers of delegate vacancies were determined based on the formulas provided in Article VI, Sections 2b and 2c of the CTU Constitution and By-Laws using the numbers of members on November 30, 2017:

Regular Members-(1) One Delegate shall be elected for the first twenty regular members. (2) An additional Associate Delegate shall be elected for every forty regular members thereafter in a particular school. (3) Schools with less than twenty members shall be combined to form representational units. A non-voting Delegate shall be elected in each school with less than twenty members. Following their election, an election shall be conducted within the combined unit to determine which Delegate shall be entitled to a vote in the House.

Retired Members-One Delegate shall be elected for each one hundred members.

Teacher Delegates

Election packets with instructions for conducting elections were mailed to current school delegates December 1, 2017. CTU staff will make every effort to find a contact person in buildings without delegates. In schools that are entitled to both Delegates and Associate Delegates, Delegates should be elected first, then the newly elected delegate should conduct the elections for the remaining Associate positions.

Schools may conduct elections upon receipt of the packet or whenever is most convenient for the staff of the particular school. If possible, delegates should bring completed election materials to the January 2018 House of Delegates meeting on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. If this is not possible, packets may be mailed to the CTU. In order to be seated in time for the February House of Delegates meeting, election packets must be postmarked no later than Friday, January 12, 2018 or dropped off in person by 5:00 p.m. on that date. Packets not received by this date will be processed, but we cannot guarantee seating at the February meeting.

Citywide/PSRP/Clinician Delegates

Citywide teacher, PSRP and Clinician delegate nomination forms were mailed on Monday, November 13, 2017. The nomination form was also made available at on the same date.

Paper nominations were taken to ensure accuracy and to move nominations in a timely manner. Each nominator was required to fully complete a nomination form in order to nominate a candidate.

Members who nominated delegates were members of the functional group of the delegate they nominated. Those who second nominations could only do so for members of their own functional group. Members may nominate themselves, but must get a second from another member in good-standing from their functional group. Elections are only being held when there are more candidates than vacancies.

Citywide Delegate ballots will be mailed to members’ homes on Monday, December 18, 2017. Returning ballots must be postmarked by Friday, January 12, 2018 or dropped off in person to the CTU office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018. Citywide ballots will be counted at the CTU office on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Citywide Delegate candidates wishing to mail campaign literature to citywide members may provide stamped and stuffed literature to CTU no later than Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in order for it to be labeled, processed and mailed to members.

Retiree Delegates

Nominations for Retiree Delegates will be taken at the Retiree Luncheon at the Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll Avenue on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:30 p.m. Paper nominations will be taken to ensure accuracy and to move nominations in a timely manner. Members who cannot attend the luncheon may have someone else in the Retiree group make a nomination for them. Nominees need not be present to be nominated. Each nominator will be required to complete a nomination form in order to nominate a candidate. Forms will be available at the nomination meeting and at Nominators must be a member of the functional group for which they are nominating. Those who second nominations may only do so for members of their own functional group.

Retiree Delegate ballots will be mailed on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 to members’ home addresses. Completed ballots must be returned to CTU with a postmark date no later than Wednesday, January 17, 2018 or dropped off in person to the CTU office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018. Retiree Delegate ballots will be counted at the CTU offices on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Retiree Delegate candidates wishing to mail campaign literature to retiree members may provide stamped and stuffed literature to CTU no later than Friday, December 15, 2017 in order for it to be labeled, processed and mailed to members.

2018 Delegate Election Vacancies

New delegates will be seated on February 1, 2018.

Job CategoriesNumber of Open Delegate Positions
Citywide Teacher Position (Social Worker, School Psychologist, Teacher Psychologist Intern, Citywide Teacher, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist) 23
Temporary Teacher Position (Certified Substitute Teacher, Day-to-Day Substitute Teacher, Cadre, Displaced FTB Cadre 101 Days and Displaced FTB Cadre) 9
School Nurse Position 3
Hospital Licensed Practical Nurse Position 2
School Clerk Position (School Clerk Assistant, School Clerk I, Interpreter Clerk, Special Education Support Clerk and School Clerk I-Bilingual Spanish) 21
Computer Tech Position 4
Student Special Needs Program Assistant Position 1
Parent Advocate, Parent Advocate Bilingual Position 1
Guidance Counselor Assistant Position 3
Teacher Assistant Position (School Assistant I & II, School Assistant Bilingual Spanish I & II, School Assistant Bilingual I & II, Teacher Assistant Montessori Program I & II, Educational Sign Language Interpreter I & II, School Social Service Assistant and Instructor Assistant I & II) 31
School Community Representative Position 2
Audio Visual Technicians & Screening Technician Position 1
Health Service Nurses Position 1
Retiree Group Position 33
Youth Intervention Specialist Position 1
Speech Therapist Position 8
Library Assistant Position 1

