Jessie Sharkey announces he will not run for President

During the February House of Delegates meeting CTU President Jesse Sharkey announced that he will not run for election in upcoming Union leadership vote on May 20th 2022. He mentioned he is going to go back into the classroom.


February 3, 2022 at 9:46 AM

By: John S. Whitfield

Addressing teacher shortages in Illinois

Two bills address shortage of teachers in Illinois

Senate panel endorses bills to let retired teachers work more days


Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Two bills aimed at relieving the state’s teacher shortage, at least in the short term, advanced out of a Senate committee Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously endorsed two bills that would allow retired teachers to work as substitutes more days in a school year without losing any of their pension benefits.

“We all know that teacher the shortage is significant and it had been prior to COVID, and we were already trying to find a solution,” said Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, the Senate majority leader. “But once COVID hit, it’s exacerbated because of the social distancing that’s required. Many school districts have classrooms that have far too many children in them, which is requiring that additional staffing.”

Lightford was speaking in favor of Senate Bill 3201, by Sen. Napoleon Harris, D-Harvey. In its current form, it would extend the return-to-work limit for downstate teachers in the Illinois Teachers Retirement System to 150 days from its current 120 days. But Harris said he intends to amend the bill to drop the proposed limit to 140 days to satisfy concerns from teachers unions.

Allowing retired teachers more flexibility to return to work was one of the recommendations of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools when they released their annual survey in January in which 88 percent of the districts responding said they had a shortage of full-time teachers, while 96 percent said they had a shortage of substitute teachers.

But that would only be a short-term solution. A similar bill is pending in the House that would extend the return-to-work limit only through June 30 of this year. Harris, however, said he thinks it should be extended through the 2022-2023 academic year as well.

“I’d like to keep it until the following school year due to the fact that this school year is pretty much almost over,” he said.

He said extending it through June 2023 would “give the school districts and administrators time to navigate the teacher shortage” that is happening “all across our state and the country.”

The committee also advanced SB3465, by Sen. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, which would offer a similar option for teachers who retired from Chicago Public Schools. It would allow those retired teachers to return to work in “subject shortage areas” through June 30, 2024, without losing pension benefits.

Martwick said the bill is identical to one that passed last year that applied only to downstate teachers.

“This extends the same provisions to the Chicago Public Schools,” Martwick said. “It would allow them to hire back retired teachers, but they would have to go through a whole process that would declare them as an area suffering a shortage.”

Both bills advanced out of the committee on 13-0 votes, although Harris said he plans to bring his bill back with an amendment.

Monday’s hearing was held virtually. Although lawmakers had been planning to return to in-person meetings this week, those plans were canceled due to the storm zeroing in on central Illinois Wednesday and Thursday.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

February 3, 2022 at 11:51 AM

By: John Kugler

CORE Political Expediency

Jesse stepping aside at this moment is an extraordinary announcement since the CORE slating process has been running for almost a year and has been completed, so it begs the question: Did this decision get made after Members First announced its slate?

Are the current Union's decisions for political correctness to stay in power, rather than what is suitable for the membership?

The facts are indisputable, Jesse Sharkey is stepping down as a candidate for Union leadership in February, only a few months before an election, rather than during the slating in August of 2021 when a lot of work was put into the process. Was this all part of the plan to adjust at the last minute? Did polling data show a woman versus woman contest was a better chance for CORE to retain CTU leadership in the upcoming May 20, 2022 officer elections? It is a slap in the face to rank-and-file members of CORE for whatever reason this decision was made.

Stacy Davis Gates, who is now presumed to be the CORE candidate for CTU President, comes from the political class in South Bend, Indiana. She is not part of the working class or immigrant working poor as she portrays herself. If you listen to her talk, you can see that it's not authentic, and it is put together to appease the audience she is speaking to, rather than speaking as a worker or native Chicagoan having grown up going to the Chicago Public Schools.

Stacy has changed how she talks and looks from 2-3 years ago to today. She is being coached to adjust her speaking to a broader constituency. CORE decisions are run on polling, and this is a reactive decision that has nothing to do with what is best for the Union. CORE was caught before when Karen stepped down, elevating Stacy to the VP position without going through the proper process in August of 2018. It took a petition and a special CORE meeting to stop Stacy from bypassing the nomination procedures for becoming an Officer Candidate 4 years ago.

The history of the CORE leadership includes Jackson Potter and Jennifer Johnson trying to bypass the membership when making decisions. Remember, it is about what is "best for the movement." Sometimes, the membership needs help understanding what is best for the people.

Alternatively, to say it better, this decision by CORE for Jesse to step aside is for political expediency rather than what is suitable for the rank and file members.

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