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The Chicago Tribune supports -- or at least gives a pass -- to programs that put unlicensed teachers in front of students.  That’s why their recent series on teacher licensure is surprising. On Tuesday, they ran a sensational front page story without regard for the hard-working Illinois teachers who they've made into collateral damage, or several key facts.

Let's take a look at what they failed to mention.

Click here to sign the petition urging the Chicago Tribune to stop its attacks on teachers and tell the whole story.

More info under the fold.

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Thu May 15, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT

Who Is The REAL Bruce Rauner?

by Tristero 312

Bruce Rauner is a scary man. He's a billionaire running for Illinois governor. The man is so odious that for the first time in my voting life, I am pulling a Republican ballot in the primary to vote for his opponent, Kirk Dillard. Rauner acts like he's a working man trying to fix a broken system, but really he's another rich man trying to take a bigger piece of the Illinois pie. Check out this list of 10 Things You Should Know about Bruce Rauner.


Via @KenzoShibata at the Huffington Post:

I was outside the Chicago Teachers Union offices that Sunday night, Sept. 9, 2012 -- camera in hand -- as CTU President Karen Lewis declared to the media,

"Negotiations have been intense but productive, however we have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike," Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said at a dramatic 10 p.m. Sunday press conference. "Real school will not be open [Monday]. ... No CTU member will be inside our schools."

The CTU officers, flanked by teachers, paraprofessionals, and clinicians, declared the first strike for Chicago schools in 25 years. It was a somber moment. School workers were hoping to resolve the differences and bring back some student-centered wins that night. The only option at that point, without giving in to an administration that seemed determined to make even deeper cuts to the services offered to students, was a work stoppage.

Hilarious teacher signs from the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Click here to continue reading and for more video.

Chicago City Council Member George Cardenas in a tweet today advocated for the use of military drones to ensure "Safe Passage" for Chicago Public School students from their homes to their new schools, 50 of which were shut down this year.

This is the same alderman who according to Daily Kos' Hyde Park Johnny, pushed through a politically-connected yet unpopular charter school in his ward.

In one of the most brazen attempts to usurp even the authority of the powerful Rahm

Emanuel Mayor of Chicago, Alderman George Cardenas of the 12th Ward is trying to push through the Chicago Zoning committee a charter school expansion into the McKinley Park neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside. Despite the charter school operator being rejected by the Chicago Board of Education to open two charter schools Alderman Cardenas seems to think it is a good idea. There is also the Board of Education's agreement with State legislators not to open any new charter schools this year while proposing to close 60 schools the largest number of school action in the nations history that target low income minority communities.
Public Schools close, charters replace them and now drones for security?

This summer, Chicago Teachers Union is training parents, students, and rank-and-file members to organize against the draconian cuts made to education by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Starting the first week of July for a five-week period, activists are training with union organizers, participating in door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, voter registration, helping to build actions around our issues and setting up regional meetings.


Juan Williams on Trayvon Martin's murder:

I think it is race. I ink that it is -- actually not in the trial but it is in us as the American people because remember, the media initially libeled Mr. Zimmerman by making it out to be this was some white guy who attacked this black teenager with a hoodie and all of that. And then it turns out he might have been in fact, a neighborhood watch guy, who was very concerned and profiling. That's possible.
Interestingly, just last week on Fox News, Williams called the Chicago Teachers Union President a "racist" for pointing out that the fifty school closings in Chicago have a disparate impact upon African American children and that rich men in high positions made the decision to close them.

Mr. Williams seems to think that "racism" is subjective and involves words, not deeds. To him pointing out racism is racist, but racial profiling that could lead to murder is not.

Or perhaps Mr. Williams is a mouthpiece for the right-wing, attacking unions at any cost and defending stand your ground laws and vigilantism.

Last year, Williams was featured in the right-wing anti-union film "A Tale of Two Missions" which was directed by Tea Party Activist Andrew Marcus.

Clip of "Tale of Two Missions."



The Windy City is is undergoing a tumultuous historical moment, with the uprising of the Chicago Teachers Union occurring alongside the ongoing restructuring and privatization of the Chicago Public Schools system.

Most recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel oversaw the closing of 50 public schools, many of which will be replaced by charter schools. A bulk of the 550 laid-off teachers will be replaced by Teach for America contractors, many of whom teach in charter schools.

“Statewide enrollment in charter schools has surged from 6,152 students in 2000 to 54,054 this school year — with most of them in Chicago — according to the Illinois State Board of Education,” an April Chicago Tribune editorial explained. “The first charter school in Illinois opened in 1996. Now there are 132 campuses operating under 58 charters.”

A thus-far underreported story of the retooling of CPS concerns a foundation close the epicenter of it all: the Joyce Foundation.

Joyce is a major liberal foundation. President Barack Obama sat on its board of directors from 1994 to 2002, as did Valerie Jarrett, his former senior advisor and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement .

A look at major organizations dedicated to restructuring U.S. education turns up a slew of current and former upper-level Joyce staff and board members.

Between 1995 and 2012, the Joyce Foundation spent $135.58 million on education reform.

