CTU Scores More Victories after Alderman Runoff... Moratorium on charter school expansion should have widespread support in new City Council

Now that the first venture into Chicago aldermanic politics has ended, the Chicago Teachers Union will have the time to assess the fruits of its labors and to follow up with the candidates as the new City Council takes office with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 16. It's possible to sum up the experience in a few numbers, then to follow the results over the next four years. CTU endorsed candidates for City Council had 19 wins and 12 losses.

The loss of 6th Ward alderman Freddreena Lyle (above, speaking against the "turnaround" of Deneen Elementary School on February 10, 2010) was a disappointment to both the Chicago Teachers Union and to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, both of whom had supported her. Lyle lost the April 5 runoff to Roderick Sawyer, son of former mayor Eugene Sawyer. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.One of the upsets in last week's aldermanic runnoff election was the defeat of Ald. Freddrenna Lyle to Roderick Sawyer, the son of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, in the Sixth Ward.

Lyle, who was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union and other unions, was a favorite of working class people across the city. She supported the living wage ordinance, which Daley defeated after he cast his only veto ever in office.

She spoke out fiercely against the privatization of Chicago's public education when she lambasted the Academy of Urban School Leadership, or AUSL, at a school closing hearing last year. As a result, business groups targeted her candidacy. But she still had widespread support. It came as a surprise to some observers that newly elected mayor Rahm Emanuel supported Lyle in her runoff, which she gladly accepted, noting that her constituency supported the former congressman who served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff. But Emanuel is a big supporter of privatization, union busting and corporate power. He is demanding Chicago teachers give up the right to strike.

So strangely enough - the CTU and Emanuel both lost in the 6th ward.

The new 45th Ward alderman John Arena won with a margin of fewer than 30 votes.The closest race in 2011 — an possibly in City Council history — was in the 45th Ward, where John Arena defeated John Garrido by less than 30 votes (depending upon the account, it was 24, 28, or 29 votes out of more than 12,000 that gave Arena the margin of victory). Arena was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union and told radio listeners that he supported public education and that charters have not been a proven method to help educate children. Emanuel did not endorse him, but they have spoken, he said.

The CTU Political Action Committee (of which this reporter is a member of) had endorsed the following candidates in their runoffs: John Rice (36th), Tim Cullerton (38th), Mary O'Connor (41st), Tim Egan (43rd), John Arena (45th), and James Cappleman (46th).

Cullerton, O'Connor, Arena and Cappleman all won.

The CTU endorsed the following candidates prior to the Feb. election who were also in the runoff: Freddrenna Lyle (6th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Latasha Thomas (17th), Che Smith (20th), Cuauhtemoc Morfin (25th), and Debra Silverstein (50th).

Foulkes, Thomas and Silverstein all won.

So in the runoff the CTU endorsed 12 candidates, where 7 won and 5 lost. Before the runoff, the CTU had endorsed 24 candidates, where 12 won and 6 lost. So the CTU endorsed candidates had 19 wins and 11 loses.

So now the question for Chicago teachers and defenders of public education is whether or not these elected alderman who signed the pledge for no more charter schools in their wards hold to their promise now that Emanuel is chomping at the bit. Emanuel said he supported alderman who want education reform (privatization, charter schools, turnarounds), some of whom had signed the charter moratorium pledge.

A reminder of who signed the charter school moratorium pledge and won — Bob Fioretti (2), Pat Dowell (3), Will Burns (4), Toni Foulkes (15), Ricardo Munoz (22), Leslie Hairston (5), Ariel Reboyras (30) and John Arena (45).

The CTU had decided to not endorse Joann Thompson (16), who won her runoff despite not getting the union support she had received in the past. Thompson is a big supporter of AUSL. She told the Holmes Elementary community hearing on a possible turnaround in which the entire staff would be fired, that the teachers were no good.

Real estate westsider Michael Chandler won back his seat in the 24th ward against incumbent Sharon Dixon. Chandler had introduced his infamous Chandler resolution to put a moratorium on all school closings until research proved the effects would not be harmful to the children, he claimed. While 40 of the 50 aldermen signed on to the moratorium five years ago, Chandler did not take his resolution to the floor for a vote.

Dowell introduced a moratorium on school closings this past year in which there were city council hearings. However, like Chandler, the resolution was never voted on in the education committee.

While voter turnout was just under 50% in the mayor election (which was highly pumped with no Daley), the alderman election saw only about 24% voter turnout, according to the Sun Times.

Chicago dirty politics allegedly took place in the 25th ward where the CTU was very active to get Morfin elected over Danny Solis. According to the Huffington Post, observers noted that a "white short bus" brought in about 25 people who were paid $20 to $25 to vote for Solis.


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