Analysis: Striking Chicago teachers take on national education reform (Reuters)

By Stephanie Simon and James B. Kelleher

Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:15pm EDT

(Reuters) – Chicago teachers walking picket lines on Monday, in a strike that has closed schools across the city, are taking on not just their combative mayor but a powerful education reform movement that is transforming public schools across the United States.

The new vision, championed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who used to run Chicago’s schools, calls for a laser focus on standardized tests meant to gauge student skills in reading, writing and math. Teachers who fail to raise student scores may be fired. Schools that fail to boost scores may be shut down.

And the monopoly that the public sector once held on public schools will be broken with a proliferation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run – and typically non-union.

To reformers, both Democrats and Republicans, these changes offer the best hope for improving dismal urban schools. Many teachers, however, see the new policies as a brazen attempt to shift public resources into private hands, to break the power of teachers unions, and to reduce the teaching profession to test preparation.

For complete article go here

Day One

Their fight is our fight!

From DriXander’s photos – http://yfrog.com/h2g6umij

Join us in Solidarity with Chicago Teachers →

Donate to the Solidarity Fund →

After a day of picketing in front of local schools with many families and communities rooting them on, the Chicago Teachers Union made downtown Chicago into a sea of red as day one of the strike moved into the early evening. It’s been twenty-five years since the union had struck. The focus of this historic strike is not about pay, but instead standing up against policies  that are a “brazen attempt to shift public resources into private hands, to break the power of teachers unions, and to reduce the teaching profession to test preparation” (see Reuters article).

CTU President, Karen Lewis, also explains why CTU is on strike at Common Dreams.

As a national Network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG), we believe Chicago teachers are in a crucial battle to defend public education and make schools more equitable and just. The outcome of this struggle will not only impact the people of Chicago, but also set the tone for promoting educational equity across the nation.  Their fight is our fight.  We will be continuing to ask educators, school social workers, parents, students, youth workers, and any concerned community members to join us in support and solidarity for the CTU teachers as they stand up to the powerful forces aligned to dismantle public education.

For background on the strike and the reform movement that CTU is standing up against go here. You can also catch some of the conversation on yesterday’s Democracy Now

Here Pauline Lipman of TAG member organization, Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago), examines the strike and the conditions necessitating the strike with Amy Goodman

Here, Phil Cantor, a teacher and strike captain at Chicago’s North-Grand High School and member of Teachers for Social Justice, and Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, the mother of two public school students in Chicago and a member of the grassroots group Parents 4 Teachers, discuss the strike.

Stay up to date and make your pledge.

TAG will continue to be presenting updates on our home page. Last night contract negotiations continued with both sides deciding to consider new proposals that have been presented.

In the mean time please make your pledge of support and ask others you know to do the same.

There are many ways to pledge your support but below are just a few ideas:

  • Teach about labor history and the importance of unions for working people;
  • Organize a discussion and solidarity statement in my school, educational program, or community;
  • Push my union to send a statement of solidarity to the CTU;
  • Donate to the CTU solidarity fund here

Donate to the Solidarity Fund →

 

Democracy Now: Chicago Teachers Strike Could Portend Referendum on Obama Admin’s Approach to Education Reform

Democracy Now interview with Teachers for Social Justice member Professor Pauline Lipman

From Democracy Now
Monday, September 10, 2012

The showdown in Chicago — the nation’s third-largest school district — pits teachers against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff. Emanuel remains a close ally to Obama, while many of the policies at issue in Chicago are being pushed on a national scale by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Chicago Public Schools chief. We’re joined by Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education and member of Teachers for Social Justice. [includes rush transcript]

Guest:

Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is also the director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the university and is on the coordinating committee for Teachers for Social Justice.

Democracy Now: Striking Teachers, Parents Join Forces to Oppose “Corporate” Education Model in Chicago

From Democracy Now
Monday, September 10, 2012

To discuss the Chicago teachers’ strike, we’re joined by two guests: Phil Cantor, a teacher and strike captain at Chicago’s North-Grand High School and member of Teachers for Social Justice, and Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, the mother of two public school students in Chicago and a member of the grassroots group Parents 4 Teachers.

Stay up to date on the Strike

In addition to checking out the TAG page, here is a nice list of sites to keep up on the CTU strike from Leia Petty in NYC.

To stay informed about the strike, pickets and solidarity events via text:
Chicago Teachers Solidarity Committee – Text ctsc2012 to 23559
Chicago Teachers Union- Text ctu1 to 69238

Websites/Twitter

Chicago Teachers Union website http://www.ctunet.com/
The CTU Twitter feed https://twitter.com/ctulocal1,

Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/ChicagoTeachersSolidarity

Catalyst Chicago: http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/

Matt Farmer: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-farmer/

Socialist worker and SW facebook page: SocialistWorker.org
SW Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SocialistWorker

Substance News: http://www.substancenews.net/

Teachers for Social Justice: http://www.teachersforjustice.org/ (A TAG organizational member)