CORE completes slating for CTU election... Karen Lewis and Jackson Potter to head slate

CORE, Chicago's Caucus Of Rank-and-file Educators, completed its slating process for the top of its slate for the 2010 Chicago Teachers Union elections on January 6, 2010 at the United Electrical Workers (UE) Hall in Chicago.

Karen Lewis (standing) presented her candidacy to CORE at a candidates' forum at the UE Hall on December 2, 2009, and was slated by CORE to run for President of the Chicago Teachers Union in voting on January 6, 2010. Lewis is CTU Delegate at King High School. Also above (right) is Jesse Sharkey, a member of the CORE steering committee, who is delegate from Senn High School. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. According to CORE, the candidate for President will be Karen Lewis, who teaches at King High School. Vice President will be Jackson Potter, who teaches at Little Village High School for Social Justice.

The CORE results were distributed to CORE members after the voting on January 6. The unusual procedure followed by CORE was that CORE members were able to vote for one of five slates. (Full disclosure: this reporter participated in the election as a member of CORE and voted January 6).

The candidates are supposed to be introduced to the Chicago media at the "Education Summit" sponsored by CORE and GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) at Malcolm X College in Chicago on January 9, 2009.

The results came in as follows:

Slate #1 (67 VOTES)

Karen Lewis (President)

Jackson Potter (Vice President)

Michael Brunson

Kristine Mayle

CORE's candidate for vice president is Jackson Potter, who is presently a teacher and union delegate at Social Justice High School, part of the Little Village High School campus. Above, Potter was one of several CORE members who spoke on the Board of Education's proposed 2009 - 2010 budget on August 19, 2009, at Black Magnet School on Chicago's South Side. CORE has been studying the budget and testified at both the 2008 and 2009 hearings on the budget. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Slate #2 (7 VOTES)

Karen Lewis (President)

Jackson Potter (Vice President)

Michael Brunson

Bill Lamme

Slate #3 (10 VOTES)

Karen Lewis (President)

Jesse Sharkey (Vice President)

Kenzo Shibata

Jim Vail

Slate #4 (13 VOTES)

Jay Rehak (President)

Jackson Potter (Vice President)

Michael Brunson

Kristine Mayle

Kristine Mayle, currently teaching special education at Eberhart Elementary School, helped lead the fight at De La Cruz Middle School against the closing of the school and the takeover of the building by an UNO charter school. Mayle (shown above speaking at the CORE forum on December 2, 2009) will be the CORE candidate for recording secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union. In the above photo, Mayle is flanked by Kenzo Shibata (left) and Jim Vail. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Slate #5 (3 VOTES)

Jay Rehak (President)

Jesse Sharkey (Vice President)

Sara Echeverria

Kurt Hilgendorf



In order to complete its slate, CORE now has to slate candidates for all executive board positions to be elected in the Chicago Teachers Union. Based on proportionate election of "functional vice presidents" for the different categories of CTU members, the executive board seats will total around 45. The actual number of seats to be elected will be known at the January 13, 2009 meeting of the CTU House of Delegates, when the delegates get the report from the union's Rules-Elections Committee.

The election will be held on May 21, 2010 if past precedent and the union's constitution and by-laws are followed.

With CORE officially in the race, there are now four candidates for President of the Chicago Teachers Union.

CTU Treasurer Linda Porter is running on the slate of the Caucus for a Strong Democratic Union (CSDU).

Above, the CORE candidate for financial secretary of the CTU, Michael Brunson, speaks at the GEM press conference in support of a general high school for Altgeld Gardens prior to the December 16, 2009, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Brunson taught at Aldridge Elementary School in the Gardens prior to his becoming a displaced teacher this year. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Former CTU President Deborah Lynch (currently a teacher at Gage Park High School) is running on the PACT slate (Pro-Active Chicago Teachers and school workers). Elementary teacher Marcia Williams is running on the slate of the Independent Caucus.

A fifth caucus, the "School Employees Alliance" (SEA Caucus) has yet to announce its candidates. The SEA caucus has leafleted the CTU House of Delegates meetings since October, and has, according to its website ( held on general meeting. They did not list a phone number or address until recently, so it was a challenge contacting them.

Observers assume that Marilyn Stewart will run for a third term as head of the United Progressive Caucus (UPC). When contacted by Substance, CTU communications director Rose Maria Genova, who had been the "publicist" for the UPC in the 2004 election (when Stewart defeated Deborah Lynch in a hotly contested election that resulted in a runoff and extensive recount) said that she would let Substance know when the UPC had an official spokesperson.

At a November referendum, Marilyn Stewart successfully got the union's members to vote to reduce the number of elective offices from five to four, eliminating the office of treasurer, suppoesedly to save money. The four top officers of the union will now be: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Financial Secretary.

