Chicago Teachers Union to host 'School Closing Bus Tour' for members of the media and elected officials on Thursday April 4, 2013

In an effort to help reporters who have been covering the education stories in Chicago and elected officials get closer to the stories -- and take a break from officials data sets and talking points -- the Chicago Teachers Union is hosting a "press tour" of Chicago on Thursday, April 4, 2013. The tour is to show reporters and elected officials some of the facts behind the official abstractions provided by CPS and City Hall in the form of Power Points and spreadsheets. The tour will leave from the Service Employees International Union Health Care offices on the West Side at 10:00 a.m. and be followed by a briefing and lunch.

One of the things the majority of Chicago teachers have learned thanks to the leadership of Substance and CORE is the fact that the privatization and union busting attacks began with the passage of the "Amendatory Act of 1995," which began the mayoral control reign of hypocrisy in Chicago's public schools. Long before the first teacher lost a job in Chicago -- and while the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union via their United Progressive Caucus, under Tom Reece -- privatization had begun with the custodial workers. Only Substance during those years (1995 - 1999) was objecting to the privatization and de-unionization, while the union's leaders then were cheering Mayor Richard M. Daley and his school board. As early as 1995, Substance, then only in print, published the entire Amendatory Act and noted that it was requiring the firing of custodians and other "career service" workers and privatizing those jobs. As the closings and other privatizations grew, the impact on communities of the firing of lunchroom and custodial workers became more and more devastating, but all through the era before CORE won the CTU election in 2010, the union's leaders ignored the problem, focusing narrowly on the features of the contract that were rapidly losing protections for teachers as well. Some of those associated with the former regimes in CTU continue to play "Star Bellied Sneech" in 2013, but the majority of union members now know what solidarity means. Substance photo by Susan Zupan. PRESS NOTICE SENT OUT APRIL 2, 2013:

Dear Member of the Press,

By now I am sure you know about the Chicago Public Schools' plan to reshuffle 30,000 public school students in its latest round of school closings, consolidations, phase-outs, and turnarounds. These actions will leave 61 buildings empty and add to the portfolio of empty school buildings collected by the district over the last 12 years. In addition, mass closings will cost Chicago Public Schools (CPS) nearly $1 billion.

To be clear, this is the largest school closing operation undertaken by any city in our nation's history. This year's round of school closings will have a significant impact on students' educations, their safety, and the economic life and vitality of the neighborhoods where these school closings will take place. This action will have a significant impact on African American and Latino students.

In response, the Chicago Teachers Union has organized a bus tour for elected officials and members of the press of school communities destabilized by school closings. The tour starts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 4 and will depart from SEIU Healthcare Illinois, 940 W. Adams St.

The excursion, which examines communities targeted for current and previous closure, will last approximately two (2) hours. After the bus tour participants will return to SEIU for a debriefing session and lunch. There are limited number of seats available for members of the working media. To RSVP please email or contact me at . Thank you for any consideration.

P.S. Route details will not be released in advance of the tour.

With regards,

Stephanie Gadlin

Communications Director

Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

222 Merchandise Mart, 4th Floor

Chicago, IL 60654

PHONE: 312-329-6250

FAX: 312-329-9200



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