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Several hundred teachers and allies protest at Chicago's City Hall on first of four 'furlough days'...

Flanked by CTU staff, members, and supporters, CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson spoke at a press conference at Chicago's City Hall on February 3, 2017. The event was a protest against the imposition of four "furlough days" against workers in Chicago Public Schools. Substance photo by David R. Stone.Several hundred Chicago Teachers Union staff, union members, and supporters joined together to protest at Chicago's City Hall on February 3, 2017, the first of four 'furlough days' imposed on school workers by Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool.

"Enough is enough!" declared Michael Brunson, the Chicago Teachers Union recording secretary. Brunson was speaking at a press conference and rally organized by the union on Friday, February 3, 2017, inside Chicago's City Hall. February 3 day was the first of four "furlough days" recently imposed by Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool to cut the pay of CPS teachers and staff.

The protest against the furlough days and other budget cuts imposed by Claypool was organized by the CTU. Brunson pointed out the racist and sexist impact of Claypool's cuts, which fall most heavily on female members of the workforce, such as school clerks, and on neighborhood schools where the students tend to be Black and Latino.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi asked the crowd of more than 200 Chicago Teachers Union members and supporters at a rally inside Chicago City Hall on Friday, February 3, 2017, to help him fight for fair funding from the state government for public education. Guzzardi said there are many causes of the budget crisis that is hurting public schools, but "the most immediate cause is Governor Bruce Rauner." Not only did Rauner veto legislation that would have funded Chicago Public Schools pensions, but when the governor does support funding for public education, the funds go disproportionately to richer and whiter school districts, not to CPS and other needy school districts serving ethnic and racial minorities, Guzzardi said. Substance photo by David R. Stone
Another speaker at the rally was State Rep. Will Guzzardi. Guzzardi asked the crowd of more than 200 Chicago Teachers Union members and supporters to help him fight for fair funding from the state government for public education. He said there are many causes of the budget crisis that is hurting public schools, but "the most immediate cause is Governor Bruce Rauner." Not only did Rauner veto legislation that would have funded Chicago Public Schools pensions, but when the governor does support funding for public education, the funds go disproportionately to richer and whiter school districts, not to CPS and other needy school districts serving ethnic and racial minorities, Guzzardi said.



Comments:

February 5, 2017 at 10:43 PM

By: Theresa D. Daniels

CPS Furlough Injustice

Thanks for the info, David. It's a vicious way that CPS, the mayor, and Rauner deal with the teachers and the schools.

Terry

February 6, 2017 at 9:41 PM

By: Susan Hickey, LCSW

Friday's 'Teach-In'

The teach-in began as an idea that the Clinician Steering Committee came up with at our January Steering Committee meeting. Our plan was to go to a school or maybe more than one to stage an attempt to have a Professional Development on trauma for school staff. We were going to set up a mental/medical clinic for students and their parents. CTU staff decided to take it to CTU leadership and it was decided to make it a larger event and stage it on the fifth floor of City Hall.

We were given a time slot between two other teach-ins. The first one was on how to inform undocumented students of their rights in dealing with Trump's threats to deport them and their families.

We had the middle tech-in which was to give those who came resources and talk about the signs of trauma to look for with their students. When asked if they had any students that was dealing with trauma, virtually everyone raised their hands. I gave them some data: only 285 social workers, under 200 school psychologists, the out of control violence to name a few contributing factors to the mental health crisis in Chicago. I showed them the last copy of the Crisis Manual and very few people even knew it exists! Melissa Holmes had everyone do what is called a 'body scan'- a form a yoga/relaxation that she does with her students. She encouraged them to have their students do it often. I passed out a sheet for them to receive the manual along with a template to develop an individual crisis plan. Along with that, they got a bereavement pamphlet done a few years back with the power point that a clinician committee put together with an AFT grant.

The third part focused on financial resources that CPS and Chicago need to use to generate funds for the cash strapped schools. This was very timely given today's announcement of even more budgetary cuts to schools.

February 9, 2017 at 5:21 PM

By: Jean Schwab

The Rally

I went to the rally and was surprised at how many came and that so many people stayed for the teach-in. It was a success. I met a teacher of a school on the Northwest side who also stayed for the teach-in. She told me that she wished that the rally had been only about the furlough. We talked about trauma and how living in a violent neighborhood is traumatic. She said that students from her school also suffer from trauma but is usually caused by divorce in about 50% of the children. She shared with me that MANY TEACHERS WERE MAD ABOUT THE CONTRACT BUT NOT HER. SHE REMEMBERS THAT IN THE 1970S, 5,000 TEACHERS WERE LAID OFF. SHE SAID THAT SOME TEACHERS IN HER BUILDING FELT WE SHOULD HAVE GONE ON STRIKE WHEN WE HAD A CHANCE BUT SHE DOES NOT AGREE. A STRIKE MAY CAUSE US TO BE OUT A LONG TIME WIYHOUT PAY AND WE MAY NOT GET A RAISE. I THINK IN THIS TIME OF TRUMP WE NEED TO TRUST OUR UNION LEADERS AND COME TOGETHER TO RID OURSELVES OF TRUMP AND HIS BUDDIES. Our leaders have been working for us and our students. We must work together instead of bickering.

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