Only two of the current union officers will possibly be running for re-election in May 2010.

Marilyn Stewart remains as President of the 31,000-member union.

Stewart purged her vice president, Ted Dallas, after he engineered her election in 2004 and her re-election in 2007. The office of vice president has been vacant for one year.

Stewart tried to purge the union treasurer, Linda Porter, but failed, so Stewart organized to eliminate the office of treasurer.

Recording Secretary Mary McGuire is reportedly retiring at the end of this school year.

Financial Secretary Mark Ochoa is reported to be running for re-election, although some say he may run for another office.

All of the officers of the Chicago Teachers Union are on leave from teaching jobs in the Chicago Public Schools. While on leave, their salaries and benefits are paid by the union's membership dues, which this year are nearly $1,000 for regular and substitute teachers. Education Support Personnel (ESPs) pay a smaller amount.

If CTU tradition is followed, the caucuses will be able to pick up nominating petitions in February, and are required to turn in completed nominating petitions in mid-March. The dates for both will be set at the January 13 meeting of the House of Delegates.

In order to be nominated, a candidate has to get signatures on nominating petitions from five percent of the voters eligible to vote for that office. The CTU currently has approximately 28,000 full-time working members (retired members are not eligible to vote or be candidates in the CTU elections, so their numbers are not counted for this purpose). Thus, candidates for citywide offices must get a minimum of 1,400 signatures on nominating petitions.

Because of the complexity of the rules governing elections in the union, the largest in Illinois, there have been very few individual candidates running. Candidates for office organize "caucuses" (basically, political parties within the union) and field slates of candidates in the name of the caucus. The ballots list candidates by office under the name of the slate, and voters can either mark ballots for individuals or for the entire slate. Historically, more than 85 percent of ballots have been cast for slates.

In addition to electing officers and executive board members, the CTU members will vote on delegates to the conventions of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). The convention delegates are voted on on a separate ballot. Historically, CTU has sent 150 delegates to the conventions, and also elected 35 alternates.

The rules for the election will be presented to the union's House of Delegates on January 13, 2010. All of the caucuses opposing Stewart in her re-election bid are facing an unprecedented obstacle that Stewart has thrown in their way with the help of CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. In violation of federal labor law, they are being warned that they cannot circulate literature or hold campaign meetings in the city's more than 600 public schools until after the caucuses have been certified by the union's Rules-Elections Committee following the submission of the nominating petitions in late March. The certification of candidates for CTU elections usually takes place at the April House of Delegates meeting in an election year.

So what Huberman and Stewart have teamed up to do is eliminate the possibility of campaigning until April and early May. This process began in December after CORE candidates Lois Ashford and Jay Rehak defeated Stewart's candidates for trustees of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) in the October 31, trustee election and sustained their victory in a recount on November 16. Supported by CORE, Rehak and Ashford mounted a spirited campaign in hundreds of schools in the weeks leading up to the October 31 vote.

Once she lost, Stewart and her supporters looked for a way to make what Rehak and Ashford and CORE had done illegal.

This story was first reported at Substance News in December:§ion=Article

A few weeks after her December letter, Stewart sent a letter on union stationery warning principals that they would be in violation of the union contract if they allowed the caucuses to distribute literature or hold meetings in the schools. That letter was reproduced this month at substancenews...§ion=Article


January 7, 2010 at 9:53 AM

By: Retired


Will retired teachers be able to vote?

January 7, 2010 at 10:23 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

To: Retired

No, retired members of the Union are not eligible to vote in the upcoming election because we are not actively teaching and I was told labor laws prohibit the Union from counting us. This is why they treat us as second class citizens on so many levels including receiving the newspaper.

The only things we can vote on is our representatives in the pension fund and our retired delegates.

January 7, 2010 at 8:36 PM

By: CORE is in error here

you have made a mistake

You will NOT win having your top two names as teachers who work in high schools--yes, you may win at your schools, but you will NOT win the elementary school vote and that is where the numbers are at.

Even George should have been able to tell you this. This is NOT good news.

January 7, 2010 at 10:29 PM

By: Interested

Child care at CORE meeting SAturday?

Is Child care included at the meeting this Saturday?

January 7, 2010 at 11:37 PM

By: Jim Vail

To CORE is in error here

Oh yeah - CORE can't win with two high school teachers at the top - then how did Debbie and Howard beat the unbeatable UPC in 2001 as two high school teachers. To me, a great organization fighting the privatization and total destruction of public education is what this union election is all about, and under Marilyn and her so-called elementary background, we've fallen quite deeply.

January 8, 2010 at 3:16 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Yes -- Child care Saturday at Malcolm X

According to CORE, there will be child care Saturday at Malcolm X. We're bringing three-thirds of our children.

