"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, May 21, 2010


Big day in Chicago with a major union vote taking place. Below is the slate for the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE). Be sure to check them out.

If we pull together, we can win!

CORE’s plan for CTU

1. Get everyone on board with a common strategy.

  • Get the 5 caucuses and other leaders together in the same place and come up with a series of steps on which we can agree.
  • Mobilize our Union into fighting shape for contract negotiations in 2012.

2. Mobilize the union against the Budget Cuts.

  • Inform the membership on the specifics of CPS/Chicago waste (TIF budget, the money for charters and turnarounds, the capital reserves, etc.)
  • Get teachers out into the public debate. Show the public our side of the story and give confidence to our own members.
  • Don’t let CPS divide us—new teachers facing layoffs and veteran teachers facing the threat of re-opening the contract have to fight these cuts together.
  • Plan a summer of trainings, outreach and strategy sessions.

3. Fix the public image of teachers and teachers unions.

  • CPS sets up many schools to fail and then blames teachers and other school employees. Publicize the root causes of low achievement and organize around solutions to those causes.
  • Mobilize the union so the press cannot ignore us.
  • Go on the offensive against charters, turnarounds, and CPS privatization schemes. Every major study has found that they DO NOT produce better results!
  • Use the alternative media, new media, and web 2.0 to get our message out.
  • Use call-in shows, letters to-the-editor, blogs, and similar opportunities to get our side of the story out.

4. Reach out to community groups, parents and students.

  • Help every school make connections to community, parent and student groups and ask them to join the fight against the destruction of our schools.
  • Enlist other labor unions in the fight.

5. Improve contract enforcement.

  • Set clear job expectations for field reps and let CTU members evaluate those who work in the office.
  • Get substitute coverage for members so that union delegates and other teachers can learn more about contract enforcement. They will then be empowered to handle routine contract violations directly.

6. Improve internal Union communication.

  • Establish a letters section, an ‘answers to commonly asked questions,’ and meaningful discussion of key questions that face our union in the Chicago Union Teacher.
  • Bring the website into the 21st century. Give members instant access to news, updates, leaflets, and establish a member-to-member discussion board.
  • Contract orientation for every new union member.
  • Organize calls to delegates at least once a month for information on their school issues.

7. Develop a legal strategy.

  • Sue the state of Illinois over unequal funding, as those in other states have done successfully.
  • File more disparate impact lawsuits to force CPS to bring back veteran teachers displaced from closed and turned around schools. We have lost two thousand African American teachers in six years.
  • Take legal action against large class sizes and other issues.

8. Develop a Political strategy.

  • Stop giving money to state and local politicians who hurt us.
  • Take on Daley, head-on; not behind closed doors.
  • Report cards for elected officials. If you bring charter school pork-spending to the city, you FAIL!

9. Fight for our contract.

  • Doing all these things will put us in shape to win against the city by building the power of our union.

For a Union with a clear vision of what we need to be strong again,


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