Today is a day of mourning for the children of Chicago. Their education has been hijacked by an unrepresentative, unelected corporate school board, acting at the behest of a mayor who has no vision for improving the education of our children. Closing schools is not an education plan. It is a scorched earth policy. Evidence shows that the underutilization crisis has been manufactured. Their own evidence also shows the school district will not garner any significant savings from closing these schools.

This is bad governance. CPS has consistently undermined school communities and sabotaged teachers and parents. Their actions have had a horrible domino effect. More than 40,000 students will lose at least three to six months of learning because of the Board’s actions. Because many of them will now have to travel into new neighborhoods to continue their schooling, some will be victims of bullying, physical assault and other forms of violence. Board members are wishing for a world that does not exist and have ignored the reality of the world we live in today. Who on the Board will be held responsible? Who at City Hall will be held responsible?

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis commenting on today’s news that the Board of Education has voted to close 50 Chicago public schools.

While only around 40 percent of children in Chicago are black are Latino, 90 percent of children whose schools will be shuttered are black or Latino.

Teacher X: Why I'm Striking, JCB

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

24: A Summary
  • Jack Bauer:You have to listen to me or there's going to be another attack
  • Chloe O'Brian:Of course. Even if we didn't have a long personal history of working together I'd still help you because you've always been right in the past
  • CTU:No
  • FBI:No
  • CIA:No
  • Cabinet Members:No
  • Foreign Officials:No
  • Presidential Advisers:No
  • President:No
  • Terrorist:*launches another attack*
  • Everyone:Give Bauer whatever he needs to stop this
  • Jack Bauer:So you'll listen to me in the future?
  • Everyone:Probably not
When will there be an honest conversation about poverty and racism and inequality that hinders the delivery of an education product in our school system? When will we address the fact that rich white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos, no matter what the parents’ income or education level?
—  Karen Lewis, Chicago Teacher’s Union president on the school closure crisis in Chicago.

Liberals, you know what hurts children? Look in the mirror. Your complicity with a regime of austerity that deprives poor people’s kids of everything they need in order to thrive. That’s what the teachers are protesting. Not only are they seeking to improve their own dismal labour conditions, they are fighting to save Chicago’s public schools - and kids - from Democratic politicians who seek to destroy them.

“Keeping class sizes small is one of the few proven ways to narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor children.”

The educators are asking for better learning conditions for the children they teach, including smaller class sizes. In early grades, it is well documented that large class sizes hurt student achievement. Keeping class sizes small is one of the few proven ways to narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor children.

Chemical, Chapter 51

“What did you call me?”

“I dunno.”

“You don’t know?”

Tom shook his head, grinning a little through his split lip.  "No idea.  It just sounded good.“  Chris laughed and pushed him, then put an arm around his shoulders.

"Yeah, it did sound pretty cool.”  He tugged Tom up close against him;  I had to put my hand over my mouth to stifle a loud gasp of surprise when he pressed his lips to the side of his head.  "This is about mom, isn’t it?“

Tom nodded, looking up at the sky, squinting against the bright sunlight.  "My mom didn’t love me, your mom did.  She was the only real mother I ever had.”

“She was the only mother I ever had too, ya know.”

“I know.”

Chapter 51 is here:

(tags under the cut)

Keep reading

Four reason why Chicago teachers are on strike
September 10, 2012

Across mainstream media and through the megaphone of city government, Chicago public school teachers have been consistently demonized and criticized for everything from self-serving greed, to negligence of their duties, and lack of care and respect for students.

Mayor Emanuel and his hand-picked school board—stacked with millionaires and former charter administrators—along with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, have continued to use their dominion over the school system to apply a corporate model of school reform to the Chicago Public Schools.

This type of “reform” has allowed private operators to take control of public schools, undermine the teachers union, close and turn around neighborhood schools rather than invest in them, and over-test students rather than provide them a comprehensive and nurturing education.

Meanwhile the Chicago Teachers Union, numbering nearly 30,000 members, is demanding that CPS cease this drift toward putting control of schools in private hands, and provide the necessary conditions for effective and equal public education—putting the needs of students ahead of corporate and government powerbrokers.

So what are the teachers fighting for?

A better school day: A comprehensive education including not only curricula in math, science and history but also art, music, physical education and foreign languages in all Chicago Public Schools.

Wraparound services and adequate staffing to support students in need: This includes counselors, social workers, librarians and school nurses with defined job descriptions as well as preparation and break time.

Recall rights for educators and school staff: Hundreds of teachers have already been displaced by school closures across the city and more will be by the planned closing of at least 100 more schools in the coming years.

Fair compensation: No merit pay, less reliance on standardized tests and pay commensurate to increased time in the classroom as well as inflation. CPS reneged last year on the contractually obligated 4 percent pay raise negotiated in 2007 and is currently offering annual 2 percent raises over the next four years. An independent fact-finder’s report released in July recommended pay raises of 15-18 percent next year.

As CTU President Karen Lewis proclaimed to a massive crowd of thousands of teachers and their supporters at a Labor Day rally in Daley Plaza, “This fight is for the very soul of public education, not only in Chicago but everywhere.”There are of course many other points of contention in negotiations, but these demands represent the core reasons that 98 percent of the CTU membership voted to authorize a strike. They represent the contours of a larger struggle against the neoliberal model of corporatized education being pushed by Emanuel, Brizard, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and their ilk.

The American Federation of Teachers—the nation’s 1.5 million-member education labor union, which has been complicit in corporate education “reform” in the past—has come out with a statement of support for Chicago teachers. President Randi Weingarten says: “Chicago’s teachers want what is best for their students and for Chicago’s public schools… The AFT and its members stand with the CTU.”


We stand in solidarity with Chicago & other  struggling teachers! They are some of the most important workers we have. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: "The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates decided this afternoon to end the city’s first teacher strike in 25 years and return more than 350,000 students to the classroom Wednesday. The decision was reached after some 800 delegates convened at a union meeting hall near Chinatown to discuss and debate a tentative contract. Union leaders had already signed off on the agreement with Chicago Public Schools."