Commentary: Students win when teachers are supported

by jesse sharkey, dan montgomery  |  December 01, 2017

When Illinois’ Performance Evaluation Review Act was signed into law in 2010, its supporters promised a more accurate way to evaluate teachers, explaining that it couldn’t possibly be true that, as the previous evaluation system indicated, more than 95 percent of teachers were actually doing a good job.

The Illinois State Board of Education recently rolled out the latest Illinois school report cards, and for the first time teacher evaluation ratings based on PERA requirements have been reported in aggregate. According to the state, 97 percent of teachers across Illinois are rated in the top two categories of “proficient” or “excellent.”

But instead of celebrating this achievement and the hard work that teachers do in tough environments every day, some critics are calling for more teachers to be scrutinized and ultimately fired. It seems far more relevant, however, to focus on the very real problems — social and economic — holding back students in districts from Chicago to Cairo.

Please click here to continue reading at

CPS' school closures and charter schemes

by CTU officers  |  November 30, 2017

Greetings, sisters and brothers. First, thank you once again to all of our members for all the tireless work you put in to provide our students with the education they deserve. You are the backbone of this union and the backbone of our schools, and every single success we can point to is built on your hard work and your commitment as education professionals.

We learned today from members that CPS is moving to close all four high schools in Englewood, according to several principals. CPS has scheduled meetings at Hope, Harper, Team Englewood and Robeson Friday morning. We also learned today that CPS plans to approve the Distinctive Schools charter proposal, which seeks to take over Hirsch High School in Greater Grand Crossing. We should also know more on Friday about CPS' plans for NTA, whose school community vigorously opposes CPS' scheme to shutter their school.

Our union staff will be traveling to meet with members in the impacted schools beginning on Friday. There has been NO official layoff notice sent out yet. Under our contract, teachers laid off through school closings go into the CPS reassignment pool -- with one year of pay and benefits. We will fight for the jobs for every one of our members -- and we are conceding nothing in our battle to keep these public schools open. This fight has just begun -- and this battle, like our larger fight against school closings and charter operator expansion, is far from over. These racist policies are deeply unpopular, and the Mayor is politically vulnerable on this issue. We must come together to support our brothers and sisters and their school communities at this pivotal moment.

We've also learned that students currently enrolled in the Englewood schools targeted for closing will NOT be going to the promised shiny new Englewood high school, which has yet to break ground. They will instead be 'invited' to attend school in Gage Park, Hyde Park or whatever other high school they can scramble to get into. In a classic bait-and-switch, Mayor Emanuel and his hand-picked CPS bureacrats flat-out lied to the Englewood community when CPS claimed the proposed new high school was for those students.

The Hirsch/Distinctive Schools charter proposal is equally appalling. Distinctive Schools executives have been connected to a series of failing charter operations, left one Delaware school district over ten million dollars in the red, and were subsequently FIRED by another school district in Florida. We currently have a formal complaint before the CPS Inspector General that documents how profoundly unfit Distinctive Schools is for ANY role in our school system.

We will continue to fight against both these school closings and ANY additional school closings, as well as any and all charter operator expansion -- including charter expansion into Hirsch. And we're renewing our demand for an elected representative school board. There should not be ONE SINGLE school closed while our city's residents are denied the elected, representative school board we have demanded for years. We deserve responsible, democratic oversight of our schools -- not the autocratic control of Mayor Emanuel's political insiders, who 'govern' for the benefit of politically connected contractors, charter operators and developers.