January 8, 2010 at 7:24 PM

By: dear Jim Vail

Debbie and Howard

were the only game out there when they ran against Reese.

Reese was in bed with Vallas and people were tired of him pretending to be african american (he was white-rip.) Stewart needs to be out, but Debbie is running again against CORE and there are other slates. You are foolish to think that CORE is correct in slating 2 HS people. Your own comment above works aGAINST YOU. How do you think Debbie lost? Stewart won because she was a special ed elementary teacher and had Ted Dallas, very well-known from the HS on her slate. The group that will beat Stewart, is the TWO slates that come together and run one slate against Stewart. I pray these slates do not vote each other out so that Stewart comes ahead. CORE MUST work with one of the other slates. CORE will not win with this slate. CORE needs to shoulder this reality.

Yes, high schools are sick of being included with elementary schools, but it is elementary schools that carry the vote big time! And el teachers are abused too--esp. in the middle school grades now.

Karen is great, well known, but there are many who do not like Potter--sorry, but let's get real here. Little Village HS will be only a few votes for him--he may end up being embarassed by the numbers at his own school who do not vote for him. Again, no blame to him, he and his HS have a bit of a bad rep.

CORE needs to rethink and think again. Combine with a group you are impressed with and have some officers and an agreement so CORE will be at the table--otherwise CORE will NOT win with this slate. Many are impressed with CORE and many have yet made NO committment to any slate yet. As a seasoned teacher and CTU member in great standing, please realize that this is our last chance in CTU to make it right. Best wishes to all and please read again and again what I have stated here.

January 8, 2010 at 7:36 PM

By: CORE's slate may loose many high schools

you hurt yourselves

Debbie is from Gage Park HS — so now her slate and CORE will butt heads and you win nothing — nothing!

Stewart will come out ahead. You will split the high schools between Debbie and CORE and the elementary schools will NOT be interested in HS slates. (Sorry, HS teachers but elementary teachers do not get anywhere near the daily preps you do.) You MUST unite in order to win. Check out Debbie and Ted's group — see if they will work with you — the possible future loss is just too great.

January 8, 2010 at 9:41 PM

By: Danny

Not quite the facts

While Debbie Lynch has been at Gage Park HS since her return to teaching in 2004, she was at an elementary school (Marquette IIRC) at the time she beat Tom Reece in 2001. Thus Mr. Vail's counter-argument fails.

There is certainly a disconnect between the elementary schools and the high schools. For example, in November's referenda election, the high schools voted NO on all questions by a 2-1 margin, while the elementary schools voted YES by the same margin.

The anonymous poster "CORE's slate may loose [sic] many high schools" writes "Sorry, HS teachers but elementary teachers do not get anywhere near the daily preps you do." You ignore the facts that (1)elementary teachers voted to ratify the contract--with no provision for a daily prep--by greater margins than the high schools; (2) Marilyn Stewart is from an elementary school; and (3) high school teachers get a single self-directed prep period per day--not preps in the plural. If there's a reason ES teachers don't wish to vote for HS teacher candidates, it shouldn't have anything to do with number of prep periods.

Having said that, I think the anonymous poster "CORE is in error here" doesn't quite have it right, either.

This election will be about Marilyn Stewart, and I feel the tide has turned against her. The membership is ready to turn her out.

January 8, 2010 at 10:41 PM

By: fine Danny, but

still needs to be united

in the high schools used to get 2 preps a day--who gave that up? HS dept. chairs get an extra prep, but middle school chairs get nothing. Elementary teachers get 4 preps per week if it is a 5 day week. And it rarely happens that we even get preps at all.

The membership will still have to be united to beat Marilyn-and with fringes likle the one above, who knows what can happen.

January 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

By: Joe Linehan

Elementary School CORE member

I wanted to contribute to this thread as a 7th grade teacher and member of CORE. There are definitely some issues that are unique to elementary and to high school teachers, but are common cause is much greater. The displaced teachers, the privatization, the shrinking of the CTU membership, the loss of our rights, the fiscal mismanagement of the union, are all issues that concern us all.

I only joined CORE this year. It happened after a really poor showing by Renaissance Man Mark Ochoa and my school's field rep at a union meeting. I finally decided that I couldn't stand on the sidelines any longer. I honestly didn't think about high school or grammar school. Instead, I thought about who was the most active and vocal group where I could make a difference.

Yes, Karen and Jackson are high school people, but there are many elementary school people in the caucus, Kristine is one of them and she's got a great track record for making her voice heard loud and clear.

Joe Linehan


January 9, 2010 at 4:10 AM

By: you're driving me crazy

divide and conquer

All Marilyn has to do is sit and watch her opposers kill each other off.

people may hate her but with more than one slate running, she wins.

the idea that three or more choices will force a run off is so typically naive of all those who are only looking at their arrogant egos.

