CTU to join forces with PUSH on Saturday, February 25, at PUSH

The Chicago Teachers Union is expanding its cooperative work with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH. On Thursday, February 23, 2012, the day after the Chicago Board of Education votes against the 17 schools, CTU President Karen Lewis invited all union members to join her at the PUSH meeting on Saturday, February 25. Lewis's message follows:

Surrounded by representatives of KOCO, PUSH, and Bronzeville, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. (above at podium) is seen speaking against the school closings and turnarounds at the February 22, 2012, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education was snubbed by the members of the Board. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.February 23, 2012

Dear (Member),

We are not surprised that an unelected, unaccountable school board would vote unanimously to continue the same failed policies that have short-changed Chicago Public School students for years. We are, however, disappointed that these Board members lacked the moral courage to do the right thing. This is a travesty, and a betrayal of democracy. They are the status quo.

Despite the many protests, letters, demonstrations, testimonies, meetings, and pleas from thousands of parents, teachers, school leaders, activists, and members of the civil rights community, this seven member Board voted in its own self-interest, and not in the interest of over 7,000 school children—most of whom are black, brown, homeless or poor. They don’t care about them or the neighborhoods they come from. All they see are data points and dollar signs.

This is why Chicago has become the epicenter of the nation’s education justice fight.

We must keep standing together. We won’t be intimidated by political bullying or well-oiled PR machines. Let us send a clear message to the mayor, CPS officials and the Board: “teachers and paraprofessionals care about the education of our students” and we demand to be treated with dignity and respect. Save our schools.

The majority of senior Chicago Public School administrators who are currently drawing six-figure salaries have been with CPS for less than one year and were recruited under mysterious circumstances from the business world or from the world of charter schools. Above, David Watkins (third from right) is the new "Chief Financial Officer" (hired less than three months ago from outside CPS), while Alicia Winckler (currently "Chief Talent Officer," and formerly "Chief Human Capital Officer") came to CPS two years ago from Sears Holdings. On the right above, "Chief Portfolio Officer Oliver Sicat" learned how to run Chicago's real public schools by working for Rahm Emanuel's favorite charter school network, the Noble Street charter schools. In the background with eyes closed while Rev. Jackson was speaking is Christina Herzog, who was once budget director for Chicago Public Schools but currently serves as a consultant. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Join me at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, February 25 for “Education Justice Day,” at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Dr. King’s Workshop, 930 E. 50th Street. Wear your CTU red in a show of solidarity.

In Solidarity,

Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT

President, Chicago Teachers Union


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