In solidarity,

Jesse Sharkey 
Vice President

Maria Moreno 
Financial Secretary

Michael Brunson 
Recording Secretary

Our city, our racial disparities

by sarah rothschild - education policy analyst  |  November 27, 2017

Corporate education reformers love to harp on the “education gap” between different racial groups as a cause for alarm, focusing on test scores and college graduation rates while blaming teachers for these outcomes. The Chicago Teachers Union, on the other hand, has been arguing that the issues our students and their families face at home and in the community greatly affects their academic outcomes. When this analysis is coupled with an understanding of the vast inequities in access to educational opportunities and funding, and the traumatic effects of school actions, it becomes obvious that structural racism and bad policies are to blame, not “underperforming” teachers.

In a new study published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, “A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report,” the intersectionality of areas of racial inequity that are normally researched and treated in isolation are described in detail, in the hopes of promoting cross-collaboration to find solutions to economic, judicial, housing, health and educational disparities.

The report shows how policy makers can no longer blindly claim that racial disparities are “unintended outcomes”; they are deliberate, pervasive and getting worse. Many of today’s problems are rooted in policies and practices that have been outlawed for decades, but are exacerbated by the failure to address them.



The wage gap is wider today than it was in 1960, even controlling for education and experience, and this situation is specific to Chicago where racial economic disparities are worse than the rest of the country.

Businesses owned by people of color are half as likely to get small business loans, and when they do, they only receive a small amount. This greatly affects not only an individual family’s potential for wealth accumulation, but all of the people who would be employed by that business and the community where the business would be located.


While outright discrimination in selling houses and in mortgage lending (redlining) have been outlawed since the 1970s, free-market capitalism has allowed the discrimination to persist, resulting in major disparities in home ownership in Chicago and across the nation. African-American and Latinx communities were most affected by the recent foreclosure crisis, and we can see that today in the boarded-up buildings surrounding many of our schools deemed “underutilized” by CPS.

Chicago is nearly evenly split between home owners and renters (48 percent to 52 percent, respectively), but the gap widens significantly for Latinx (43 percent to 57 percent) and even more so for African-American residents (34 percent to 66 percent). African-American and Latinx households are also significantly more rental cost-burdened, with more than half paying more than the recommended 30 percent of their income on housing.

Research has shown that when children go to integrated schools, they are more likely to grow up and live in integrated families and integrated communities. The hyper-segregation of Chicago’s communities, however, results in hyper-segregated schools. Black, white and Latinx residents that were interviewed by researchers claimed that they wanted to live in integrated communities, yet that is not where they looked for housing and it is not where they ended up choosing to live.


Civil rights era activism and legislation from the 1960s, coupled with (or fueled by) the explosion of suburban growth and expansion of private schools, led to massive white flight from Chicago Public Schools. In 1970, one third of the student population was white; today, it is less than 10%.

Superintendent Benjamin Willis (of the infamous “Willis Wagons,” which were subpar mobile classroom units provided for overcrowded Black schools in the 1950s and 1960s) defended de facto segregation by saying that kids should attend schools in their neighborhoods. When his successor took office, he pushed for desegregation and the white families fled, resulting in a 50 percent drop in white student enrollment.

By now, we should know that separate is never equal. The racial and socioeconomic segregation of CPS schools shows that students of color have less access to educational opportunities than their white counterparts. Black students have the least access to art and music. Most of the capital improvement dollars in the last six years have gone towards new buildings or additions in schools with disproportionate numbers of white students. White students are also disproportionately represented in gifted programs, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. Black students were given in-school and out-of-school suspensions at significantly higher rates than Latinx and white students, and the statistics are even worse for expulsion rates.


There is a new, devastating result of the disproportionate incarceration of Black residents: “million dollar blocks.” Scholars coined this term to express the economic cost of incarceration on a census block of a neighborhood. Between 2005 and 2009, $550 million was spent on incarcerating residents in the Austin community alone, money that should have been spent on education, training, job creation, housing assistance and health care.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently published a report on police misconduct in the Chicago Police Department and deemed it the worst in the nation, stating that racial discrimination permeates the department, from training to supervision. Seventy-six percent pf people who were victims of excessive use of force in the last five years are Black, and 83 percent of youth who experienced excessive use of force by the CPD are Black, while 14 percent are Latinx. Chicago had the highest rate of fatal police shootings in the nation and two-thirds of the victims are Black. Between 2004 and 2013, police misconduct cost Chicago taxpayers $425 million in lawsuits and victim compensation—money that should have gone to public services.


