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CTU to take major resolutions to the Illinois Federation of Teachers

The delegation from the Chicago Teachers Union to the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) convention in St. Louis from October 15 to October 17 will be bringing some major resolutions in opposition to current corporate "reform" policies. At the union's September 15 House of Delegates meeting, an overwhelming majority of the delegates from Chicago's remaining 600 public schools approved six resolutions, drafted by the union's new leadership and approved by the CTU executive board, to go before the IFT in October. Each of the resolutions challenges some previous positions taken by the IFT, and in most cases also challenges positions taken by the national American Federation of Teachers (AFT) at the Seattle convention in July (when AFT President Randi Weingarten invited billionaire Bill Gates to speak to the convention and snubbed the militant labor movement history in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

The resolutions are published below as they were approved by the CTU House of Delegates.

PROPOSED IFT RESOLUTIONS

The following resolutions were adopted by the Executive Board on Monday, September 13, 2010:

RESOLUTION NO. 1. REPEAL SECTION 4.5 OF THE IELRA (ALSO KNOWN AS THE 1995 AMENDATORY ACT)

WHEREAS, the 1995 reform of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) gave control of the Chicago Public Schools to the mayor in order to improve them, but has led directly to the marginalization of all other stakeholders (students, parents, community partners and educators) from having input as to the functioning of the schools; and

WHEREAS, mayoral control of the Chicago Public Schools has led to the destruction of neighborhood schools, layoffs of qualified educators, failed privatization models and attacks on the bargaining rights of members of the Chicago Teachers Union; and

WHEREAS, mayoral control of schools and the destruction associated with it has become a model of “reform” in other states across the country, weakening union locals and failing to truly address the educational needs of students; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of the IELRA is to regulate labor relations between all educational employers and educational employees in the state including the negotiation of wages, hours and other conditions of employment; and

WHEREAS, Section 4.5 of the IELRA removes all bargaining rights except for the negotiation of wages from educational employees (whose territorial boundaries are coterminous with those of a city having a population in excess of 500,000) in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, the determination of class size, class staffing and assignment, class schedules, academic calendar, hours and places of instruction are important issues that directly affect the educational achievement of students and these issues are not included in the bargaining rights for educational employees (whose territorial boundaries are coterminous with those of a city having a population in excess of 500,000) in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, class size, class staffing and assignment, class schedules, academic calendar, hours and places of instruction directly affect students’ ability to achieve academic success and these issues are directly related to schools’ ability to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and avoid school turnaround procedures; and

WHEREAS, the lack of ability to achieve AYP leads to school turnarounds and school closures where schools are replaced by non-union charter schools; and

WHEREAS, few, if any, charter schools have shown to effectively increase the academic level of its students, especially those whose communities lack other educational outlets, thus requiring these students to leave their immediate community in order to receive the mandated education required by the state of Illinois until the child is 17 years old; and

WHEREAS, students of color make up 92 percent of turnaround schools which disproportionately inhibits these students from receiving the mandated education; and

WHEREAS, Section 4.5 of the IELRA removes the protection of the rights of the educational employee and does not promote the harmonious relationship required between educational employers and their employees thus contradicting the purpose of the IELRA; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers support the Chicago Teachers Union in a campaign to raise public awareness of the negative impact on students of Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act in Chicago and its potential to be expanded to affect other areas in Illinois; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT immediately and actively lobby state legislators through all possible means to sponsor a bill to repeal Section 4.5 of the IELRA.

Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

RESOLUTION NO. 2. OPPOSITION TO “RACE TO THE TOP”

WHEREAS, Race to the Top (RttT) has further encouraged the creation of schools run by private operators, but funded with public monies, that do not have the same accountability and transparency as existing public schools; and

WHEREAS, RttT includes teacher evaluations, based on student test scores that have proven to be an invalid, unreliable and inconsistent method to measure student achievement and teacher instruction; and

WHEREAS, RttT punishes teachers, schools and school districts that serve populations with high percentages of students that are low performing. This competition undermines these schools that serve children living in poverty and suffering other social ills who need the most help; and

WHEREAS, RttT seeks to undermine the contracts of teachers unions and the collective bargaining process; and

