Archives for the month of: October, 2019

In a thoughtful article, Matt Barnum writes in Chalkbeat that Betsy DeVos used the disappointing results of the NAEP 2019 national tests to call for her “Education Freedom” plan, which would further disinvest in public schools and divert funding from the federal government, states, and local school districts to charters and vouchers.

Barnum writes:

But the call for more school choice — which, alongside deregulation of education at the federal level, DeVos has rebranded as “education freedom” — in response to stagnant test scores is certain to spur debate.

Research has generally found that charter schools perform comparably to district schools on state exams, with those in cities performing better and online charters performing worse. There is some evidence linking the growth of charter schools in cities to rising test scores across the board.

But recent studies on three voucher programs that subsidize private school tuition have shown that they reduce test scores in math. (DeVos has previously blamed over-regulation for Louisiana’s results.) In D.C., voucher recipients did about the same as public school students test-score wise, according to a recent study.

He added:

A number of studies have found that tougher test-based accountability rules, including No Child Left Behind, raised NAEP scores in math. Another recent studyfound evidence that the introduction of the Common Core standards reduced NAEP achievement.

Two studies have also linked more resources for schools to higher NAEP scores — though DeVos suggested otherwise Wednesday.

“Over the past 30 years, per-pupil spending has skyrocketed,” she said. “A massive increase in spending to buy flatlined achievement.”

One study showed that school finance reforms that resulted in more money boosted scores, and another found that education cuts in the wake of the Great Recession led to lower scores.

One undeniable fact is that the two lowest-scoring cities in the nation on the NAEP–Detroit and Milwaukee–have extensive choice. Detroit has loads of charter schools, and Milwaukee has charter schools and vouchers. If choice is the answer, as DeVos claims, it certainly has not helped these two cities.

To someone who has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Despite any evidence to the contrary, Betsy DeVos will push the same agenda that she has pushed for the past thirty years: school choice. It doesn’t raise test scores, it intensifies segregation, it defunds the community’s public schools, but DeVos doesn’t care. She wants public money to go to religious schools, corporate charter chains, for-profit schools, online schools, homeschooling. That’s her agenda, and nothing will persuade her otherwise.



This is a strong statement by Randi Weingarten. Please note that 10% of New York City’s public school students are homeless; students in many other districts suffer trauma, including homelessness, lack of access to medical care and basic nutrition, and inadequate housing. These figures should be appended to NAEP reports in the future.


AFT President Randi Weingarten’s Statement on NAEP Report Card

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Report Card:


“What we see in this data snapshot, while disappointing, is not surprising: Our students are still bearing the brunt of two decades of austerity, competition and test-based fixation that have failed to prioritize the needs of students, including the 90 percent of kids who attend public schools. Twenty-one states still spend less on public education than before the Great Recession, and during this decade of disinvestment there has been little to no change in either the math or reading performance of our highest-risk students.


“What the survey data doesn’t tell us in detail is why. Almost half of America’s kids have trauma, and they’re going to school in classrooms without nurses and counselors. For years, we’ve been advocating that children need comprehensive social and emotional supports so they’re able to engage in meaningful learning in safe and welcoming environments. It’s vital to meet kids where they are and to do what evidence shows works for improving student well-being and achievement.


“Since the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act just four years ago, some states and districts have started stepping up to the plate to use evidence-based strategies that are tailored to their communities, and we’re already seeing incremental gains in high school graduation rates. So why stop now, when our work is just starting to pay off? Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos ignores the real issues that plague our classrooms and student achievement, presumably because they disrupt her political agenda to siphon public money into private hands and expand private school vouchers and for-profit school ventures. But the evidence on achievement in voucher programs has not found statistically positive gains for students using vouchers, and most large-scale studies have found that students actually saw relative learning losses. DeVos has been putting her thumb on the scale against public schools and public education since Day One—cutting the very programs that help kids the most.


“So, our answer to the question of how we help students succeed shouldn’t be to go back to the competition-and-austerity era, or to pull the rug from the strategies that we know are starting to work and have potential to grow. We have to push forward and continue fighting for the investments that prioritize children’s well-being; provide wider access to high-quality instruction and learning experiences; and engage parents, communities, educators and students in making our public schools safe, welcoming environments where teachers want to teach, parents want to send their kids, and students want to learn.”

Remember that Trump likes to boast of his love for “clean, beautiful” coal.

Now Murray Energy is filing for bankruptcy and will shed $8 billion in pension and health-care liabilities owed to miners.

