Never let it be said that the Chicago Teachers Union is meek, mild, or fearful. They speak with courage and stand up to the powerful.
January 7, 2016 312/329-6250 (office)
Chicago’s teachers vote overwhelming to officially call for the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez
CHICAGO –The Chicago Teachers Union ‘s (CTU) governing body voted overwhelming this past Wednesday evening to support efforts to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign from public service. This resounding call for justice came during the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting as growing local and national pressure for the mayor to “step down” intensifies in wake of the Laquan McDonald alleged 400-day cover-up conspiracy. School leaders made their views known through a resolution.
President Karen Lewis will discuss the Union’s position during her remarks at the CTU’s Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Breakfast, on Friday, January 15th at 9 a.m. at 2260 S. Grove Street. The special guest speaker will be outspoken scholar and Ferguson, MO, activist Rev. Osagyefo U. Sekou. The event is free and open to the public.
This week’s official support to remove the mayor from power should come as no surprise. Teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians have been vocal about Emanuel’s failed leadership of the school district and are petitioning state officials for an elected representative school board. In addition, educators are currently in roller coaster-style contract negotiations with the mayor’s hand-picked Board of Education. The Union also actively campaigned against Emanuel’s re-election which resulted in the embattled politician entering a run-off in the general election. Soon after winning-re-election in April, Rahm’s school chief Barbara Byrd Bennett was convicted of ripping off school students by benefitting from no-bid contracts.
Fed up with the attacks on their profession, CPS educators recently approved its second strike authorization since Emanuel took office in 2010. Teachers have said if the mayor’s handpicked CEO Forest Claypool continues to gut public education, fire veteran teachers and hurt students, they will withhold their labor– like they did in 2012– in order to fight for the school district their students deserve.
The HOD resolution reads:
“WHEREAS, for the past five years Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made a myriad of economic disinvestments and financial mismanagements that have resulted in the infliction of educational, psychological, and physical harm to Chicago’s public schools and working-class neighborhoods; and
“WHEREAS, during his first term in office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, by means of his hand-picked unelected school board, closed an historic 50 public neighborhood schools in predominately Black and Latino communities; despite strong student, parent, community and CTU opposition; and
“WHEREAS, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has failed to support an education system that provides schools with the necessary resources to deliver robust wrap around services (such as counselors, nurses, social workers, PSRPs, and psychologists); fully-staffed libraries; reduced class sizes; and clean and safe learning conditions; and
“WHEREAS, in April 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, against vehement community opposition, elected to close six of the City’s 12 mental health clinics resulting in 2,798 patients losing critical services; and
“WHEREAS, Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to mismanage Chicagoans’ tax dollars by diverting public funds meant for blighted communities, that also can be used to fully fund our public neighborhood schools, to wealthy corporations; and
“WHEREAS, these economic disinvestments and financial mismanagements made under the leadership of Rahm Emanuel contributed to the shocking and inexcusable murder of LaQuan McDonald, a 17 year old boy suffering from severe psychological trauma, whose fate may have been altered had his mental health needs been met both in and out of school; and
“WHEREAS, Chicago and the nation continues to learn about police cover-ups, and the deliberate political maneuverings of Mayor Rahm Emanuel surrounding the October 20, 2014 death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times by uniformed Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who has since been indicted of first-degree murder; and
“WHEREAS, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel not only pushed for and approved the Chicago City Council to pass a $5-million-dollar settlement to the family of Laquan McDonald, but also fought for the better part of a year, spending hundreds of thousands on legal fees to block the release of the police dashboard camera video of the fatal shooting, until a Cook County judge ruled on November 19, 2015 that this violated the state’s open records law and ordered the video to be released to the public; and
“WHEREAS, both Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel orchestrated and intentionally delayed the release of these videos apparently for their own political gains in order to secure victory in their 2015 re-election bids; and
“WHEREAS, the actions of both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez impeded the criminal justice system, and in the process has led to the erosion of public trust and confidence in their leadership; and the only way to restore this trust is with their resignations; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the CTU support demands that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez resign immediately from public office for the unconscionable delay of their governmental institutions in addressing Laquan McDonald’s killing and other issues of excessive, unwarranted, unjustified, and lethal police force in the City of Chicago that have surfaced in the aftermath; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the CTU support demands for a public review of the incident’s cover-up by a civilian police accountability council; the creation of policies to prevent such cover-ups from happening in the future; a ban on the training or arming of local police by military institutions; and new training for the Chicago Police Department that emphasizes non-lethal ways for de-escalating the situation at hand; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the CTU work with Illinois State Representatives La Shawn Ford, Mary Flowers and other state legislators to pass House Bill 4356, which seeks to amend the Revised Cities and Villages Act of 1941 by establishing a procedure for an election recall for the Mayor of the City of Chicago.