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September 2012, Week 2

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Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 10 Sep 2012 00:52:32 -0400
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1. Chicago Teachers May Strike, Teach Political Lesson (NPR)
2. The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve (Chicago Teachers Union)
3. Donate to the CTU Strike Fund (link)


Chicago Teachers May Strike, Teach Political Lesson
by BECKY VEVEA

September 9, 2012 from WBEZ 

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/09/160821554/chicago-teachers-may-strike-teach-political-lesson

Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to
walk off the job Monday if they don't have a contract
by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to
help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago
teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.

On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and
students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower
Expressway, holding signs that read, "Honk if you
support teachers." Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who
has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.

"We're here because we know this makes not just an
impact on our city, but nationally," she says.

Parents like Gutierrez and others, who support the
teachers union, are up against a school district and a
mayor who have a very different idea about what the
public schools should look like.

In the contract battle between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and
the Chicago Teachers Union, the two sides are furiously
campaigning for public opinion as the city braces for
the first teacher strike since 1987.

Emanuel is pushing for big changes: a longer school day
and year, a new system for evaluating teachers and a
whole new way to pay teachers. At the Democratic
National Convention last week, he defended many of his
reforms.

"For the first time in a decade, [students are] getting
a very rigorous academic standard," he said. "For the
first time, we're getting five new high schools all
dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math.
Six thousand more kids are going to magnet schools.
We're making major changes."

The union wants Emanuel to pay teachers more for what
amounts to more work.

Teachers are also pushing back on some reforms that the
mayor didn't tout at the DNC. They want smaller class
sizes, more art and music, and job protection when the
district shuts down low-performing schools and opens
privately run charter schools, which are not typically
unionized.

Steven Ashby, a labor professor at the University of
Illinois, says a strike in Chicago could present
problems for President Obama's re-election.

"He will win Illinois delegates in the November
election, but nevertheless, the last thing he wants is
the Republican Party talking about how teachers are on
strike in Chicago," West says.

It's also a big gamble for the union. Ashby says the
outcome in Chicago could affect the future of organized
labor at a time when membership is down and public
sector unions are struggling.

Back at the overpass, parent Jennifer Biggs agrees with
what the union is fighting for, but says there really
is no political candidate supporting those goals.

"The Democrats and the Republicans seem to be on the
same page with education, which to me is terribly
scary," she says. "I just think they're really going to
lose some votes, or a lot of people might even just
stay home."

Picket lines are scheduled to start Monday morning, if
the two sides can't reach a deal by 11:59 p.m.



The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve

Research-based Proposals to Strengthen Elementary
and Secondary Education in the Chicago Public Schools

by The Chicago Teachers Union

http://www.ctunet.com/quest-center/research/the-schools-chicagos-students-deserve

The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve is a new Chicago
Teachers Union study which argues in favor of proven
educational reforms to dramatically improve the
education of more than 400,000 students in a district
of 675 schools.

These reforms are desperately needed and can lead
Chicago towards the worldclass educational system its
students deserve.  Our study presents 46 pages of
research-based details on the following 10 essential
recommendations:

1. Recognize That Class Size Matters:  Drastically
reduce class size.  We currently have one of the
largest class sizes in the state.  This greatly
inhibits the ability of our students to learn and
thrive.

2. Educate The Whole Child:  Invest to ensure that all
schools have recess and physical education equipment,
healthy food offerings, and classes in art, theater,
dance, and music in every school.  Offer world
languages and a variety of subject choices.  Provide
every school with a library and assign the commensurate
number of librarians to staff them.

3. Create More Robust Wrap-around Services:  The
Chicago Public Schools system (CPS) is far behind
recommended staffing levels suggested by national
professional associations.  The number of school
counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists
must increase dramatically to serve Chicago’s
population of low-income students.  Additionally,
students who cannot afford transportation costs need
free fares.

4. Address Inequities In Our System:  Students and
their families recognize the apartheid-like system
managed by CPS.  It denies resources to the
neediest schools, uses discipline policies with a
disproportionate harm on students of color, and enacts
policies that increase the concentrations of
students in high poverty and racially segregated
schools.

5. Help Students Get Off To A Good Start:  We need to
provide ageappropriate (not test-driven) education in
the early grades.  All students should have access to
pre-kindergarten and to full-day kindergarten.

6. Respect And Develop The Professionals:  Teachers
need salaries comparable to others with their education
and experience.  They need time to adequately plan
their lessons and collaborate with colleagues, as
well as the autonomy and shared decision-making to
encourage professional judgment.  CPS needs to hire
more teaching assistants so that no students fall
through the cracks.

7. Teach All Students:  We need stronger commitments to
address the disparities that exist due to our lack of
robust programs for emergent bilingual students and
services for students faced with a variety of special
needs.

8. Provide Quality School Facilities:  No more leaky
roofs, asbestos-lined bathrooms, or windows that refuse
to shut.  Students need to be taught in facilities that
are well-maintained and show respect for those who work
and go to school there.

9. Partner With Parents:  Parents are an integral part
of a child’s education.  They need to be encouraged and
helped in that role.

10. Fully Fund Education:  A country and city that can
afford to take care of its affluent citizens can afford
to take care of those on the other end of the income
scale.  There is no excuse for denying students the
essential services they deserve.

For more information contact the Chicago Teachers Union
at 312-329-9100 or read the entire report on our
website at www.ctunet.com/Deserve

Support Chicago Teachers:

https://afl.salsalabs.com/o/4013/c/468/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=7204

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