NPR reports that Murray was one of Trump’s biggest funders:

The Trump administration has spent three years trying to help the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and pushing for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. Still, the long list of coal company bankruptcies has continued, and dozens more plants have announced their retirement since President Trump took office.

Now the list of bankruptcies includes a company headed by one of Trump’s most vocal supporters. Murray Energy Corp. filed for Chapter 11 on Tuesday morning.

The company says it reached an agreement to restructure and continue operating. As part of that, Bob Murray — the chairman, president and CEO — will relinquish two of his roles. His nephew, Robert Moore, will become president and CEO while Murray will stay on as chairman.

“When you’re a private company and you’re in financial failure, the first person that loses everything is the owner. And that’s what will happen,” Murray tells NPR.

Murray has had a close relationship with the Trump administration. He donated $300,000 to Trump’s inauguration and has met with administration officials to advance the coal industry’s interests.

Dino Grandoni of the Washington Post writes:

Murray Energy Corp., the nation’s largest private coal giant, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday, Taylor Telford and I reported Tuesday. That move makes it the fifth coal company to land in bankruptcy court in 2019 as coal is being being squeezed out of the U.S. power market by cheaper options such as natural gas, solar and wind power.

The long-anticipated bankruptcy proceedings also put the United Mine Workers of America’s already fragile and underfunded pension plan on even shakier ground, The situation could potentially spur a divided Congress and Trump, who has championed coal workers, to bail out the miners. Currently, Murray Energy pays into the pension plan for UMWA, which represents a large chunk of the company’s full-time employees…

But it is underfunded also because other coal companies have shed their pension obligations through bankruptcy. Among the billions of dollars of debt Murray Energy wants to restructure — or get rid of entirely — are its contributions to the pension plan. Excluding one of its subsidies that is not part of the bankruptcy proceedings, Murray Energy with about $2.7 billion in funded debt, as well about $8 billion in actual or potential obligations to fund pension and benefit plans, according to court filings.

Robert Moore, the company’s new CEO, hinted in a court filing that Murray Energy may seek relief from its pension obligations.

“Murray’s employees are its lifeblood… Nonetheless, the cost of servicing its funded debt, together with the myriad of obligations Murray has to current and former employees, including to a pension fund that has been abandoned by other employers, have substantially reduced liquidity,” Moore wrote to the bankruptcy court. a court filing….

Manchin and some other senators, including Republicans Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), have pushed for legislation that would transfer certain federal funds into the pension plan.

“We’re talking about 82,000 miners who are going to lose their pensions, and we’re fighting this,” Manchin, whose state is home to large Murray Energy operations, said in a radio interview on West Virginia MetroNews on Tuesday.

But the idea of the federal government bailing out the union miners has divided Senate Republicans. Other budget-minded senators from coal-mining states, such as Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), have objected to using federal appropriations to bail out a private pension plan.

Standing in the middle of that divided Republican caucus is the most powerful coal-state senator of all: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Manchin accuses McConnell of “still sitting on” his bill. McConnell met with UMWA members from Kentucky earlier this year and shares their concerns about the potential insolvency, according to McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer. While his office added that McConnell “supports the ongoing process to find a bipartisan solution for pension reform,” it did not commit to bringing any particular legislation to the floor.

Teresa Hanafin writes Fast Forward for the Boston Globe:

Today’s witnesses giving depositions to the three House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry are two State Department diplomats who are experts on Ukraine: Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson. They both worked as deputies to Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine.

Both were considered stars in the department, deeply familiar with Ukraine and “steeped in the policy issues,” as one department official put it. Both have served under Republican and Democratic administrations.

In her opening statement, Croft says that when she was the Ukraine director on the National Security Council, she got several calls from a lobbyist, Robert Livingston,pushing for the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the US ambassador to Ukraine at the time. Croft says she wasn’t sure on whose behalf Livingston was advocating: A Ukraine politician he used to represent, or Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer with whom Livingston also had contacts. (Remember, Giuliani was trying to get rid of Yovanovitch because she wouldn’t go along with his off-the-books, rogue operation to dirty up the Bidens.)

Croft also says that she was on the July 18 video conference call in which a budget official announced that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had put an “informal hold” on critical Ukraine military assistance at Trump’s direction — a statement that astonished William Taylor, another Ukraine envoy who also was on that call.

Anderson will tell lawmakers of another astonishing episode: That Trump blocked a State Department statement last November condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine after Russia had seized three Ukrainian navy ships in the Sea of Azov and detained 24 Ukrainian sailors. We don’t want to upset Putie!


