Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Teachers Union’

“Give it a rest, Rahm”: Great Sun-Times letter by PURE member

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Yesterday’s Sun-Times carried this to-the-point letter from PURE member and active mom Linda Hudson:

Dear Mr. Mayor: It is far too early to be campaigning for re-election. Stop the commercials and radio ads already. Tell your rich hedge-fund friends to use the money spent on these misleading commercials to help the children of Chicago. You know, those kids whose parents can’t afford the Lab School. Show the children of Chicago you truly have their best interest at heart by forging a relationship with the CTU and draw a line in the sand and play fair.

Linda Hudson, Avalon Park

Guess what? Parents see through the hype

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

With all of the millions being spent on charter school, anti-teacher and parent trigger propaganda these days, it’s a wonder we poor parents can keep our heads on straight!

But we seem to be doing it.

Check out this quote from the Sun-Times this morning:

Blanca Hernandez, whose son Octavio is a fourth-grader at Greeley Elementary in Lake View, said she wanted him back in school but felt the teachers needed to take a stand against what she sees as the dangerous encroachment of charter schools.

“All of this is about the future of the kids,” she said. “Education is the most important thing for our country. I feel like charter schools are going toward privatized schools. I don’t like that.”

And how about our kids?

Amundsen senior Maame Atta-Krah, 17, said she closely followed the news coverage of the strike and supported the walkout.

“I felt what the teachers needed for them was for us as well,” she said. “I feel there is too much emphasis on” standardized testing.

and this student…

Danielle Geronimo, 16, an Amundsen junior, greeted the school day with “mixed emotions.”

“It’s nice that we get to continue junior year but it’s really hard to wake up in the morning,” she said. She said the teachers on the picket line were right to be concerned about large class sizes.

“They’re saying classes are really big and they are,” she said.

I have a newsflash for Stand for Children, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, DFER and the rest of the  corporate reform crowd – you can’t buy this kind of support (try as you might).

Parent: “I think there was some frustration but at least in my family, we understood this had to get resolved,” Heltzer said. “We love Waters (school).”

Student: “I really missed all of my old classmates. Plus we have the best teacher in school.”

It’s pretty obvious who doesn’t get it and who does.

PSAT for 9-18-12: Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

It has been a wild few days in Chicago. I was away for most of the time and got my news from a combination of WGN and the local Phoenix stations and newspaper.

It was clear that the local story was incredibly rich and the national story was incredibly thin.

National news fixated on how much Chicago teachers make, and how many students drop out. I had to tweet sharply to ABC News for claiming that Chicago charter schools are better than traditional schools.

When I got back and read all the local papers, I was astonished at the depth and breadth of the coverage. You’d think education had something to do with sports! Every columnist seemed chimed in, and some of them were actually saying some reasonable things.

So, while we wait with fingers crossed for a good outcome (whatever that means to you beyond having our children back in school), take some time to look back at the remarkable week when Chicago’s media, Chicago as a city actually meaningfully talked together about education.

Educators oppose test score-based teacher evaluation

Monday, September 17th, 2012


Media Release:
For Immediate Distribution

Contact information:
Isabel Nunez, Professor, Concordia University Chicago,, 708-209-3518
Erica Meiners, Professor, Northeastern Illinois University,, 773-816-6561

Chicago, IL.  As the Chicago Teachers Union begins the second week of
their strike, some political leaders and media commentators are quick to
blame teachers for resisting a system for evaluating teachers that other
states and school districts across the country have already adopted.

But the research is clear: student test scores and “value added measures”
are neither valid nor reliable for evaluating teachers.  Half a year ago, a
network of 88 education professors from 16 universities in the Chicago
area, called CReATE (Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for
Transformative Education), issued (an) open letter, explaining
why this evaluation system is neither research-based nor beneficial to our
city’s children.  CReATE is re-releasing this open letter, and urges
public debate, policy decisions, and contract negotiations to draw on
such research expertise.

Teachers may win more than better contract

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

The Sun-Times quotes me suggesting that the possibly-winding-up strike will have at least one positive outcome beyond whatever contractual benefits are won —  higher morale for teachers who have been under relentless attack from Hollywood, Bill Gates, Rahm, astroturfers, Republican candidates, etc:

“I think the children are going to benefit from teachers who are newly invigorated and excited about the work that they do. It’s not just that they have been able to come together as a profession; they’ve seen the outpouring of support from parents and students and other community members that I think has really lifted them up, and I think they’ll take that into the classroom when they come back.”

Fingers crossed.

Quote in Christian Science Monitor story on Karen Lewis

Friday, September 14th, 2012

“She comes from a place of understanding what it really takes to educate children, especially in Chicago.”

Full story here.

PSAT for 9-11-12: Stand up and fight for our democracy

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

It’s the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. We fought back then (in a sort of convoluted way) because we felt that our freedom and way of life were threatened.

Of course, not all threats to our freedom and way of life come from terrorists dropping out of the skies.

One of the most insidious threats to our democracy, our freedom, and our way of life is coming from wealthy hedge funders and billionaire education hobbyists who are trying to break up public employee unions, “blow up” public schools, sell them to the private sector, and replace real learning with online test prep.

Who is powerful enough to stand up to those who are hip deep in school takeovers?

It is beginning to look as though the Chicago Teachers Union, allied with Chicago parents, students and community groups, are powerful enough to make a good start.

Here’s a Sun-Times quote to give us hope from the estimable political scholar Dick Simpson,

“Rahm didn’t have those unions the first time, and he didn’t need them. But, he may need them in future elections because money may not be enough to control the election, particularly under new state fund-raising rules and the $5,000 limit on contributions from PAC’s or individuals. You can’t run the city with just business support. You need unions and the public.” (emphasis added)

So, for Public Schools Action Tuesday today, do whatever you can to support the CTU. March with them. Send them a pizza. Call City Hall to demand a fair contract. Tell your friends in Chicago and around the nation why you support our teachers – why their fight is our fight.

Be a part of history.

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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.