Are all of these caucuses really willing to gamble the future of the union on wishing for a run off? and then hoping to win that ---hope is not a plan. and if this is the way they run a campaign then I don't have much faith that they could run a union.

unless there is some compromise and a cooperative effort, Mailyn wins.

divide and conquer and laugh all the way to the bank!

and I'm reallt sick and tired of the constant bickering about who has it best or worse the es or the hs, if you think it's better elsewhere then go there and stop complaining. Here's the math:

first understand the hs day is 46 min longer than the es day which includes a 45 min lunch period. es teachers tend to forget that their lunch period is at the end of the day at 2:45 when they can go home

ES per week 3-30 min 8:30-9:00 (and if you don't get this time file a grievance); 4-40 min preps, = 210 minutes prep time plus 2 ten min. breaks daily -100min+210=310 min of contractual duty free time per week. again if you don't get this time file a grievance) school day 6hrs 15min.=375min per day.

HS 5 -45 min preps=225min of prep time per week; school day 7hrs 01 min =421 mins per day

So contractually ES have 375 prep min per week

HS have 225 prep min per week

But everyone has a very difficult job and should stop squabbling with each other and get their heads out of the sand and work together to make it better.

sorry about all the typos but you're driving me crazy!

January 9, 2010 at 9:27 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

SEA caucus gets a phone number

One of the pre-requisites to being taken seriously by Substance is facilitating communications so that people can get the facts when they need them.

For more than a year, I've been to meetings of CORE, PACT, and CSDU, all of which have been public and all of whom welcomed Substance and kept us up to date on what they were doing.

As Mr. Ortiz knows well, SEA caucus has been, until lately, quite a different kettle of squid.

It was ironic to us that for several months, the SEA caucus didn't have an address or phone number at its Web site, and that my first attempt to contact them to be able to report accurately on their existence required that I have a late night telephone conversation with their "Deep Throat" "advisor" on union matters, who asked -- demanded actually -- to be "On Background." (How many teachers know that phrase?).

That was how I was able to locate SEAcaucus on the Web and distinguish it from the town in New Jersey a couple of miles from where I went to high school. (If you go to you get the town in Hudson County where they used to have the pig farms when I was a kid; it took a bit of work to find, and it was still longer before they had a phone number).

Now that that's solved, I've corrected the ".org" versus ".net" problem above and hope that nobody will be going to

Seacaucus, New Jersey, no longer smells like the pig farms that used to be there when I'd take the old Pennsylvania Railroad train from Linden (where my family lived in Bruce Springsteen country, in the shadow of the refinery down the road -- U.S. 1 -- from the [Rahway] penitentiary, etc., etc.) to Penn Station in New York. No matter how hot the days, it was better to close the windows than to have them open while going through Seacaucus. We've also got to remember (1) that many teachers don't spend a lot of time on the Web, and (2) people who are being asked to support one group or another with their futures want to know when they meet, who they are, and how they operate.

Despite the differences among the three largest groups challenging Marilyn Stewart, they have been way out in the open about it.

Our job here has been to report what we could learn in the open and share it with our readers. Hence, for example, we noted that CSDU and CORE took the most interest in last summer's budget hearings (August 17 - 19) and that Marilyn Stewart was muted about this important issue. Etc. Etc. That job will doubtless become more complex over the next six months. By June 2010, thousands of people holding CTU membership cards will be putting in tens of thousands of hours on the May 21, 2010 CTU election. Most of us know that something has been wrong with Marilyn Stewart's reign, and some of us have been reporting it accurately for a lot longer than some people, now politically ambitious, can conjure. (Go to Terry Daniels's reports from the CTU House of Delegates at if you need to clarify where the accuracy of history is).

Every generation has to rewrite its own history and (to use an odious and simplistic phrase) "frame" its narrative. Right now, the whole world is watching Chicago (it's happened before, as we know, from the 1968 convention to the Olympic fiasco) now that Chicago is being blamed for the "Race to the Top" (for example). Who knew that in one year Arne Duncan would be able to give No Child Left Behind a good name? But we won't let anyone forget that without Mindless Marilyn it would have been impossible for Barack Obama to foist Arne Duncan on Education USA even with that poker face he uses to scare some people. So Marilyn's apologies go far beyond the stuff she's been pulling lately. By contributing to Duncan and RTTT, she's Guinness Book material. Now we've got to clean up that mess (if we can; if not, as people are noting, it's kind of bleakly future...).

Now we'll be very glad here to let the campaigning begin. The more information we get at Substance from the various caucuses (we're counting and reporting six, including UPC, at this point) the more accurate we can provide the news to our readers this year. As we reported earlier this month, last year (2009) our Web site had more than 2.3 million hits.