Julian Vasquez Heilig, recently appointed Dean of the School of Education at the University of Kentucky, has been creating a series of podcasts about education “reform,” with particular attention to Teach for America.

Please listen to this one:

Truth For America is a podcast about Teach For America (TFA) that provides voice to educators, parents, students, and other key stakeholders. Truth For America is co-hosted by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig and Dr. T. Jameson Brewer. Episode 21 features two TFA corps members that were assigned to early childhood education. We discuss their perspectives on the lack of relevance of the training that they received at TFA Summer Institute and the Relay Graduate School. They also discuss their departure from Teach For America, the required usage of their Americorps stipends for graduate school and other many other issues. Dr. Barb Veltri guest hosts this episode. Truth For America is sponsored by the Network for Public Education Action.

Steven Wilson, founder and CEO of the Brooklyn-based Ascend Charter Schools, was fired by the board of directors after a petition on, apparently started by students at one of the charter schools, complained that an essay he had written was racist and exemplifed “white supremacy.”

Two charter-school advocates, one employed by the Walton Family Foundation, the other from the IDEA charter chain, defended Wilson and demanded that the board reinstate him. Their letter to the board was published in the rightwing EdNext.

The essay is a lengthy complaint about American public schools, asserting that they are deeply anti-intellectual and that children have been deprived of “intellectual joy” since the very inception of public education.

He argues that all children without exception should participate in “intellectual joy,” which would seem to me to be an unassailable position.

However, the critics of his essay say that it is an assertion of “white supremacy.” The board fired Wilson.

Now about that essay.

As a historian, I find much that is troubling in his depiction of the history of public education. It is true that public schools were not temples of academic learning in the 19th century. Most children left school when they were old enough to work. It was a mark of accomplishment to finish the eighth grade. Parents wanted their children to have just enough education to do what was necessary in daily life. The McGuffey’s Readers were almost universal. The McGuffey Readers contained excerpts of essays and poems that most students probably didn’t understand but memorized for recitation. The typical stuff of grades 1-8 was not deeply intellectual, that’s for sure. Most teachers were barely high school graduates. College attendance was still rare, limited only to the children of wealthy families, and they did not become teachers, which was a position of low esteem and low pay. High schools were rare until late in the 19th century, and they too leaned heavily on memorization and recitation. Most taught Latin and Greek, which no doubt gladdens Wilson’s heart. History textbooks were mainly recitations of wars, battles, and big events in the life of the U.S. or Europe. There was little about other nations or cultures. Private schools were not great temples of academic joy either.

It is fair to say that Steven Wilson would have been disappointed in the intellectual quality of most schools in the 19th century, whether public or private.

In the 20th century, the big urban centers of the nation were swamped with one of the biggest migrations of history, the transit of Europeans to the U.S. Most were illiterate or didn’t speak English or both. The big city classrooms typically had a poorly educated teacher trying her best to school some 80-100 children in her classroom, usually sitting two at the same desk. Not too much intellectual joy there.

I wrote a book about anti-intellectualism in American education. It is called Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform.

I tried to disentangle the strands of the progressive movement. Some progressives were concerned about the health and well-being of children and worked together with settlement house workers to better the lives of poor urban children. Some were interested in political activism and wanted the school to be the instrument to remake society (a hopeless endeavor). Some wanted the schools to be child-centered and to focus on the needs and interests of children. Others, including some of the child-centered progressives, were openly disdainful of the academic curriculum. Be it noted that there was good reason to be disdainful of the academic curriculum as it was then construed. Students spent endless hours memorizing words from textbooks or readers, then reciting them to the satisfaction of their teachers. Memorization played a big role–too big a role in the academic program. Even the Committee of Ten, the illustrious education leaders who called for a revamping of the academic curriculum in 1893, urged the use of active learning and projects to enliven instruction in history. Given the low standards and rock-bottom salaries for teachers, it was hard to imagine that the typical public school would ever be a beacon of intellectual enlightenment.

I was hyper-critical of anti-intellectualism, but unlike Wilson, I never smeared all of public education as an intellectual desert, openly hostile to ideas and determined to belittle the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. If you don’t see schooling in its historical and cultural context, it is easy to dismiss them as scornful of academic learning.

