Archives for category: Chicago

On November 26, the New York Times published an article that had this headline: ‘Minority Voters Chafe As Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools.’

The point of the article was that many black and Latino families are very disappointed that all the Democratic candidates have turned their backs on charter schools, excepting Cory Booker, currently polling around 1-2%. The article was especially critical of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have, as the article put it, “vowed to curb charter school growth.”

The article implied that the shift was due to the candidates’ pursuit of the support of the teachers’ unions, and charter schools are mostly non-union. Thus, if you want the union vote, you oppose non-union charters. (In my experience, neither the AFT nor the NEA is anti-charter, since they seek to organize charters to join their unions and have had some modest success; still, about 90% of charters are non-union.)

The article was prompted by an organized disruption of a speech in Atlanta by Elizabeth Warren, who was talking about a washerwomen’s strike in Atlanta in 1881, led by black women. The disruption was led by Howard Fuller, who, as the article notes, has received many millions from rightwing foundations, not only the Waltons but the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, to sell vouchers and charters to black families.

Not until paragraph 25 does the article mention that the national NAACP, the nation’s largest organization representing black families, called for a charter moratorium in 2016. That fact alone should raise the question of how representative the protestors are.

I wrote this post about the article. The gist of my complaint was that the Times’ article gave the impression that black and Latino families are clamoring for more charters, when in reality there are many cities in which black and Hispanic families are protesting the destruction of their public schools and the loss of democratic control of their schools.

I questioned why the article relied on a five-year-old press release from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as evidence for its claim that the “wait list” for charter schools was in the “hundreds of thousands.” Actually, the 2014 press release from the charter advocacy group said the “wait list” topped one million students. My comment was that “wait lists” have never been audited or verified and that a claim by a lobbying group is not evidence.

I added to my post a commentary by Robert Kuttner, the editor of the American Prospect,  who was also critical of the article.

Both Kuttner and I heard from a reporter from the New York Times. In the response posted below, he acknowledges he made an error in citing poll data in the article, without reading the underlying poll.

I heard from one of the writers of the Times article. She said my post had many inaccuracies. I invited her to write a response and promised I would post it in full. I pleaded with her to identify any inaccuracies in my post and said I would issue a correction. She did not send a response that I could post nor a list of my “inaccuracies.”

The Times posted an article last July about the growing backlash against charter schools. But I do not think the Times has exhausted the question of why the charter “movement” is in decline.  It would surely be interesting if the Times wrote a story about why the NAACP took a strong stand against charter expansion, despite the funding behind charters. Or why Black Lives Matter opposes privatization and supports democratic control of schools. Or why black families in Little Rock, Chicago, Houston, and other cities are fighting charter expansion. None of those families are funded by the Waltons, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Charles Koch, or Michael Bloomberg, so they don’t organize buses to take hundreds or thousands of people to demonstrations.

The Times should take note of the fact that white Southern Republicans have made the charter issue their own, and they are using it to recreate segregated schools. Indeed, the Republican party has made charter schools and vouchers the centerpiece of their education agenda, and Democrats in most state legislatures have resisted that agenda and support public schools. There is also the fact that DeVos and Trump are pushing charters and school choice even as they dismantle civil rights protections.

I wish the Times had noticed a court decision in Mississippi a few months ago that upheld the right of the state to take tax money away from the predominantly black public schools of Jackson, Mississippi (which are 96-97% black), and give it to charter schools authorized by the state, not the district. They might note that the sole black justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Leslie King, dissented from that decision. The district, under black leadership, fought that decision and lost. The black parents of Jackson, Mississippi, are fighting for adequate funding of their public schools, while the white Republicans in state government are imposing charter schools.

In Justice Leslie King’s dissenting opinion, which Justice James Kitchens joined, he wrote “This Court should not be a rubber stamp for Legislative policies it agrees with when those policies are unconstitutional.”

Public school districts in Mississippi receive local funding from ad valorem tax receipts. When a student enrolls in a charter school, which is a free public school, money that would have gone to the district follows the student to the charter school instead.

