PSAT for 9-4-12: Be, see role models

For this “traditional” first day of school, some teachable moments courtesy of excellent role models:

Back in 1989, Chicago became a national model for school reform, thanks in part to the late Don Moore, PURE and many others who helped craft the Chicago School Reform law creating local school councils.

Then we became a model for what NOT to do in school reform when the mayor took control of the schools in 1995, hiring a non-educator as CEO of the schools.

Well, we’re back!

Public education supporters all over the world are watching Chicago’s courageous, unified teachers’ union and the strong parent, student and community support spearheaded by such groups as Parents 4 Teachers and KOCO.

They know that if we can do it, they can do it.

Here’s what Parents4Teachers has on tap for this week.

P4T Banner Day Friday Sept. 7

On the eve of a potential strike, we want to have a visible presence across the city showing the breadth of support for our teachers. We’ll be at key locations from 4 – 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, with banners and leaflets–talking to Chicagoans about what’s at stake in the contract battle and urging them to support the teachers. We’re targeting 10 different, high visibility locations and will need 50 people to make this action a success. Please join us!

Email to get involved.

Call CPS every Thursday until teachers win a fair contract!

We flooded central office with calls last week–several people reported the number was “our of order” when they called. Let’s do it again this Thursday and every Thursday until the board offers a contract that benefits teachers and students. Call CPS CEO J.C. Brizard at 773-553-1500. Tell him you support the teachers’ contract demands for:

Smaller classes
1. A better, not just longer, day
2. More social services, counselors and nurses for our schools
3. Job security and fair compensation for teachers

Teachers’ needs and our children’s needs go hand in hand. With parents and teachers united, we can win the schools our children deserve!

Call 773-553-1500 and make your voice heard!

Host a parent/teacher meeting at your home or school

Parents have a lot of questions about the contract dispute and, if you just listened to the media, you’d think it’s only about money. In fact, it’s about so much more. The teachers–and the CTU–are fighting for the things that matter most in our schools. Good working conditions for teachers are good learning conditions for our kids.

Host a meeting at your home or school to help your friends, family and neighbors understand what’s really at stake and brainstorm ways we can all make a difference at this critical time.

Contact and we’ll help facilitate the meeting and make a presentation.

Parent pressure on the board is the key to avoiding a strike and winning a fair contract for our teachers and quality schools for our kids. We all need to stay informed and involved.

Please share this email with your friends!


And here’s an event you should plan to attend: a forum with another great role model, Jonathan Kozol.

S A V E     T H E      D A T E !

Author Jonathan Kozol to speak in Chicago September 27th. The event is free and open to the public but we recommend that you reserve a seat here.

Urban public schools and teachers who serve children in poverty are under attack. So argues activist author Jonathan Kozol. There is a profound connection, he insists, between urban poverty, racism and educational neglect. Kozol, author of a series of notable books about the conditions of children in urban America, will speak in Chicago on September 27.  He will address the current, unprecedented assault on public education and on public school teachers.

Jonathan Kozol’s new book is Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America. In this volume, Kozol reconnects with some of the children his readers first met in  Rachel and Her Children (1988), Amazing Grace (1996), Savage Inequalities (1991) and Shame of the Nation (2006) and his other works documenting the social and educational conditions facing urban children. Kozol argues that as a society, we must judge ourselves by the way we treat our children–particularly our poorest children–and that public schools are a critical anchor in a democratic society. He describes vividly the resilient and curious spirits of children growing up in adversity; he asks that we examine the priorities of our society which has seized upon their public schools as a profit center, instead of a sheltering, supportive center of learning.

A book signing by the author will follow the talk. Mr. Kozol’s new book will be available for purchase at the event.


Date:  Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 6 pm. (Doors open at 5 pm).

Location: Thorne Auditorium of Northwestern University Law School, 375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL

Hosted by the Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern University Law School.

Sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union, CReATE, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), Raise Your Hand Coalition

Free registration here.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.