I am a graduate of the Houston public schools. My public schools were typical of the 1950s. What mattered most was sports, clothes, pop music (Elvis!), pop culture (James Dean!), and popularity. San Jacinto High School had good teachers and mediocre teachers. I had abysmal instruction in U.S. history, but a stellar teacher of English and American literature who left her classes longing for more, and whose door at “sign-up time” always had a long line of students eager to learn from her. No gifted classes, no AP courses, no test prep. Yet somehow I managed to get admitted to Wellesley College, one of the nation’s best colleges. And somehow I managed to hold my own in a class where at least half the students had gone to the nation’s best private schools. And all I had was a public school education!

Wilson’s jeremiad about public schools is insulting to public schools and their dedicated teachers, for sure. What’s more, he blames John Dewey for the dissolution of the curriculum, repudiating liberal education, and denigrating academic teaching. But anyone who read the first-hand accounts of the Dewey School at the University of Chicago would know that Wilson is dealing in second-hand stereotypes. I wrote about it in Left Back:

Teachers at the Dewey School created projects and activities to enliven the studies that were taught by rote in more traditional schools. They wanted to show that the traditional subjects, so often taught without any imagination, could be turned into exciting learning experiences. Far from being hostile to subject matter, they continually experimented with different ways of involving their young students in learning about primitive life in the Bronze Age; Phoenician civilization; early Greek civilization; the voyages and adventures of Marco Polo, Prince Henry of Portugal, Columbus, and other explorers; English village life in the tenth century, the story of William the Conqueror and his conquest of England, and the Crusades; American colonial history; the European background of the colonies; Shakespeare’s plays; science; mathematics; algebra and geometry; English, French, even Latin. (Left Back, p. 171).

If there were a Dewey School today, the curriculum would be multicultural and would reflect the cultures and interests of the students, it would explore the crimes of colonialism and imperialism, but one thing is certain: it was NOT anti-intellectual. In fact, it would be accurate to say that the teachers at the Dewey School were trying to find ways to ignite the love of learning and to connect history to their students’ lives and interests.

Wilson was also in error in setting the “Life Adjustment Movement” in the 1920s. It was a post-World War II craze.

Wilson defends the Common Core and asserts that it demands “intellectual performance” of a high quality. I find this bizarre, since the Common Core is lacking in any curricular coherence; even E.D. Hirsch Jr. has abandoned it because of its vacuousness. “Regrettably,” Wilson writes, “in many states, governors capitulated to anti-testing forces and retreated from the Core.” There is more that is wrong with the Core than the testing—with its absurd passing marks—that accompanies it.

But the students (or teachers) who wrote the petition against his essay were insulted for other reasons. They thought his essay was racist. They accused him of “equating a liberal education to whiteness,” thereby displaying a sense of “white supremacy.”

The petition says:

The underlying message here is that a liberal education is whiteness, whiteness is therefore intellectual, and any challenge to a liberal education is a challenge to whiteness, so any challenge to whiteness is anti-intellectual. The article later reinforces the importance of this liberal education by stating such an education “empowers them to escape poverty and dependency.”

Perhaps it was these sentences that troubled them:

“Just as schools are organizing to overcome these challenges [e.g, overtesting], they face a new threat to intellectual engagement. As schools strive to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive and to ensure cultural responsive teaching, there is the growing risk that these imperatives will be shamefully exploited to justify reduced intellectual expectations of students. One document widely used in diversity workshops, including in the training of all New York City administrators and principals identifies 13 ‘damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.’ One is ‘objectivity,’ which is manifested as ‘the belief that there is such a thing as being objective’ and ‘requiring people to think in a linear way.” Anti-intellectualism often takes the position that there are only subjective perspectives. Another is the ‘worship of the written word,” where ‘those with strong documentation and writing skills are more highly valued’…But how tragic it would be if any child was taught that a reverence for the written word was a white characteristic. What would they make of Frederic [sic] Douglass’s Fourth of July speech, Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, or James Baldwin’s letter to his nephew, “My Dungeon Shook’ in The Fire Next Time? As writers, they were deeply learned and dazzling stylists. Their words explode on the page, inspiring millions in the urgent work of racial justice. It’s hard to imagine a more destructive message to teachers and their students. This too will surely come to be seen as another wrong turn on the way to equal educational opportunity.”

He then goes on to discuss a closed door conversation in which he refers to the word intellectual, and someone in the group says that the word “has a connotation. Intellectual speaks to colonized and oppressed.” The group prefers the word rigor.

But, he says, when the session is over, the members of the group tell him to ignore the discussion.

Clearly the students (if they were students) who reacted strongly to his paper did not ignore it. They thought his paper was patronizing and racist and that it reeks of white supremacy.

