Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stand in Solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union


On Monday I am wearing red in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union. I hope thousands of other teachers across the country do so as well.

I support the Chicago teachers because their union, under the leadership of CTU President Karen Lewis, is standing up and saying what teachers throughout this country would like to say:

Enough is enough!

Enough scape-goating and bullying of teachers and their unions.

Enough of legislators and policy makers who know so little about classroom realities, but have so much power to determine what goes on in the classroom.

Enough of business and government leaders refusing to adequately address the social and economic factors that weigh so heavily on our students.

Enough of laws and policies that reduce student success to scores on questionable standardized tests, while limiting rigor and deep learning, and ignoring art, physical education, social studies, character-building, and social skills.

Enough of over-crowded classes.

Enough of private charter and voucher schools that siphon money from public school systems – the only community institutions that have the capacity, commitment, and legal obligation to serve ALL students.

Regardless of whether the CTU actually strikes tomorrow, I will be wearing red in solidarity with my colleagues to the south.

Their actions remind all educators that we must use multiple forms of collective action to win what is best for our students, our communities, and our profession.

We have been too quiet for too long.

On Monday, stand with the Chicago Teachers Union.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you. Reposting everywhere.

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  2. Chicago teachers are the highest paid in the country and only graduate 40% of their students. This is the Democrat culture of entitlement coming home to rot.

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  7. For real, how can you support this garbage when they are asking for raises above 10-15% a YEAR!?!?! Plus they want less restrictive evaluations? Riiiiight...goes to show you they have no faith in their teaching ability and rely on union protection. You should be ashamed of yourselves, and someday, like in the great state of WI, the rest of the country will be freed from this trash.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      The Chicago Teachers Union were offered some pretty hefty raises. They declined those raises, because money alone doesn't address the issues they would like to see addressed in their contract, including things like class sizes and evaluations linked to standardized tests that do not take into account the external factors on a child's learning.

      Calling these teachers greedy when they've proved themselves to be far more committed to issues that have nothing to do with the money they make and everything to do with the quality of the education they can provide to students pretty much proves you have no idea what's going on and would like to simply yell at someone incoherently because you're angry.

      Sincerely,
      A Public School Graduate (with critical thinking and reasoning skills)

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    2. I agree with you Anonymous!!! Wisconsin has set a great path for the rest of the states to follow, exp IL, because we all know they need major help right now!!! WI has seen a deficit and now in a surplus with the cuts to teachers bargaining rights (which doesn't affect the children at all, just the teachers preimums and vacations). Now with the surplus we can put that money back into books and computers, NOT TEACHERS POCKETS! -Josh

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    3. Proud Milwaukee Public School TeacherSeptember 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Please, Josh, come to my school and bring me the books and computers that the surplus has supposedly paid for. As of right now, I have neither textbooks nor computers with which to teach. How can you say that increases in class size and lack of instructional supplies and technology do not affect the children? Also, FYI...teachers do NOT get paid vacations!

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  8. Ok GoldenGirl - if you say it's all about the class sizes, standardized tests, etc, then why are they turning down a 4% pay increase? You can't honestly sit there and tell me that if they were granted everything else besides a hefty pay increase that they'd be happy. The end game here is increased pay for a longer school day, which is why they came out of the gates with a 30% increase over 2 years. Please, you will never convince me this isn't about money, because at the end of the day, if the number is right, they could give two *&%#$ about the kids - as you should notice from the 56% graduation rate.

    Sincerely,
    Also a public school graduate (without being brainwashed).

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    1. I am a CPS teacher, and I can say that it IS all about money.

      NOT MORE MONEY ON MY PAYCHECK, but money to hire another teacher so that I am able to teach my 30 kindergarteners/first graders to read to pass NWEA and common core. Money to provide textbook. Money to provide a full time nurse, social worker, and speech pathologist to my 100% low income school. Money to provide students with art, music, libraries, and computer labs in schools.

      As soon as the CTU agrees on compensation, negotiations must end. The union is holding out on agreeing to salary because when they do, we can kiss discussions of class size/extracurriculars/clinician hiring goodbye. These things are necessary to providing the kids of Chicago with an exceptional education.

      A vast majority of teachers are not out to get more money. We just want the conditions to provide for our kids.

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  9. Everyone should be on the side of the Chicago teachers if they care about the classroom and the students in them. Teachers can no longer be silent about having over 35 kids in a class, about not having the appropriate paras and aids to help with special needs kids, about not having supplies and resources, about kids not having phy ed, art and music and a playground.

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  10. Proud Milwaukee Public School TeacherSeptember 10, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Wisconsin is buckling under the effects of Walker's attack on teachers. Milwaukee is feeling the brunt of the attacks. Our class sizes are over 40, even at the elementary level. Many of my colleagues have nearly fifty students in their high school classrooms. We don't have enough books in many schools. We don't have the technology to prepare kids for the type of learning they will need to be familiar with to succeed in college.

    We are repeatedly told that we will be held accountable for student performance on tests, yet cannot give our students the personalized help they need due to the large class sizes and lack of resources. We are told that we will be evaluated on our ability to prepare, when many of my colleagues (and myself) were not even told WHAT we would be expected to teach until several days before the school year started. Feel free to evaluate me... AFTER you give me the tools and preparation time to do my job! If our district leaders can't prepare well enough to have an adequate supply of books for our students, how are they qualified to evaluate MY ability to plan for instruction???

    Sure there are some bad apples, just like there are in any other work environment. We all know who they are. But on the whole, teachers are amazing. They put so much more work in than they are paid for already, not to mention paying for classroom supplies and training to become better at their jobs. As for "vacation", try "furlough days." We do not have a choice as to when to take our "vacation," or if we even WANT to take time off, and we don't get paid for it. We are questioned and chastised if we take sick time, even though many of our health problems arise from the stress caused by our jobs!

    If you really think that the teachers of students who score well on standardized tests are the better teachers, why not put those teachers in with the kids who have the highest failure rates? If class size doesn't matter, then cut our class sizes for a few years and see what happens. Give us the same resources as more affluent districts and see how we do. Give us a chance to prove ourselves!

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  11. Personal debt as large as public debt .
    We need to be educating not to rely on Government and nothing else .
    You welcome us to a One World Plantation .
    Your tragic Duality .

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  12. Finally, one union has helped teachers win a battle for more respect, and support for their students. I have since left MPS, but I attended all the rallies in Wisconsin to try to just get collective bargaining rights back. I truly believe that it is the teachers in our society who are the heroines and heroes of today. If we don't educate the next generation well, especially when there's so many issues with poverty and parents not able to meet youth's needs, have high expectations of them in the classroom, who will? Of course, teachers cannot do this alone -it takes the support of an entire city. MPS now needs the right to collectively bargain back (guaranteed). I can't think of any other paid job other than teaching which is so important in our society today. This does not mean enabling or entitling youth to grades they haven't earned which I was asked to give a student who was in high school, or the right to disrupt classes as I have witnessed and experienced. It does mean that administrators need to back teachers in Wisconsin, and political figures in the future. Let's work for this common good. AC Milwauke

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