Health inequalities are increasing in Chicago. African-American and Latinx residents have less access to health insurance and health education, and as a result participate in unhealthy behaviors (smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise) more than white residents. People of color in Chicago tend to live in “food deserts,” meaning there are not any grocery stores within walking distance from their homes, and they have less access to safe and affordable housing and transportation.

White women have higher incidences of breast cancer, but a lower mortality rate than Black women. In five predominantly Black communities, more than 40 percent of women with breast cancer do not survive; the rate increases to more than 50 percent in three of those communities. Infant mortality is three times higher for African-American children than for white children. Low birth weight, which affects a person’s life trajectory and health outcomes, affects African-American children the most due to the fact that Black mothers have the least access to pre-natal care. Lead exposure, which causes learning disabilities, is highest in Black communities.

To be the best we can be, CTU members should understand how these socio-economic inequities affect their students and school communities. Understanding the multitude of barriers and obstacles Chicago students and their families face helps us to advocate for just solutions.

A contract companion

by kathe myers - richardson elementary  |  November 23, 2017

Every day, questions come up for which you need a quick answer. But as teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians, we barely have time to go to the restroom, much less make a phone call or check a website! This handy-dandy pamphlet should answer your most common questions, saving you time and worry. The contract articles and best contact people are included for reference and further inquiry. (An asterisk denotes a change or new provision in the 2015-19 Agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education.)

1-12 Professional Problems Committees (PPC) shall discuss school operations, contract issues and any new Board of Education instructional programs or initiatives.

4-9 Late Arrival or Early Departure: More than one-fourth and less than three-fourths is considered one half day, and three-fourths or more of the regular working day is considered a full day.

*5-1 Lunch and prep scheduling: Teachers’ lunch is not scheduled before the first student lunch period and not after the last student lunch period; no more than 296 minutes of instruction, 15 minutes of non-classroom supervision and 60 minutes of continuous preparation time per day; and four days of continuous duty-free preparation time self-directed each week, with one day each week principal-directed.

*5-10 Professional Development Activities: The PPLC (Professional Personnel Leadership Committee), or in its absence the PPC, shall develop and present recommendations to the principal and the Local School Council on professional development.

7-6 Supply Money: the Board shall reimburse teachers, counselors, clinicians and speech-language para-educators up to $250 for instructional supplies and materials, classroom library books and therapeutic materials purchased by them for student instruction and support. Principals and head administrators shall approve reimbursements in accordance with the procedures developed by Board, and paid by the end of the semester in which the receipts were submitted.

13-3 Activity Calendars: Each school shall develop a schedule of activities for the first five months, other than class field trips, no later than September 30 and for the second five months no later than February 1.

*21-14 Individualized Education Program meetings: may be scheduled before, during or after the school day. Bargaining unit employees required to attend such meetings before or after the school day shall be paid their regular instructional hourly rates of pay.

21-16 Principals may use Cadre substitute teachers to provide release time to special education teachers for the purpose of completing Individualized Education Programs.

25-2 Vacation and Holidays: Teachers and PSRPs on a 208-paid day academic calendar will be scheduled for 190 work days (including 10 professional development days if applicable), 10 paid vacation days and eight paid holidays.

26-1 Personal Days: On July 1, the Board shall award active full-time employees three paid personal days for use during the fiscal year to attend to the employee’s personal business (PB). Personal days unused upon separation from employment or on June 30 of each fiscal year shall be forfeited.

26-2 Prorated Days for New Employees: Employees who are staffed after Sept. 30will have their PB days prorated for the first year.

26-3 Employees may use personal days on three successive days. There is no prohibition on use of PB days before or after a holiday.

27-4 Sick Days: Teachers shall report their anticipated absences to the substitute center as early as possible. Teachers shall also report their anticipated absences to the school no later than their reporting time. If the teachers cannot report because the telephone lines are busy or similar such occurrences, the teachers shall report as soon as possible. (Note: A doctor’s note is not required until the employee has taken four consecutive sick days.)

27-5 Missed Preps: Whenever a teacher’s duty-free professional preparation period is canceled, the principal shall schedule a make-up duty-free professional preparation period for that teacher by the end of the next academic quarter, or by the last day of teacher attendance that school year. If cancelled self-directed preparation periods are not made up in accordance with this Article, they shall be considered lost. The Board shall pay the teacher for the lost preparation period at his/her regular hourly rate.