My view is that we need a great public school in every neighborhood, with experienced teachers, a full curriculum, a vibrant arts program, a nurse, and all the resources they need for the students they enroll. I think that charter schools should be authorized by districts to meet their needs and supervised by district officials to be sure that there is full transparency and accountability for the academic program, the discipline policies, and the finances. Charter schools should complement public schools, not compete with them or supplant them.

Here is Robert Kuttner’s second commentary on the article:

americanprospect

 

DECEMBER 2, 2019

Kuttner on TAP

Charter Schools and the Times: a Correction and Further Reflections. I made an error in my On Tap post last week on the New York Times feature piece on black public opinion and charter schools.

My post criticized the Times for publishing a page-one story with an exaggerated headline, “Minority Voters Feel Betrayed Over Schools.”

The Times piece cited a poll showing black support for charter schools at 47 percent. My mistake was to infer from this figure that black support and opposition were about equally divided. As one of the story’s authors pointed out in an email, the actual poll showed support at 47 percent, opposition at 29 percent, and no opinion or similar for the rest.

That 29 percent opposed figure was not mentioned in the Times piece. Nonetheless, I should have pursued the underlying poll and reported it, and not just made assumptions. I regret the error.

That said, polling results vary widely depending on the wording and framing of the question, the sponsor of the poll, and the context. For instance, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, in a state that has more charters than any other, reverses the finding of the Education Next poll cited by the Times. In California, blacks, with just 36 percent support, were far less likely to support charters than whites.

One of the two polls that the Times linked to used the phrase “public charter schools.” Most charter schools are public only in their taxpayer funding; their actual accountability to public systems varies widely. Many are for-profit, or nominally nonprofit but managed by for-profit management companies.

Another poll, which my post cited, by Peter Hart Associates (for the American Federation of Teachers), finds that black parents are strongly opposed to the idea of reducing funds for public schools and redirecting them to charters, which is often the practical impact of increased spending on charters. As this study shows, the practical effect of charters, in a climate of fiscal scarcity, is often precisely to divert funds from public schools.

I owe our readers a much deeper look at the charter school controversy, as well as error-free reading of polls. Both will be forthcoming. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

Robert Kuttners new book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy.

Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter

Jeff Bryant reports here about the recent strike in Oakland. Teachers won concessions from the school board but they were fighting for much more than higher pay. Like their peers in Chicago and other districts, they were striking to fend off the Modern Disruption/Corporate Reform Narrative of failing schools, closing schools, and privatization.

Even after the strike ends, the struggle continues.

He writes:

Teachers and public school advocates in Oakland and elsewhere are showing that strikes don’t end systemic forces undermining public education as much as they signal the next phase in the struggle.

When their recent strike concluded, Oakland teachers had won a salary increase and bonus, more school support staff, a pause on school closures and consolidations, and a resolution from the board president to call on the state to stop the growth of charter schools in the city.

While those were significant accomplishments, the core problem remaining is that policy leaders in the city continue to take actions that “hurt students,” Oakland Education Association president Keith Brown told me in a phone conversation.

“Students continue to experience pain and trauma in our schools due to lack of resources, over-policing, and continuing threats of school closures,” Brown said.

Despite gains from the recent strike, teachers and public education advocates have continued to show up at school board meetings to press their cause.

The coalition recently formed the group Oakland Is Not for Sale, which seeks to extend the moratorium on school closures and consolidations to summer 2022, institute financial transparency in the district, end the district’s policy of expanding charter schools, and redirect money for school police and planned construction of a probation camp for juveniles to pay for a rollout of restorative discipline practices in schools.

The board’s recent announcement to close higher-performing Kaiser Elementary and merge the students and teachers into an under-enrolled and struggling Sankofa Academy raised yet more agitation in the community, especially when news emerged that students from Kaiser would receive an “opportunity ticket” giving them priority to attend schools ahead of neighborhood students not already enrolled in those schools. In other words, the district’s rationale for merging the two campuses for the sake of fiscal efficiency was being undermined by its own proposal to make transferring to Sankofa optional and, thus—as Zach Norris, a parent leader of Kaiser parents resisting the move, told California-based news outlet EdSource—keep Sankofa under-enrolled and thereby also an eventual target for closure.