They see his crusade for intellectualism as elitist and condescending.

His defenders from the charter sector accused the board of succumbing to “racialist bullying.”

Clearly there is a failure to communicate.

On all sides.

Since I am a historian by training, not a teacher, I can’t weigh in on how to teach “intellectual joy.” I know that being an intellectual won’t make one a good teacher; I have seen very well educated people give up as teachers because they were unable to connect to their students. Clearly something in Steven’s tone sent a message that he did not intend. The critics of the essay had antennae that he did not understand.

I asked my friend Anthony Cody, who is an experienced teacher who taught science in the Oakland public schools, about engaging students’ love of learning, and he offered this advice:

When I think of how we go about igniting passion for learning in students, it has more to do with connecting to their experiences and building on them — stretching them to consider new approaches that still relate to their realities. The conception of “intellect” in this essay seems to me a rather abstract one, which would struggle to inspire most of the teachers I have worked with over the past decade. 
For me, one of the most valuable things we could do for students would be to get their teachers actively engaged in a lively intellectual process of questioning what, why and how they are teaching. When that lively process is taking place within a school, it will infect every classroom and provide students with a variety of models of inquiry, experimentation and reflection, all of which are the basic processes of intellectual growth. That is why packaged curriculum and prescriptive standards and timelines are the death of real thought in our schools.  







After a generation of disruptive reforms—No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, VAM and Common Core—after a decade or more of disinvestment in education, after years of bashing and demoralizing teachers, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 2019 shows the results:

Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest-performing students are doing worse,” said Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP. “In fact, over the long term in reading, the lowest-performing students—those readers who struggle the most—have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago.”

Since 2017, reading performance has dropped significantly across grades 4 and 8, with math performance mixed, based on results of the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progressreleased Wednesday. Some racial achievement gaps closed—in part because of falling scores among white students—and gaps between struggling and high-achieving students continued to widen.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos used the results as an opportunity to call for more charters and vouchers, although Florida (her model state, with large numbers of charters and vouchers) saw significant declines in both subjects and grades.

According to Education Week,

Every American family needs to open The Nation’s Report Card this year and think about what it means for their child and for our country’s future,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “The results are, frankly, devastating. This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students.”

DeVos called the results a “wakeup call,” arguing, “We can neither excuse them away nor simply throw more money at the problem.”

Instead, DeVos seems to be doubling down on expanding school choice. She pledged a “transformational plan” by the administration to help students “escape failing schools.”

However, NCES found that in more than half of states and systems tested in math, 6 percent to 14 percent of students had teachers who reported “serious problems” with inadequate classroom supplies.

Every year for at least the last decade, NAEP results have been described either as “a wake-up call” or “a Sputnik moment.”

Wake up! Support the nation’s public schools, which enroll 85% of the nation’s children! Invest in the future of our society!

Carol Burris notes that charter-friendly Democrats have been put in a jam since Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have announced their intention to eliminate federal funding for charter schools, which is currently $440 million a year and used by Betsy DeVos primarily to expand big corporate chains.

She writes:

Since Elizabeth Warren joined Bernie Sanders in calling for an end to the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP), the charter school establishment has been frantically trying through editorials, postings and back channels to get Warren to change her mind.

One of the latest and more subtle attempts has been made by the Center for American Progress (CAP), that serves as the “think tank” for the least progressive arm of the Democratic Party, at least when it comes to education policy.

 Readers may remember CAP as the cheerleaders for the Common Core during the Obama years. It embraced all of the failed policies of Race to the Top, including evaluating teachers by test scores and the collection of big data on student performance to drive “data driven” reform.

 In a recent posting, no doubt in response to Warren’s call to shut down CSP, they issued a call for CSP “modernization” that you can find here.

 Since it began in 1995, the CSP has spent $4.1 billion on starting and expanding charter schools in nearly every state. Rather than addressing the big problems of the program—the funding of unauthorized charters that never open, the program’s history of sending hundreds of millions to charter schools that open and shut down, and the flow of money that goes to for-profit operators via “non-profit” schools, it tinkers around the edges with rules and suggestions for even more programs.

 One suggested “reform” calls for communities to analyze the need for more schools, presumably charter schools, via the grants.  That call does not follow up with the recommendation that CSP funds be given only to applicants in communities that find need. All CAP is calling for, therefore, is one more CSP program that would do nothing to address the problem of charter school saturation, which is overwhelming public school systems by draining the insufficient resources they have.

