Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign (CTSC) press conference at Malcolm X College before budget hearings showed widespread support for the CTU, and denounced the Board of Education's attacks on the city's real public schools and unions

The newly formed Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign held its first press conference on July 11, 2012 in front of Malcolm X College, where hearings were scheduled to be held that evening on the new proposed Chicago Public Schools budget. A new Labor Beat video is available on the press conference and worth watching (Length 4:30). The video includes excerpts from remarks by: Lorraine Chavez (CTSC); Steven Ashby (CTSC); David Hernandez (Teacher, Little Village Lawndale High School; Jo Patton (AFSCME); Martese Chism (RN, President of National Nurses Organizing Committee - Region 13); Michael Caref (Vice Pres., Letter Carriers Branch 11 - Chicago). The YouTube link is:

Michael Caref (Vice President of Letter Carriers union Branch 11 - Chicago) speaks at the press conference in solidarity with Chicago teachers prior to the Malcolm X budget hearings on July 11, 2012. Photo by Labor Beat.The press conference preceded the tumultuous hearings that were held inside on the Chicago Public Schools' $5.2 billion budget proposed for the 2012 - 2013 school year.

Among the speakers were Steven Ashby, a professor at the University of Illinois, who denounced the way in which the Board of Education holds sham "hearings" and then votes unanimously for whatever program the mayor has demanded. "They [the mayor and the Board] have taken a baseball bat to a hornet’s nest…" Ashby said, alluding to the strong possibility of a teachers' strike. He also noted that solidarity members "will cross the city to support the teachers…" in the coming weeks.

Wearing his now famous CTU tee shirt, Little Village High School teacher David Hernandez talked about the various ways the Board of Education has been undermining good education, from extending the school year to the budget being presented (which includes 182 fewer teaching positions than last year, even though the number of students in the system will remain basically the same).

Jo Patton AFSCME reminded the people that the Chicago Teachers Union is simply insisting on a fair contract that includes improving things for all of the children (and not just those in select communities).

Martese Chism, a Cook County nurse, noted that the budget "is pitting charter schools against public schools", a criticism that would be echoed during the hearings inside Malcolm X an hour later.

Representing another group of public workers under attack by the wave of privatization, Michael Caref, of the Letter Carriers union pledged “absolute solidarity with the CTU in their ongoing struggle for a decent contract…” Caref noted to cheers that he has three children in Chicago Public Schools, and two more on the way…”

The new video is the first on the budget to be produced by Chicago's Labor Beat. There were three hearings held simultaneously on July 11, with the unprecedented aim on the part of the Board of reducing the amount of public participation in the budget process to an all-time low. The Board also scheduled the hearings at the time when many school activists, including the officers of the Chicago Teachers Union, were committed to a conference on education on the West Side.

The Solidarity Campaign and virtually everyone else who participated in the budget hearings has promised to bring out people to protest the budget at the Board of Education's July 25 meeting, which will be held at the Board's Loop headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. Please make a Donation to Labor Beat (Committee for Labor Access) and help rank-and-file tv:

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