 

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union adopted the agreement reached with the Mayor that provides significant new benefits for students. This is now known as “Bargaining for the Common Good.”

Chicago Teachers Union

STATEMENT:
For Immediate Release| ctulocal1.org

CONTACT: Chris Geovanis, 312-329-6250, 312-446-4939 (m), ChrisGeovanis@ctulocal1.org

CTU members vote overwhelmingly to accept tentative agreement

New contract includes historic language to cut class sizes, put nurse and social worker in every school.

CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2019—Chicago Teachers Union members voted today to accept the tentative agreement they won in the wake of their historic eleven day strike.

With eighty percent of schools reporting, members have voted 81 percent yes to ratify the new contract with CPS.

The union won powerful gains for students and their school communities.

Those gains include mandatory class size caps and enforcement, language forcing CPS to comply with special education laws and regulations, sanctuary school protections for immigrant and refugee students, and supports for thousands of homeless students. While today most schools have a nurse barely one day a week, the contract will provide schools with a nurse and a social worker in every school every day. The union also won another freeze on charter expansion, and additional funding for staff that include librarians and counselors, who now must be allowed to serve only as counselors, not recess supervisors, test proctors or substitute teachers.

The contract will also, at last, lift up teaching assistants, school clerks and other paraprofessionals out of poverty.

“This contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. We live in one of the richest cities in the wealthiest nation in the world, and finally Chicago must start investing in the future of our city—our children.”

Moving forward, the union has put some of CPS’ most harmful and inequitable education policies squarely in its sights—including ending CPS’ discriminatory ‘student-based budgeting’ formula and the district’s racist school ranking system called SQRP. That includes the union’s effort to win passage in Springfield for an elected, representative school board, a bill that the House and Senate leadership have vowed to move this spring and the governor has promised to sign, restoring to Chicagoans the same democratic rights that voters in every other school district in the state possess. The union is also pushing legislation to restore CTU members’ bargaining rights, which were stripped away in 1995 with the imposition of mayoral control over CPS.

“Our contract fight was about the larger movement to shift values and priorities in Chicago,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates. “Working class taxpayers in Chicago have paid for skyscrapers that most will never visit—but a school nurse is someone their child in need can see on any day. In a city with immense wealth, corporations have the ability to pay to support the common good.”

###

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in schools funded by City of Chicago School District 299, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.

Craig’s Chicago Business acknowledges that the children in Chicago public schools need what the Chicago Teachers Union won in their contract negotiations. But still, they wonder, are taxpayers willing to pay the price? 

Now that financial details of the pact are starting to trickle out, it’s clear that the mayor was telling the truth—that is, for the teachers. And that truth raises a very significant question of whether the unprecedented, potentially $1.5 billion mayoral bet will be worth the cost to already struggling Chicago taxpayers.

That $1.5 billion figure comes from the Chicago Public Schools’ budget office. It’s at the high range of what officials say the new CTU deal will cost over the next five years cumulatively…

“The union won the strike. They absolutely won,” says Paul Vallas, a former CPS CEO who was one of Lightfoot’s rivals in the February mayoral election. “It’s going to be impossible for them to come up with that much dough without major tax increases if (Gov. J.B.) Pritzker does not fully fund the state’s new school-aid formula.”

Pritzker is working on that. But as Vallas noted, doing so likely depends on voters next year enacting the governor’s proposed graduated income tax amendment, and that’s no sure thing.

Overall, there is little dissent that putting increased staff resources into particularly needy schools—as the contract requires—is the right thing to do. Eventually, that should result in higher graduation rates and kids better prepared to enter the job market.

It is always good to get Vallas’ views, since he privatized schools in Philadelphia and New Orleans as his budget solution and ran unsuccessfully for mayor, governor, and lieutenant governor.

Are the voters in Illinois willing to pay higher taxes to improve conditions of learning, to assure smaller class sizes, and to get better prepared youth?

The Chicago teachers’ strike represents a change in Chicago, for sure. The harsh policies of Daley, Duncan, and Emanuel are over. A new day has dawned, with national implications.