We owe it to everyone to be accurate, so thanks for the ".org" to ".net" correction. Now it you'll let us know your next meeting, we'll probably cover it. We have never met a political group that has secret meetings and expects to get people to vote for them -- or secret "advisors."

January 9, 2010 at 9:46 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

I'm glad that Substance is being fair to all of the caucuses however I still feel that with that many groups, Marilyn will win!!!! The vote will be so divided between the remaining caucuses that no one will win. At best, we will have a run-off like the last election. In run-offs, the person in office usually wins because they control the election.

Marilyn's position that groups can not openly go into the schools to meet with teachers or give out their literature is also going to hurt the various groups. Teachers who care and are fed up are going to seek out the groups but unfortunately many teachers will blindly vote for the person they hear the most about just as people do in elections. I am working for Joanne Fehn, a citywide Circuit Judge candidate, who has not been endorsed by the mainline Democratic party and I know how hard it is to make her known to the citizens without party support. All six caucuses are going to face the same problem. We see little or nothing in the Sun-Times or Tribune and of course the Union publicity is all on their candidates.

I would really urge the slates to try and unite so people can concentrate their efforts.

January 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM

By: to driving crazy-you need more facts

good points but

Middle school and El schools have alot more testing and sorry--more homework. We are also judges more on these test scores. And the middle school;6th-8th grades teachers have more students! El teachers get only a 20 minute lunch! You forgot that. Class size you forgot to. Middle schools are teaching 31-33 students 5 classes per day, PLUS advisory! and only 4 preps in a 5 day week. Higher than the HS class size and LRE is much more in the regular classroom in EL school--burden on EL school to do SBPS too==which takes gobs of paperwork and 2 years byw, and this paper burden is on the EL teachers. Els have 1 counselor for 750 kids and they are the case manager too! You forgot that. HS have a freed case manager.

I doget you on the argument and we must unite together for the benefit for all.

But lets be real in ALL facts first.

January 9, 2010 at 4:44 PM

By: to CORE

Big Burden on your shoulders

CORE- still worried about your slate, but please do or continue to work with Debbie and Ted so that IF you loose or IF there is a runoff you will have a seat at the table.

Make a plan just in case.

It is a burden, but please do this so that Marilyn is out. CPS and Daley will do ALL it can to help Marilyn--they did with Reese to help him beat Debbie!

January 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

By: xian

A few things I believe:

1. I think the union deserves the best officers and to me that means the officer slate that will empower all teachers and PSRPs regardless of their grade level, status or subject area of expertise. I think the last year and a half have demonstrated conclusively that that group is CORE.

2. There are WAY more than 50% of the teachers who are sick of UPC. Acknowledge this now and be ready to fight if it happens: The only way under the sun that Marilyn Stewart gets reelected without a runoff is if the election is stolen. If she wins more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff, we have no democratic union and we may as well be paying $1000 a year to punch ourselves in the face. I'm sorry if this seems harsh, but I entered this union with no partisan interest, and still have no political interest. I'm just sick of dealing with a union that I pay to make my job harder and my days worse.

3. We are in the fight for our careers. When the Chicago crew saw New Orleans hit by Katrina, they used that to utterly destroy teaching as a profession in NOLA. Who doesn't already feel that same dynamic in Chicago? Who has time to actually educate students? We have nonsensical data models, there's no time for children. This is nationwide. CORE is the only group I know within our union that is addressing these issues.

So I believe every person who cares about the education of children in Chicago should support CORE our push for a member driven union.

But ultimately, I just would like to see everyone stand up and not continue to look the other way as ours and our students' lives are destroyed by corporate and union leadership greed.

January 9, 2010 at 6:25 PM

By: Danielle

CORE's strength

I know a lot of the bloggers have been complaining that CORE has no big names, but according to the letter I got from the UPC functional vice presidents in support of the UPC candidates, they claim that our union supports all the voices and not just following figure heads. The fact that the commenters on this article keep referring to Ted, Debbie, and CORE shows that CORE is not a figurehead movement, which is largely why I choose to support CORE as a group rather than a caucus recognized as the name of an individual.

January 9, 2010 at 9:59 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

To good points but:

You need to realize that the 20 min. lunch that you refer to is really a combination of the 10 min. morning and afternoon break unless a principal chooses to be generous because elementary teachers are not entitled to a lunch (elem. is at the end of day)

Also for high school time, you need to subtract the 45 min. lunch because it isn't work time.

However I think the argument is stupid because there are pros and cons at both levels and I have taught in both high schools and elementary. Let's forget it and just try to work together.

January 10, 2010 at 1:12 AM

By: Joe Linehan

Elementary vs. High School

The way this city and country are treating teachers and the educational system, the argument about high school vs. elementary feels too much to me like passengers on the Titanic arguing about who got the better berth.