32-1 Benefits: The Board shall provide the applicable coverage for teachers and other bargaining unit employees granted a leave for illness in the family which restricts the duration of said leave to five school months without extension. The Board shall provide the applicable coverage for teachers and other bargaining unit employees granted a Parental Leave of Absence for a maximum of five calendar months. The Board shall provide medical, prescription drug, mental health, dental and vision benefits, flexible spending accounts, life and personal accident insurance and a savings and retirement program.

35-4 Transfer Period: Teachers may transfer effective the second semester of the school year without the consent of their current principal only when the Talent Office receives the administrative transfer request signed by the receiving principal between 75 and 30 calendar days prior to the conclusion of the first semester of the school year.

36-11 Hourly Rate: Any bargaining unit employee employed in an after-school program in a non-instructional capacity shall be compensated at the rate of $39.90 for the 2017-2018 school year. Any bargaining unit employee employed in an after-school program in an instructional capacity shall be compensated at the rate of $46.46 for the 2017-2018 school year.

36-14 Over Average Salary Makeup: The Board shall augment school budgets at those schools with higher-than-average teacher salaries. On March 1 of each year, the Board shall calculate the district-wide average cost of all staffed teacher positions that are funded with student-based budgeting (SBB) or its equivalent, and then calculate the average cost of staffed SBB teachers for each school. If this average cost at any school exceeds the district-wide average, the school will receive a teacher salary adjustment.

37-3 Sick Day Bank: Sick days awarded on and after July 1, 2012, that remain unused at the end of the fiscal year may be rolled over for future use up to a maximum of 40 days and may be used: as sick days or for purposes of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act; to supplement the short-term disability pay in days 31 through 90 to reach 100 percent income during such period; or for pension service credit upon retirement. Sick days accumulated under this Section shall be utilized prior to sick days in the “retained sick day bank.” Bargaining unit employees shall retain any bank of unused sick days that the bargaining unit employee accumulated prior to July 1, 2012, in a “retained sick day bank.” Employees may use days from their retained sick day bank for the purposes set forth in Article 37-3. Up to 325 retained sick days earned from Board employment prior to July 1, 2012, and left unused in the retained sick day bank at the employee’s resignation, retirement or death shall be paid out at the employee’s rate of pay at the time of the employee’s separation.

37-6 Sick Day Donation: Employees may donate up to 10 sick days from their sick day banks to another employee who is suffering from a serious medical condition and who is on an approved leave of absence. An employee receiving a donation of sick days may not receive more than 45 days of sick leave and may only receive a donation once during his or her employment with the Board.

*39-2 Evaluation: Each teacher shall be evaluated annually or biennially as “excellent,” “proficient,” “developing” (state law equivalent is “need improvement”) or “unsatisfactory” by a qualified evaluator in accordance with this Article and the teacher evaluation plan. Tenured teachers who are rated in the lower half of developing (a score of 210 to 250) in two consecutive ratings periods shall be rated unsatisfactory, unless in the second year the teacher’s professional practice score is proficient or better.

40-4 Teaching Schedule: Where administratively possible, no teacher shall have more than three consecutive teaching periods.

40-8 Grade Level Change: In the event a teacher is programmed to teach a grade level or content area that he or she has not taught in the last four school years, upon request of the teacher, the principal shall explain why the change was made and work with the teacher to develop a relevant professional development plan.

*44-30 Lesson Planning: Principals and/or network administrators shall not require that teachers submit separate unit and lesson plans. Special education teachers who are working in a co-teaching setting or not providing direct instruction shall supplement the general education teacher’s unit or lesson plan, and shall not be required to submit a separate unit or lesson plan.

*44-33 Gradebook: Teachers shall determine the number, type, weighting and frequency of student assignments and tests or other assessments that are used to determine individual course grades.

Hopefully, this will make your teaching life just a bit easier. If you have questions, contact your CTU field representative at

Kathe Myers is a teacher at Richardson Elementary and former CTU delegate.

CTU-ChiACTS unification F.A.Q.

by ctu officers  |  November 21, 2017

Why unify with the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers (ChiACTS) and Staff Local 4343, and what would be the implications?