It’s a definitive shift in the entire landscape, not just in Chicago, but throughout the U.S., away from privatization, school closures, charter schools, and the kind of Koch Brother-funding of private schools instead of public schools, a threat we’ve been fending off for the last 30 years,” said Jackson Potter, a high school teacher and union bargaining member in Chicago.

Potter continued, “This contract really represents advances—and not just trying to preserve what we had or prevent the annihilation of the public system—but how to expand it, fortify it, and have a considerable [investment] in low income students of color and their communities that starts to look more [like] what we see in wealthy white suburbs.”

The contract dealt a blow to the charter industry, with “hard caps on charter school expansion and enrollment growth.” The rightwing Heartland Institute called the settlement “a death blow to charter schools in the Windy City.”

Alas, the sustained efforts of the Disrupters foiled by one powerful teachers’ strike, joined by Chicago’s progressive new mayor!  Their policies of austerity and privatization undone. Calling the world’s smallest violin.

Thanks to the invaluable organization “In the Public Interest” for assembling these sources in one place.

Jan Resseger explains the history and context of the truly historic teachers’ strike in Chicago that recently ended. She explains it with clarity, as only Jan can do.

This was not a strike for higher salaries. The mayor offered a 16% increase before the strike began, and that is what the Chicago Teachers Union accepted.

This was a strike for students. This was a strike to reverse a quarter-century of disinvestment by Mayors Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel.

This was a strike against 25 years of austerity in a booming city that had billions for developers but nothing for students and schools.

This was a strike against corporate reform, which starved the public schools for the benefit of charter schools.

This was a historic strike. To understand why, read this post.

Troy Laraviere, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, writes in Crains Chicago Business that the Chicago Teachers Union is not demanding enough for the public schools.

He maintains that the Chicago schools are woefully understaffed as compared to other districts in Illinois.

He writes:

Chicago Public Schools is the most understaffed school district in Illinois. It is impossible to make a reasonable judgment about the current labor dispute between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union without considering that fact. Even though the key issue in this labor dispute is CPS’ refusal to meet the teachers’ demand for adequate staffing, it seems that no one has attempted to find out what school staffing actually looks like.

Consider the following:
•The Illinois State Board of Education tracks staffing numbers for 861 school districts in our state. Chicago is ranked 861st—dead last—in the ratio of students-to-staff.
•The 20 most adequately staffed school districts in Illinois have 100 staff members for every 500 students.
•The average Illinois school district has 50 staff for every 500 students. In Chicago, however, our district has just 29 staff for the same 500 students.

On average, each Chicago school has 71 fewer staff than the top Illinois schools, and 21 fewer staff than the average Illinois school. Think about that for a moment. We would need 21 more staff in every Chicago school just to reach average staffing levels.

Those 21 missing staff members are music and art teachers to nurture a fuller array of student talents; classroom assistants and tutors; librarians to teach students how to evaluate the legitimacy of an information source in this age of omnipresent false information; classroom teachers to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade; counselors to help students plan for their future; social workers to help students learn skills to cope with adverse circumstances such as homelessness, mental trauma and abuse; bilingual teachers to support students who are learning English, and security personnel to keep students safe, just to name a few. Think about the curricular, behavioral and academic development that Chicago students are not getting because those 21 staff members are not there to serve them.

Well, you have to start somewhere. The facts in Chicago demonstrate that the previous mayors–Rahm Emanuel and Richard Daley (the mayors from 1989-2019)–woefully underfunded the public schools as they diverted huge sums of public funding to luxury developments. Thirty years of underfunding shortchanged the students.

The CTU has been the leading edge of the fight to restore adequate funding to the schools and the children. Troy LaRaviere demonstrates that the changes are a beginning and that much more must be done to provide funding that the children of Chicago and their public schools need and deserve.