January 10, 2010 at 2:22 AM

By: Still crazy

nice guys finish last

Joe & Margaret get it. Stop the infighting and jealousies. we all got it tough, but if we don't ALL get together as a united force we've got nothing. Marilyn wins.

CORE had done a nice job advocating for children, education,schools and should be praised for this. they have brought attention to many wrongs done by CPS via board meetings, seminars and coverage in Substance, but; the CTU is a LABOR UNION not an advocacy group.

Nice guys finish last.

January 10, 2010 at 10:51 AM

By: xian

Nice people finish last, then they organize

There is no evidence to demonstrate that "Nice Guy Finish Last". So far, we only have the evidence that politics over members' needs have destroyed our union, and the records of the individual caucuses.

If the voters will simply ask themselves, who will do the most for me, my job and my students, our union will improve. I think we should make it our personal mission to provide hope to our colleagues so that they feel excited about voting for whomever they see fills that role and more importantly remembering that the union's power comes from themselves--the memberships.

For me, you know that's with CORE, but I will respect anyone who chooses honestly and fights for what they believe to be right. We can respectfully dissent.

January 10, 2010 at 12:11 PM

By: Wilfredo Santana

Thanks to Mr. G. Schmidt

Thanks for correcting the information on the Scool Employee Alliance, (S.E.A.). There is a phone number, web-site and e-mail address CTU members can use to comunicate with us. Accuracy is important, as you stated. That is why our communications thus far have dealt with the issues and ideas important to the the preservation of the CTU and its members. We've rejected in-fighting and limited our statements to criticisms and analyses based on past actions and conditions.

We do have good advisors that provide us their professional judgment when we need it. They have and will continue to serve our cause which is to revitalize and strengthen the CTU.

Thanks again.

January 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM

By: Jackson Potter

CORE will be competitive

CORE stands for a different kind of unionism, one that seeks to represent and include all of our members in all the major decisions of the union. That is the same way we created our slate, democratically. There is no such thing as a slate of 4 people that adequately represents such a diverse body as the Chicago Teachers Union.

On another note, i don't understand why my school would be considered a disadvantage to CORE just because an unnamed blogger here said "we have a bad rap." Maybe they are making this claim because our former principal broke the rules and lost his job -- but that is not a reflection of our staff is it?

At the end of the day CORE will work tirelessly to put our Union back on the map, work to enforce our contract, end principal abuse, and put the final nail in the coffin of Renaissance 2010. We don't need the accolades or the perks. We, like all of our members, want to be respected as the professionals we are, not bashed and abused by people who don't have an iota of knowledge about education.

January 10, 2010 at 5:44 PM

By: CORE still needs to get that you need to reach out

Another retired teacher (thank g.)

good luck CORE, I hope you win. I write 'Debbie and Ted' because I am sick of all the alphabet stuff: UPC, CPU, PACT--PU!

Remember, Debbie ran into problems after she got elected. She had to learn by doing--understanding this--she lost much for the membership. She was a 'dear in the headlights' and was referred to this way by CPS brass! So if you win CORE, be ready to not learn as you go--you will not have the time. Debbie and Ted have this over you.

That's why you or they will need to make an alliance asap. You also have to hope that when/if you win, remember, Reeses' group made it hell for Debbie at the meetings; made her look foolish and dumb. Daley, Vallas and Arne lapped it up--it played right into their hands. So CORE you have a lot for you and a lot against you. I hope it does not crash and burn on CTU election day and Stewart is victorious, becasue your young group does not play politics. Admirable, but too many teachers do not vote and there are a few who don't care who wins. Not going into this with eyes wide open and stron alliances, could be the CTUs undoing. The letter sent by Stewart to principals-should be a reality check for all parties.

January 10, 2010 at 5:52 PM

By: retired teacher

retired teachers voting CTU election

retired teachers cannot vote CTU, but we have RTAC, which gives us a say in pension. However, in-4-himself Bob Burris--former Prosser and Byrne principal, is the leader of a TEACHER org AND the membership just voted to keep Pilditch instead of Terri Katsulas on the pension Board.

What a loss there--Terri carrys a big stick and will use it, Walter just takes it as CPS dishes it. So how do you like your health benefit contribution being reduced to 40% and we get no medicare? Teachers are our own worst enemy.

January 10, 2010 at 10:56 PM

By: to CORE


Great that CORE did this. Next question: How will ALL the many displaced teachers get to vote in the CTU election? Watch for this — votes can easily be lost in Marilyn's hands.

January 11, 2010 at 3:17 AM

By: zeta


If anyone remembers Jackie Vaughn and the tireless work that she did to protect the rights of teachers; they know that the only caucus that has the same integrity and fearlessness that she gad is CORE.