“They’re really in bed now with conservative elements nationwide,” said Mike Klonsky, a Chicago public schools activist and professor at DePaul University, in an interview with Mint Press News. “Anything that has to do with corporate-style school reform, you’ll probably see Joyce’s name in it.”

The Nation's Rick Perlstein however is optimistic about the Chicago Teachers Union's pushback.
The progressive tribes have been gathering in Chicago with force, efficiency, creativity, trust and solidarity, building a bona fide, citywide protest culture. And it’s working. Days before these marches, Mayor Emanuel, who has been talked up in some circles as possibly the first Jewish president, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I am not running for higher office—ever.” This purring protest infrastructure is one of the major reasons why.

To many national observers, this rebirth of the city’s militant protest culture seemingly came out of nowhere. But it didn’t. It’s the product of years of organizing from sources both expected and surprising. And while the radicalized CTU under the leadership of Karen Lewis has deservedly received much of the credit, the teachers union is just the current tip of the spear in a long and potentially transformative movement.


It's not hard to see that the so-called education "reformers" are doing little to actually advance schools and are using education as another venue for their boardroom antics.

From Chicago Now:

New Schools for Chicago formerly known as the Renaissance Schools Fund is a non-profit corporation that seeks to advance “school choice” in Chicago, which is a nice way of saying “selling schools to private contractors.” The Board of Directors of New Schools for Chicago is largely comprised of captains of industry, with a few exceptions, namely Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale, and newly appointed member of the School Board Deborah Quazzo. Clare Munana, a past member of the Board of Education also sits on the New Schools Board as well as two people who have privatized charter schools named after them, John Rowe, Chairman and CEO of Exelon and Bruce Rauner, gubernatorial hopeful whose sole agenda is busting Unions, specifically teachers unions.
And who is the major obstacle to this trickery? According to historian Rick Perlstein at The Nation:
The CTU beat Rahm in a historic strike this past September and hasn’t stopped fighting austerity and privatization since.

Yesterday at the Chicago Board of Education meeting, a meeting where the main topic of discussion were draconian budget cuts, students from Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools took over the meeting, blasting the Board for balancing their budget on the backs of students and teachers. "TIF" monies, which are a slush fund for Mayor Rahm Emanuel could be used to keep schools operating, but the Board made primarily of well-to-do business people who don't send their kids to public schools.  refuse to touch those reserves.

The action starts at the 2 minute mark.
Click here if the video does not display properly.


Last night, dozens of Chicagoans collected toilet paper in downtown Chicago to donate to schools in the fall.

CPS Teacher Michelle Gunderson explains why:

“In many schools, including mine, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies – and this includes toilet paper," CPS teacher Michelle Gunderson told Daily Kos. “This Tuesday, Chicago activists will gather toilet paper donations outside of an event where Barbara Byrd-Bennett, our schools chief, is proclaiming the benefits of her five year plan. What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity – the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.”
The theme for the event was included in the Twitter hashtag #CPSWipes.
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Chicago schools face severe cuts as the district unveils its new "school-based" budget plan which forced Nettlehorst Elementary School in Chicago to empty out all reserves, pink slip two teachers’ aides, and eliminate a school secretary position. Other schools are not as lucky and will be cutting teachers and resources including a commodity missing from many Chicago Schools already -- toilet paper.

Here are schools that will see a large reduction in their budgets:

Taft High School— (-) $3 million
Roosevelt High School— (-) $1.1 million
Eberhart Elementary—(-) $1.5 million
Foreman High School—(-) $1.7 million
Gage Park High School—(-) $1 million
Kenwood Academy High School—(-) $1.76 million

In many schools, there are no funds left for janitorial supplies – and this includes toilet paper.

Each school will have to make a choice next year -- teachers or toilet paper?

This Tuesday, Chicago activists will gather toilet paper donations outside of an event where Barbara Byrd-Bennett, our schools chief, is proclaiming the benefits of her five year plan.  What might seem juvenile to some is in fact a perfect metaphor for the disregard of human dignity – the Chicago Public Schools care so little about children that their basic needs are being neglected.

Details, More video, and Images after the jump.

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Hundreds of music, art, world language and core content teachers added to school rolls to enhance Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s program for a longer school day will likely be cut as a result of the new school-based budgeting model proposed by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has found that schools from across the district are seeing cuts in the magnitude of 10 percent to 25 percent as the district continues its bad governance in adding to the chaos of the 2012-2013 school year amidst a record number of school closings and an ongoing state pension crisis.

While planning massive budget cuts, the district has failed to provide concrete plans for generating revenue—either by redirecting tax increment financing (TIF) surpluses back to public schools, ending tax loopholes or raising a new tax levy for pensions that would stabilize the CPS budget and allow the district to pay the full $600 million cost instead of pushing for another pension holiday. A fair tax structure and financial transaction tax would provide more than $6 billion in revenue for schools.

“There is a literal wealth of revenue that the district has ignored,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “CPS claims to act in the interest of the children, but by cutting budgets up to 25 percent in lieu of going after potentially billions of dollars, one has to ask just how much are they really doing?”

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