 They also call for funding to develop “unified enrollment systems.” Such systems, favored by the proponents of portfolio districts, are designed to expand the footprint of charter schools,while being disguised as an equity reform. One of the favored private vendors for unified enrollment is a company called SchoolMint. SchoolMint is presently being used in Camden, New Jersey, San Antonio, Texas, Denver, Colorado and other choice-driven districts.

 SchoolMint makes it mission clear when it comes to charter schools— “your growth is our game plan.” In this blog on the company’s website it shows how school districts can steer low-income families to certain schools, because after all, the program knows best especially when it comes to low-income families. SchoolMint can easily be used to steer parents away from what would be their first choice, their local public schoolto a charter school. Public school advocates on the ground in Camden have told NPE that is exactly what is happening.

 Another recommendation of CAP is for funding to create additional charter networks. However, cities are already overwhelmed by the giant CMOs like IDEA, KIPP, Great Hearts and the Gulen-affiliated CMOs that actively recruit and pull the most motivated students from the public schools, as well as fromthe independent charters that are attempting to realize the charter ideal of teacher and parent led schools formed for innovation.

 In short, the CAP call for reform ignores the serious issues that we brought to light in our NPE report, Asleep at the Wheel.  I believe it is designed to give candidates an alternative to the promises of Sanders and Warren to shut down the federal charter funding supplied by the CSP.

 Like the silly stand of “I’m against for-profit charters”, even though there are only a handful of for-profit charter schools in the nation, the CAP “reforms” are just one more attempt by neo-liberals to give Democratic candidates the appearance of actively supporting charter reform, while still supporting the status quo.

 CAP’s latest report serves as a reminder that the Democrats who share the DeVos agenda have not disappeared, even though none of the Democratic candidates is willing to admit in public that they do.

The Chicago Teachers Union posted the following message from its legendary leader and president emerita, Karen Lewis:




When Lori ran for mayor, she gave us hope that she would represent real change in City Hall. She ran on our education platform and made a commitment to reverse years of failed policy and horrible planning by her predecessors.

She inherited a system built on revolving door leadership, misplaced investments, excessive standardized testing and few wraparound services for our students. And she took office on a promise of being a progressive, pro-education mayor who gave her word for an elected school board for our district, and said she would use her power to ensure that Chicago’s students have the resources they need regardless of where they live in this city.

It’s not too late.

For far too long, the students, families and educators of Chicago have been denied the high-quality neighborhood schools they deserve. Our students should be learning in safe and thriving environments with social workers, nurses and guidance counselors. Our educators deserve to work in well-equipped classrooms with manageable and enforceable class sizes. And Chicago’s families deserve an elected leader that stands by their promises and truly brings in the light for our great city.

Lori, keep your promises and let’s get this done. Our members have resolve and will not relent when it comes to the families they serve. I stand in solidarity with each and every teacher, PSRP, clinician, nurse and librarian, and urge them to stand firm in their fight and remain united in the struggle for the schools that our students and families deserve.

To them, I ask the questions I’ve always asked of them when making any decision: “Does it unite us? Does it build our power? Does it make us stronger?”

And remember, power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.

In solidarity,

Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

CTU President Emerita

Chicago Teachers Union 1901 W. Carroll Ave.• Chicago, IL 60612 312-329-9100
for the schools Chicago’s students deserve
Sent via To update your email address, change your name or address, or to stop receiving emails from Chicago Teachers Union, please click here.

Supporters of Students,
Join our students as they stay home for a “sick-out” in solidarity with our educators tomorrow, Wednesday, October 30th. If you are a caregiver of a student, you can call their absence in, and no matter who you are, you can join them at 12:45pm outside the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol, wearing red, holding supportive signs, and supporting them in their demands to meet with the Governor about an immediate return to democratically-elected, local control and return of recognition of the LREA Little Rock Teachers’ Union.
If you are a caregiver of a student or a student yourself, please fill out this pledge to show Asa, Key, and the State Board of Education how many students intend to follow educators in the event of a work action and encourage them to come to the table.
You can also support them by donating to the Bread for Ed fund here to provide meals for students who would be out of school during a shutdown and to cover associated costs. Over 70% of Little Rock students rely on free or reduced lunch, and your support will make it possible for them to stand in solidarity with teachers and educators.
You can support the LREA Member Care fund here to provide support for members in the case of a collective job action. Funds will be provided to members based on demonstrated need.
Lastly, save the date for Monday, November 4th, 5-7pm, for an LREA fundraiser at South on Main.
Together, we will win!