 

Tentative Agreement

Tonight’s Vote to Conditionally Suspend the Strike

CTU’s House of Delegates met tonight to consider a new tentative agreement. The terms of the tentative agreement can be downloaded from the MemberLink Portal. Delegates voted 364 to 242, with four abstentions, to accept the revised tentative agreement on the condition that Mayor Lightfoot agree to make up the days lost in the strike. The text of the resolution reads:

Be it resolved, that the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates will suspend the strike against the Chcago Public Schools immediately upon a CPS agreement with the CTU to restore with pay student instructional days lost during the strike. Per the CTU Constitution and By-laws, a referendum by the CTU’s entire CPS membership on contract ratification will be held within ten (10) days of suspending the strike.

So far, the mayor still insists that she will not schedule makeup days for students to regain class time and for us to recoup our lost workdays. Her hypocrisy, though, is clear to see. She and her bargaining team fanatically insisted that elementary teachers couldn’t have a 30-minute morning prep because it would “reduce instructional time.” Yet, now they have the opportunity to make up days of instruction. What reason, other than sheer vindictiveness, would they have for passing up this opportunity? That’s why we’ll still be on strike Thursday and until the mayor and CPS come to their senses and close this deal.

Tentative Agreement Highlights

Some major elements of the Tentative Agreement include:

  • A nurse in every school community every day.
  • A social worker in every school community every day.
  • Staffing Pipeline: $2.5 million in recruitment and training programs for clinicians, $2 million in tuition and licensure for nurses, increased investments in “grow your own” teacher pipeline programs and 50 percent tuition reimbursement for English Language and bilingual endorsement programs.
  • $35 million annually to reduce oversized K-12 classrooms across the district, prioritizing schools serving the most vulnerable students.
  • Unprecedented enforcement mechanisms for class size relief.
  • Sports Committee with an annual budget of $5 million (33 percent increase in annual funding) for increases to coaching stipends and new equipment/resources.
  • January 2019 0.8 percent increase in health care contribution rate rescinded as of 7/1/19; no plan changes to health insurance benefits and reductions in co-pays for mental health services and physical therapy.
  • Bank of sick days earned after July 1, 2012, increased from 40 to 244 days.
  • Development of special education Individual Education Plans (IEP) made solely by the IEP team; principals required to use substitutes or release time to provide adequate time for special education duties to the extent possible; common preparation periods with general education teachers where possible; special ed teachers last to be called to cover classes; $2.5 million annual fund to reduce workload.

Clarification on class size language

Many members have read the new language in Article 28 on Class Size and found the table and language confusing. We want to clarify how the new language improves on the class size language in our recently expired 2015-19 contract.

In that last contract, there were advisory class size limits for different grade levels. However, to relieve oversized classes only $6 million per year was allotted for the entire district. When a class was over the limit, the teacher would have to file for relief, a weak joint committee came and investigated. If there was money, and if there was will, the class might get a remedy.

In the tentative agreement, that protection still remains, but is strengthened. The same class size guidelines are maintained andthe pool of money to remedy oversized classes is increased more than five times, from $6 million to $35 million. The committee also has more power to award remedies.

The truly new part, however, is the automatically triggered hard cap on class sizes. Those classes that are over the limit by a set amount (differing based on grade level) will be immediately and automatically referred to the committee and relief for the those classes is mandated in the contract. There will be no need for a teacher to report their class and ask for help, the committee will automatically come out to relieve the problem.

Some have mistakenly read the higher numbers as eliminating the previous class size guidelines and raising them to allow even larger classes. That isn’t so. This language keeps the previous numbers and improves the enforcement mechanism quite a bit. Once the automatically triggered classes have been relieved, there is still a larger pool of money to relieve classes that may be over the existing guideline, but under the automatic trigger mark. Those classes will need to request relief, but will still have the stronger committee come to their aid and there will be more money available to solve their problems.

Day 11, Thursday

10:00am at City Hall

At 10:00 a.m. all members should meet at City Hall to demand Mayor Lightfoot agree to make up the strike days. Costumes are encouraged, especially if they’re red (no costume weaponry, though, please). We will not have pickets at school, but schools are encouraged to arrange breakfast or lunch meetings or conference calls to discuss the tentative agreement and our next steps as a union.

