Lewis and Stewart to debate at PUSH Saturday, June 5, at 10:00 a.m.

The two candidates for President of the Chicago Teachers Union, King High School Chemistry teacher Karen Lewis, of CORE, and incumbent Marilyn Stewart, of the UPC, will debate this Saturday, June 5, 2010, at Operation PUSH headquarters, 950 E. 50th St. in Chicago. The two (along with most of their caucus slates) are facing each other in a runoff to head the third largest K-12 local union in the American Federation of Teachers.

Jonathan Jackson (left), National Outreach Coordinator for Operation PUSH, has been one of Chicago's leaders in the fight against school closings, especially turnarounds. At the February 27, 2010 meeting of PUSH, Jackson hosted Xian Barrett (Julian High School teacher) and student Shantell Steve following the refusal of the Chicago Board of Education to allow Steve to read her Martin Luther King Jr. speech at the Board meeting. Since February 2010, Xian Barrett has been elected to the Executive Board of the Chicago Teachers Union as a "High School Functional Vice President". Six CORE candidates for CTU high school seats won a majority of the votes from high school teachers and will not face the June 11 runoff. Substance photo by Lara Krejca. The runoff came as a result of the failure of any of the five candidates to get a clear majority in voting on May, 21, 2010. There were five slates running in the May 21 election. Not all of the candidates for CTU offices will be facing the runoff, however. Union rules require that each individual candidate get a majority of the votes cast for that particular office. In the high schools, CORE's candidates for "high school functional vice president" received a majority out of all five slates in the May 21 voting and should not be facing any further electoral fights.

The PUSH event on June 5 is unprecedented, but the Chicago Teachers Union and Marilyn Stewart's United Progressive Caucus seem to be ignoring it. As of the morning of June 2, 2010, the CTU website ( was not mentioning the June 5 event, although it was still carrying a press release, on union stationery, describing Marilyn Stewart's May 21 "victory." Marilyn Stewart's caucus website,, was also silent on the June 5 PUSH event as of the morning of June 2.

According to a CORE announcement:

CTU Presidential Debate at Rainbow/PUSH National Headquarters Saturday, June 5th

This is the first and only public debate between Karen Lewis and Marilyn Stewart. Come out and support Karen as she goes head-to-head with the incumbent president of the CTU. Wear your CORE T-shirts and buttons. All are invited, please arrive early, this event will surely pack the house.

Rainbow/PUSH National Headquarters, 930 East 50th Street, Chicago, IL 60615, 10:00 AM

Saturday, June 5th, 2010



June 4, 2010 at 3:04 AM

By: Sarah Loftus

Stewart to shun PUSH?

Surprise! Stewart declines invite to debate at Push.

check out CTU web site

June 4, 2010 at 9:13 PM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Marilyn Stewarts Published Response to Rainbow PUSH

June 2, 2010

Transmitted via Messenger

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Founder & President

Rainbow PUSH Coalition

930 E. 50th Street

Chicago, IL 60615

Dear Rev. Jackson:

Thank you for your thoughtful invitation to participate in a debate on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Under normal circumstances, I would be delighted to participate in a second debate, but as you know and amply recognize these are not normal circumstances in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as we deal with threats of budget cuts, increased class sizes and a continuous and imminent assault on our existing contract.

Time is of the essence as we fight for our membership and the hard earned rights we have obtained. Unfortunately, the CPS leadership sees the rights of organized labor and the education of the children we serve as a secondary concern. Although elections and further debates are important, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is in the midst of negotiations to stop the CPS leadership from increasing class sizes and threatening the jobs and employment rights of our members. I hope you understand my priority at the moment.

Following these pressing negotiations, I would be honored to join you and other distinguished leaders as I have many times in the past to discuss public policy and educational concerns.

I thank you again for your kind invitation, your understanding, and for your continued support of my administration and our mutual efforts on behalf of the teachers, paraprofessionals and the children and parents we serve.


Marilyn Stewart


June 4, 2010 at 9:19 PM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Stewart's Grand Foreshadowing

I'm confused by this part: "Unfortunately, the CPS leadership sees the rights of organized labor and the education of the children we serve as a secondary concern."

She goes on to minimize the election debate and to then reinforce the primary importance of the above two points.

Am I missing something?

Also, is MS giving us some foreshadowing of a heroic move she is about to pull off to save teacher jobs right before the election?

She also refers to this proposed debate as a SECOND debate. When I asked a friend how the debate went at the latest House of Delegates meeting, he responded that wasn't a debate, Rather, Marilyn Stewart and Karen Lewis were each allowed to make a five minute speech.

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