Thursday, October 3, 2013

CTU Delegates Meeting Tense
By Jim Vail

The Chicago Teachers Union delegates met on Wednesday, Oct. 2  this week to discuss the latest in the Chicago Public Schools and how the decisions are affecting everyone.

The situation is tense, and many teachers expressed frustration with the new REACH evaluation system, and said the paper work that is increasing tremendously is forcing teachers to work above and beyond their contracted hours.

The fact that this is happening after the teachers strike shut down the schools last year and was proclaimed a huge success by many pundits had the CTU leadership having to explain a plan to fight back.

The CTU leadership, led by president Karen Lewis, also used humor to try to ease the tension that has so many teachers saying that the joy of teaching has been squeezed out of them, and their school environments are lifeless due to over testing, enormous paper work demands, and evaluation fears that are being placed on the staffs.

There was a very good skit, played out by Political Action Committee members Brandon Johnson, who works for the union, and Gloria Higgins, who chairs the PAC, on why it is important to support the union and not those "dirty" politicians.

But certainly, the CTU understands the morale of teachers is falling by the minute as the CPS onslaught - guided by a corporate education reform agenda focused on demanding impossible results from teachers in overwhelming conditions - is continuing to roll forward despite last year's strike.

This necessitated Ms. Lewis telling anecdotal tales that had the crowd of teachers and teacher aides laughing for brief moments.  

Lewis also said it is important for everyone to come together and support each other.

Second City Teachers will have a more full report on the House of Delegates meeting in the next day or two.

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