Day 10 Recap

Wednesday’s Actions

Our members maintained picket lines at every school today. At noon, in the cold and pouring rain, hundreds of CTU members met to protest “The 78” luxury real estate development. Like Lincoln Yards, The 78 got a huge TIF giveaway to develop already valuable land. The $700 million that Rahm and Lori gave them would have made a huge difference for our schools. We won’t stop reminding the public and the politicians that Chicago isn’t broke, the City’s priorities are.

New support from Springfield

As the bargaining team finalized the deal, new information emerged from Springfield.

Tweet by Amanda Vinicky about Madigan and Cullerton pledging support to repeal IELRA Sec. 4.5

Looking ahead and building power

As you talk about the tentative agreement, it’s worth thinking about the conditions at your school. Whether or not this TA is ratified, we will eventually have a contract. It’s important that everyone build on the solidarity and momentum you’ve developed together on the picket line to enforce it. If the fight for good working and learning conditions were a war, the strike would be the “air war.” It can win a lot, but what ultimately determines day-to-day conditions is the “ground war”—the back-and-forth between administrators and staff in each school and workplace.

Read the TA (and the existing contract, for that matter) with an eye to the changes you want in your school. Try to come up with one change—big or small—that CTU members, together, want to see in your work environment. Then you can use our Campaign Planning Worksheet to brainstorm your campaign for when we return to work. When members at your school have agreed on a rough plan, check in with your organizer and/or field rep to talk through the details of putting it into action.

Union staff will continue to work hard in support of your rights. In your campaigns, they’ll help you refine your strategy and back you up. And they’ll always stand up for your rights in grievances and arbitration. If you organize well, you can make change without the long process of a grievance and help build your school’s solidarity and power.

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The CTU reached a tentative agreement with Chicago Public Schools. The CTU House of Delegates voted 364-242 to suspend the strike pending resolution of final issues. The settlement, which meets most of the CTU demands, will be voted on by the full membership within 10 days.

But the strike is not yet over. The sides are very close but the union wants an assurance that there will be no loss of instructional time for the students. They want to make up the instructional time, possibly by extending the school year. Thus far, Mayor Lightfoot says no.

The union made no concessions. For the first time ever, they have won enforceable guarantees about class sizes, though the agreed-upon limits are still too large: no more than 32 students in K-3. No more than 35 in upper grades. $35 million has been pledged for class size reductions, which will be lowered as funding permits. The agreement commits the city not to authorize any new charters, nor add to the current enrollment of students in charter schools.

No school tomorrow while the bargaining continues.

The settlement contains not only caps on class sizes, but guarantees about school nurses, and other important staffing issues. It also offers significant salary increases, which was not a contentious issue. The union really did fight for better conditions for their students. .

The Big Three—Governor Pritzker, the Democrats in the Legislature and House Speaker Madigan— have agreed to restore a democratically elected board to replace mayoral control and to restore full collective bargaining rights so Chicago is on the same footing as other districts in Illinois.

Now we wait to see how long it will take to assure that the students do not lose instructional time.

 

 

 

 

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

 

CTU |

Diane-

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
www.ctulocal1.org
for the schools Chicago’s students deserve
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Jitu Brown is a son of Chicago. He is National director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, which has affiliates in 30 cities, where they work for social justice.

Jitu was the driving force behind the community effort to save Dyett High school  in Chicago, the last open admission high school in Bronzeville. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had decided to close Dyett, and Jitu organized a campaign to save Dyett. He led a 34-day hunger strike, and eventually Rahm gave up and instead of closing Dyett, he invested $16 million into renovating it as a school for the arts.

Listen to Jitu here, where he is videotaped by videographer Bob Greenberg. Greenberg has created an archive of hundreds of interviews with educators. He is a retired teacher.

In this video, Jitu Brown describes the two teachers who had a profound impact on him and helped him discover his strengths.

In this video, Jitu Brown recites Claude Mckay’s “If We Must Die.”

Jitu belongs on the Honor Roll of this blog.

Jitu Brown is a hero of the Resistance. He is also a member of the board of the Network for Public Education.

He is featured in my new book SLAYING GOLIATH.