The only difference is that CORE has so many brilliant leaders and members in it's caucus. The talent is so plentiful almost any one of their members could run against Marilyn and give her a run for her money.

January 11, 2010 at 4:04 AM

By: Jonesie

idealist vrs realist


Jackie Vaughn was a realist and street fighter, she had to be in order to run a labor union.she also knew how to use the media and had an extraordinary ability of persuasion. after all she convinced the membership to overwhelmingly approve a contract with no raise.

Lynch also knew how to get media attention to support teachers which is one of the main reasons the mayor and Duncan worked so hard to get rid of her. Remember, Duncan allowed the UPC send out their hate literature to all the schools for three years thru the MAil Run from Wells high school. (Saving the UPC tens of thousands of dollars)

CORE leaders may be 'brilliant' but they're also idealistic. How many members would prefer an idealist to a realistic street fighter in a contract dispute or a disciplinary hearing?

The only media attention they get is from Substance (with many members on the staff). George has always taken credit for getting Lynch elected and seems ready to take credit if CORE wins.

from what I hear CORE is the caucus that won't agree to work with the others because they don't want to be tainted with politics. Imagine them trying to get legislation passed!

To beat Stewart and to run the union we need idealists, realists and street fighter who are politically astute.

Good luck!

January 11, 2010 at 4:49 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Substance history and diversity

As the philosopher said (I think) a little knowledge (of fact and history) can be a dangerous thing.

So... A few factuals.

While there are many members of CORE on the Substance staff (after all, some of us helped found the group), there are also members of PACT and CSDU. Members of all the other caucuses (including UPC!) subscribe to Substance and/or read this Web site avidly (if not happily).

As Substance staff could tell you, had you asked, at the last Substance staff meeting in December, I wore a CORE tee shirt for the first half of the meeting and a "Stop Million Dollar Marilyn" tee shirt for the second half. I believe that PACT produced the latter. None of the other caucuses has provided tee shirts to us recently, so I don't have any further additions to the wardrobe. This month it's too cold for tee shirts anyway.

As to what happened in 2001, the facts have been left out of the historical narrative. Most notably to me was the version of the PACT victory that appeared in "Labor Notes" (and was never corrected by adding the following key fact).

When the votes were counted following the May 2001 election, PACT (and Deborah Walsh) had roughly 57 percent of the vote, the UPC (and Tom Reece) the rest.

Beginning in February 2001, Substance, using the economies of scale we get by printing tabloid and mailing Periodicals Rate, mailed copies of Substance to every teacher in Chicago at their school addresses. We got the names from the TSR list published annually by the State of Illinois and then compiled a mailing list school-by-school. That effort cost Substance roughly $30,000 (printing and mailing) and took place over February, March, April and May 2001.

Did that help ensure that a large number of voters were ready to vote for the "Walsh-Heath" slate (and oust the UPC) in May 2001? Most people who were there then think so. By the last count I got the night it became clear, 11,000 voters had voted PACT, 8,000 UPC.

Why? Lots of reasons. Ask them all.

We think a great deal of that shift was because voters had a chance to read in detail in Substance, which they got in their mailboxes, at their schools, at every school.

But who knows?

One of the reasons the principals didn't block our mailings was that we had, earlier, won a federal First Amendment lawsuit on the right to have a First Amendment even here in Chicago's public schools.

But that's another story for another day you can read about at§ion=Article

Thanks for caring.

January 11, 2010 at 9:02 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

Retired teacher/parent

George, I think that Substance has done a great job on reporting what all the caucuses are doing in their campaigning which is a lot more than you can say for the Union paper and the mainstream press. Some caucuses are getting more coverage than others but that appears to be because their activities are more public (like their lawsuits). You are even reporting UPC activities but it's mostly negative thanks to Marilyn. If anyone thinks you are being unfair, they could always try their hand at writing an article and as long as its factual, I know you would consider it for printing. I know of no other paper that covers educational issues that can make the same claim.

January 12, 2010 at 7:01 PM

By: no compair - CORE to Jackie

Vaughn came up through the CTU system

JV had lots of expereince and mentoring before she became the pres of CTU. CORE does not have this, but PACT and CSDU have.

Juz keepin' it real.

January 12, 2010 at 7:28 PM

By: zeta

Show Us What you\'re Working With!

Don't underestimate CORE and who's in it. I can guarantee you that we have idealist, realist and a few street fighters who came up like Vaughn.

But if the other Caucuses have someone that can do a better job at fighting for the membership,

I would like to hear from them. Speak out and Show Us What you're Working With!

January 12, 2010 at 7:29 PM

By: bob



I would like to comment on a recent post:

Zeta wrote”

The only difference is that CORE has so many brilliant leaders and members in it's caucus. The talent is so plentiful almost any one of their members could run against Marilyn and give her a run for her money.”