WHEREAS, RttT encourages the closing and turnaround of schools, which has led to increased violence and destabilization of urban communities; and

WHEREAS, RttT has been criticized by several national civil rights organizations, including the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Rainbow PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), for encouraging competition to receive federal funding rather than assisting schools based on their needs; and

WHEREAS, RttT encourages the expansion of charter schools, which have been proven to make no difference in achievement compared to traditional public schools; and

WHEREAS, RttT will limit the scope and opportunity of students’ curriculum due to its reliance on standardized test scores; and

WHEREAS, the Illinois Federation of Teachers worked to elect President Obama to be a positive force for education, not to promote programs like RttT that undermine public education and the teachers and other dedicated professionals who staff our public schools; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers lobby to repeal the Race to the Top competition; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT declare no confidence in the Obama administration’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his RttT policy; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT call upon the federal government and the U.S. Department of Education to fund schools based on their needs; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT call upon elected representatives at the federal, state and local levels to support struggling schools and the teachers and other dedicated professionals who staff our public schools.

Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

RESOLUTION NO. 3. CALL FOR A MORATORIUM ON SCHOOL CLOSURES

WHEREAS, Illinois ranks 3rd in the nation with 117,541 students in schools in Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools eligible for school closure (as of July 9, 2010) under the 2001 law NCLB; and

WHEREAS, Tier 1 and Tier 2 NCLB schools risk four major closure models (turnaround, restart, school closure or transformation) without consent or input from students or parents; and

WHEREAS, all four intervention models are imposed upon the community, instead of developed with the school community; and

WHEREAS, all four interventions focus on structural change, rather than educational change; and

WHEREAS, all four interventions are refuted by evidence and research on what types of reform effectively impact student academic success; and

WHEREAS, 81 percent of students in these schools are students of color and none of the four intervention models attempts in any way to gain collaboration with these already disenfranchised communities, or analyze in any systematic way other factors that may lead to poor performance, such as funding inequities in the district, enrollment practices that lead to concentrations of high need students, district staffing projections or social and economic developments; and

WHEREAS, school closures deeply disrupt the social and community capital of neighborhoods and potentially transfer students to other underperforming schools or schools outside the neighborhood lacking safe passage; and

WHEREAS, politicians and policymakers have used school closures as a tool to gentrify neighborhoods, decrease union membership and promote business objectives instead of best educational practices; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers actively lobby the Illinois legislature for a moratorium on school closures in its state; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT commission studies examining the educational and social impact school closures have had on student academics, safety, stability and community input; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT work with local and national affiliates to expose the for-profit business motivations that underlie school closures in the state of Illinois.

Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

RESOLUTION NO. 4. CALL FOR AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD FOR CHICAGO

WHEREAS, since 1995 when the Illinois General Assembly placed Chicago Public Schools (CPS) under control of the Chicago city mayor, we have seen the systemic flaws evident in the appointed school board of that city. The negative impact of the currently appointed school board is self-evident but includes:

• Dictatorial management of the CPS with little to no respect for teaching staff; • Excessive expenditures on non-classroom items, including consultants, that now consume more than 40 percent of the CPS budget; • The slow but persistent transfer of public assets to private entities through the privatization of the public schools; • The under-serving of CPS children through continued mismanagement of public assets and continuous misunderstanding of students’ educational needs; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Unioncall upon the Illinois General Assembly see the solution to this ineffectual autocratic form of management as an elected school board and call upon the Illinois General Assembly to formulate and pass the laws to effectuate an elected school board for this change Chicago. Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

 Adopted  Adopted as amended  Defeated  Tabled  Other

RESOLUTION NO. 5. ENDING CHARTER SCHOOL PROLIFERATION

WHEREAS, it has always been the intention of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and its affiliates to improve education so that every student, especially the most disadvantaged, in Illinois will graduate high school ready for college or a career;

and WHEREAS, excellence and innovation have always been hallmarks of traditional public schools where professional union educators teach students across the state and not solely the mark of private or charter schools;

and WHEREAS, the original intent of charter schools was to enhance student learning and NOT to compete with, takeover or cause the closing of traditional public schools that are now being unjustly closed or turned around and their qualified teaching forces displaced;

and WHEREAS, charter schools take over pre-existing public school buildings, are awarded newly constructed school buildings that are publicly funded, receive federal charter-only grant money, receive state bonds earmarked for individual charter operators and benefit financially by diverting taxpayer dollars for private enterprises – all with little or no parent, community, student or teacher union participation of substantive input; and