Unification would mean that Chicago Teachers Union members and ChiACTS members both vote to become one merged union. Neither CTU nor ChiACTS contracts would change with their employers, but ChiACTS would continue as a division within the CTU.

A unified organization would also mean that both unionized CTU members and unionized charter school members would all be members of the same union—CTU Local 1—even though we have different contracts.

Why are we even discussing unification?

Unifying would support the growth of unions in every charter school in Chicago and build up the level of benefits in charter union contracts to match, then help raise, the level of benefits in the CTU contract, which sets the standard for the city.

A merged union would also allow us to use our collective power politically as a movement to advance public education and benefit the students and working families we serve. For example, prior to the establishment of Richardson Elementary, a traditional, public school in the Midway area, the school had been slated to become a charter before we helped to organize a union in the UNO charter school network. Advocacy and efforts to organize unions in charter schools have slowed the momentum of privatization, and will help stop future school closings.

Additionally, the collective effort of both unions has inspired other non-union charter teachers and paraprofessionals to organize unions and even prepare for strikes. At Passages, UNO, ASPIRA and now Noble, educators are standing up for themselves and their classrooms, united, in greater numbers.

How could unification happen?

Eighty-four percent of ChiACTS members have already voted to join the CTU. Now it is the CTU’s turn to vote and decide whether or not to accept our brothers and sisters in the charter local into our union.  

Why now?

There is more power in greater solidarity to organize new schools, raise the level of benefits in our contracts and win changes that benefit our students and our profession. Also, in an increasingly union-hostile and rapidly changing political environment, unification would mean the extra security needed to accomplish ambitious goals. We all need smaller class sizes, more investment in our classrooms and wraparound supports. We all benefit when we are not pitted against each other, but when we act on our shared interests.

What would change for CTU members and ChiACTS members?

Not much. ChiACTS would retain its internal council structure and its contract with each employer. ChiACTS would begin to elect representatives from its councils as representatives to the CTU’s House of Delegates and Executive Board. In the event that we unify, ChiACTS would still have separate contracts from those of us who work for Chicago Public Schools. State law prohibits our bargaining units—those who work for CPS and those who work for charter networks—from being under a single contract. State law does not, however, prohibit us from being in the same union.

What are the benefits of unification for CTU members?

When ChiACTS members organize unions and expand membership, they negotiate a contract and move tax revenue out of management’s hands and into the classroom in the form of dedicated resources for students and educator salaries. This decreases the financial incentive for charter proliferation, which has caused decreased enrollment, the greatest number of school closings in Chicago’s history, budget cuts and layoffs at the majority of schools in the last decade.

Also, when a growing number of charter teachers in the city earn substantially less than our members, it is harder for the CTU to negotiate wage increases in our contract. All educators in Chicago benefit when all educators in Chicago have a union voice to defend and uplift the working conditions in all schools.

When could a ratification vote of each local take place?

In October or November of the 2017-18 school year.

If approved, would ChiACTS members vote for CTU officers?

Yes. They would have the ability to vote for both officers and CTU Executive Board members, as well as run for those offices and positions in CTU elections in 2019 and beyond.

How would this affect CTU financially?

Full-time ChiACTS dues are currently $717 per year, and will rise in the coming months to better approximate the amount of dues that CTU members currently pay. CTU would see an increase in number of members and associated revenue.

I thought we were supposed to hate charter schools?

ChiACTS members are educators who care for the same population of young people as we do. Our policy criticisms of charter proliferation and models of school governance, privatization, lack of transparency, instability in our school system, school closings and turnarounds, union-hostility, and decreasing union density in Chicago schools are shared by most ChiACTS members. Together, we can better fight any efforts to dismantle public education and pit unionized charter teachers against unionized district teachers.

The CTU and ChiACTS have done a lot of common policy, legislative and political work within the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, especially over the past six years. We are working together in campaigns to fight special education cuts and defend immigrant students, and our fates have often been tied together. In fact, the CTU has been a key partner, along with the IFT and AFT, in resourcing and helping to strategize unionization drives within charter schools throughout the last decade. Coming together in one union, like they have in New York and Los Angeles, would be the natural next step in our work on this effort.

A vote for unification would be a hugely significant act that allows all Chicago educators to speak with one voice and engage in a powerful form of solidarity to defend and advance our schools, public education and the needs of all the students and families we serve.

Chicago Teachers Union