Can anyone name three of the CORE candidates without looking them up?

A little humility is in order here because that passage turns me off cold.

January 12, 2010 at 10:00 PM

By: zeta


Karen Lewis for President

Jackson Potter for Vice President

Michael Brunson- for Financial Secretary

Kristine Mayle- for Recording Secretary

I promise, I didn't look them up!


January 12, 2010 at 10:46 PM

By: Zeta

To Bob

Dear Bob,

As far as humility, I have an abundance of that. However,I do like to interject a little humor to lighten the mood sometimes.

On a serious note, I have watched over the years as Jackie Vaughn who was CTU President when I was a new teacher. Reese, Debbie Lynch have come and gone and hopefully we can say the same about Marilyn soon.

Danielle is right, CORE is not a group built on ego, or popularity isn't even a group within the structure of a union. CORE is a movement.

I wasn't trying to be egotistical when I said that that "the talent at CORE is so plentiful that anyone of them could give Marilyn a run for her money"

I said this because it is not about the individual, it's about a collective group effort aimed at providing members the best protection possible under the union contract.

Since Jackie, I personally have not seen a caucus of the union so dedicated to the struggle that teachers face today.

Trust me, I watched Debbie interact with teachers when our school closed in 2002. I was not pleased and the CTU members at our school were unhappy with the representation.

We've given Marilyn a chance, I've talked to her (or tried to many times, however, she was MARILYN STEWART THE CTU PRESIDENT. Too important to return a call or listen to her

members. I know of many who have tried.

So when I could not get help from Marilyn and the CTU a friend told me about CORE and gave me Jackson's number.

He didn't know me but was able to hear my story. When I went to my first CORE meeting, I was reluctant because I didn't know how I would be received, I could not believe the warmth and camaraderie that I experienced.

I wasn't sure and thought that this camaraderie would eventually wear off, it didn't instead it grew stronger.

I am a different person because of the support given to me by this group. I hope that each teacher who goes to work everyday

and those who find themselves in any difficulty, reaches out to the union caucus that supports them, the membership and the issues at hand.

For me it's CORE because CORE CARES!

January 13, 2010 at 4:27 AM

By: Margaret Wilson

retired teacher/parent


Is Core as supportive of retired teachers and willing not to treat us as second class citizens in the Union? Many of us would like to be active but do not feel that the Union has anything to offer us. This is witnessed by us getting the paper months late and then being told you can pick it up at your local school. I've tried that and am told they don't have extra papers. Calling or going to the Union doesn't help because field reps are always too busy to talk to us because we're retired and the leaderships solution is to tell us to pay extra for first class mail. We paid into the union and fought for the union for too many years to be treated this way. As retired people, many of us have the time and energy to make phone calls or do things on the internet (in my case transportation is difficult so going to meetings is hard) and want to commit to a group that cares about us.

January 13, 2010 at 8:51 AM

By: Retired Principal


CORE, good luck!

January 13, 2010 at 10:38 AM

By: Zeta

To Margaret

Dear Margaret,

One of the things that CTU has forgotten is the people. It's all about business, money, high powered leadership and individual egos.

The CORE caucus is different, they really do put the members first. There is a level of respect and concern for every member that walks through the door.

CORE values, respects and has time for retired, displaced, reassigned, TAT's, PAT's and tenured teachers even substitutes are welcome if they are CTU members.

This Friday January 16, 2010 one or our retired teachers who is on our fund raising committee is having an affair at Artis's Lounge at 1249 East 87th. Everyone is welcome and we do have a committees for retired teachers. You would love it.Hope to see you, it starts after work. So about 4:00! Check the CORE website for further details.

January 13, 2010 at 5:46 PM

By: Bob


Dear Zeta

I hope you do not take me wrong. But when I hear “Brilliant” thrown

around it does turn me off a lot. I have worked with all sorts of “ Brilliant”

teachers in my 40 plus years. Sad to say intelligence is just one part of the

personality we need to lead our union. I think it is necessary for our next

President to have some guts along with brains. My uncle told me this:

“Remember guts can always buy brains”

And I want our candidate to kick Marilyn’s useless ass out of office not

Just give her a run for her money.

January 13, 2010 at 6:01 PM

By: Bob


This statement, to me, sums up the failings of the first Lynch administration:

“I watched Debbie interact with teachers when our school closed in 2002. I was not pleased and the CTU members at our school were unhappy with the representation.”

If she didn’t know that the field reps were at best a distraction, at worst the fifth column she should have, it became a fatal flaw. I hope whoever beats our current President makes sure history

does not repeat itself.

A new administration must deal in a harsh effective way with any leftover personal

Who might sabotage an effective union. If we have to pay them anyhow rent a warehouse

In say, Pullman, and let them cut out coupons all day so there is no damage to teachers.

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