WHEREAS, traditional public neighborhood schools continue to accept ALL students and a preponderance of charter schools only enroll select students; and

WHEREAS, according to the Stanford University Center for Research on Educational Outcomes Study, 83 percent of charter schools perform worse than or fail to provide any measurable improvement over their traditional fully public counterparts, and 37 percent of those charter schools performed worse than traditional public schools; and

WHEREAS, when key resources and people from charter operators, corporation and private foundations such as the Gates Foundation continue to have an increasing influence and presence in Arne Duncan’s Department of Education within President Obama’s administration, a greater emphasis is placed on privatization and profit than real education reform; and

WHEREAS, Bill Gates recently stated publicly at the National Charter School convention in Chicago on June 29, 2010 that the charter school movement “is the only place innovation will come from”; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers support policies and legislation that put a moratorium on the creation of new charters, charter clones and other schools that divert public education funds into corporate models; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT demand all existing charter schools to be held as accountable and transparent as regular public schools, in regards to student progress and achievement, budget, funding and influence of corporate and private interests and entities; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT lobby for changes in legislation to allow existing charter schools to join large existing union locals rather than being forced to form their own small affiliate or work to close them; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT support local union efforts to march, petition, rally, hold media events, mobilize its members and utilize the help of supportive community partners and use all resources at its disposal to dispel the myths about the success of charter schools compared to traditional public schools, to expose the inequalities that exist within the funding and management of public education and to improve the public perception of public education.

Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

RESOLUTION NO. 6. REPEAL OF ILLINOIS SENATE BILL 1946

WHEREAS, both city and state governments have the responsibility to adequately provide actuarially derived contributions to maintain the financial viability of pension plans; and

WHEREAS, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union are committed to preserving and protecting the traditional defined benefit pension plans for Illinois and Chicago teachers and are committed to working with members, public officials and any other interested parties to encourage and support policy decisions that guarantee retirement security for teachers; and

WHEREAS, the IFT and CTU support teacher pension plans that are designed to:

• Assure self-sufficiency for retirees by providing a predictable benefit that is guaranteed for life, including cost-effective disability and survivor benefits; and

• Create a high performance workforce by providing a benefit that will attract and retain quality and highly-trained public employees; and

• Lower overall benefit costs by pooling the risk of outliving retirement benefits and of investment losses over the total number of participants; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers push for the repeal or suspension of fiscally irresponsible laws such as SB 1946 (2010) that have reduced employer contribution to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund by $1.2 billion over the next three years.

Submitted by Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1 



Comments:

September 23, 2010 at 7:32 AM

By: Chris

Resolution to the IFT

Congratulations!

The CTU legal team/leadership are doing smart,hope effective move in order to built muscle of the organization.

They also are very successful in organizing.

One problem is the contract enforcement.Unqualified people,hired because of the political connections are unable to properly represent members.Therefore,the leadership,in spite of accomplishment could be perceived negatively as a result of low quality work performed on the low level.

The other ,rather optimistic thing is a fact that mayoral control over schools caused more negative sentiment and blames on the mayor.It is very likely,that future mayor of Chicago will decide to free himself from the responsibilities for school performance.

January 2, 2011 at 8:30 PM

By: Juli Roenfeldt

telephone

Please remove me from your calling list immediately. I would like no more prerecorded messages calling during my dinner or on a Sunday evening.

773 - 404 - 8987

January 2, 2011 at 9:14 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

We don't do robo calls

Dear "Juli". You sent that message (Comment) above to Substance, a news service and newspaper. We don't do robo calls and have no idea what "calling list" you are talking about. Sorry you're receiving calls on a Sunday night (on New Year's weekend, no less), but trust me, it's not from SubstanceNews.

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