Sunday, April 6, 2014

HOD April

Something Missing at House of Delegates Meeting 
By Jim Vail

What was striking at last week's Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates Meeting was what was missing from the agenda.

There were three resolutions: To support restorative justice programs in schools that receive public funds (say no to zero tolerance), to support the ISAT boycotters and opt-out informers (a no-brainer) and to be against human and sex trafficking of children (huh?).

What was missing was a resolution to denounce the Common Core, the corporate education reform agenda to test and punish.

According to members of the CTU's executive board who spoke with Secondcityteachers, the officers decided to send the resolution proposal back back to the education committee. This despite the fact that the Common Core resolution was passed by the education, special education and pre-school committees.

These tactics are similar to mayor Rahm Emanuel and his compliant city council, where meaningful resolutions like demanding TIF tax monies be returned to the schools and parks or renegotiating the privatized parking meters debacle, are sent to the rules committee to die.

Why would the CTU leadership be against the Common Core resolution?

Perhaps because Bill Gates has given them plenty of money to the American Federation of Teachers AFT which trickles down to locals like the CTU to support this part of the corporate education reform plan.

Second City Teachers published the CTU's working paper that refuted the Common Core standards, noting it will likely increase the education gap between the minorities and low-income children. 
The paper noted the standards do not acknowledge the effects of poverty on children's education and have no focus on addressing English learners and special education students.    

Another resolution introduced at the executive board that was sent to a committee was a request that the CTU not give any money to politicians who supported the education reform bill SB7 that has sharply curtailed teachers seniority and bargaining rights and the poison pension bills appearing like mushrooms all over the state's legislature.

CTU retiree delegate Mary Sharon Reilly, who is also a pension board trustee, made the resolution.  

However, Reilly never supported the resolution because she touts the usual pathetic union position that "we don't want Bruce Rauner."

The retiree delegates voted 27-10 to pass the resolution to not give money to harmful politicians, and it was Reilly who had to introduce it because she serves on the executive board, said retiree delegate George Milkowski.

Milkowski said this resolution was just asking that the union not give money to these politicians; the CTU could still make endorsements.

I asked CTU president Karen Lewis why she would be against this resolution.

"I can't have my hands tied," she repeatedly said at the question and answer period at the end of the delegates meeting. "I need to work with these people and this prevents me from doing that."

I pointed out then it makes our whole fight to preserve our pensions a joke when the democrats who support killing our pensions know in the end they will still get an endorsement and even money from the CTU.

Lewis agreed that there is very little difference today between the democrats and republicans.

"It's a sick game," I said. "It's rigged. And when do we say enough is enough?"


  1. Why would anyone work with the same demorats or rethugurats that voted for SB7, SB1, or SB1922? These capitalistic pustules believe in graft for the galactically greedy and eventual starving for the truly needy.

    Only a coward and or weasel would justify any respect other than the right to live toward these elected or appointed reprobates. That respect is contingent on allowing others the same right right to life.

    Inadequate funding of teachers pensions and codifying that a teacher or career service personnel are guilty until proven innocent based on a principals word or spurious legislative language isn't respecting the workers right to live.

    To hell with these demorats/rethugurats and whomever taught them.

  2. These actions by IEA and CTU's presidents are consistent with the AFT and NEA (and IL branches)' presidents' supporting the larger corporate education agenda. One glaring example: AFT and NEA's national and IL presidents' support for Obama's recent and widely successful Race to the Top legislation that ties teacher evaluations to student test scores, among other evils. Their refusal to allow democratic discussion of, let alone active opposition to, the Common Core initiative (documented in both Fred Klonsky and Jim Vail's accounts here) follow that well-worn path of submission.

    Unless and until opponents of this trend openly fight against their union leaderships' politics and for an alternative, we will watch continued subversions of teachers/students' best interests and erosion of union power. The CTU's alleged move to similarly smother opposition to Common Core (see post above) follows their (CTU's) choice to engage in secret negotiations (alongside IEA and AFT state presidents) that led to the harmful SB7 back in 2011 (see attached).

    It's past time to ditch the "seat at the table" for a strategy of "stand up, fight back!". One basic need- be rooted in our common interests as part of the wider working class under attack in today's largely one-sided class war.

    in solidarity,

    Earl Silbar, CORE member, 2008-2011

  3. "I have to work with them" - weasely comments by Karen Lewis to keep supporting our SB7 and pension bill enemies, for sure. She, supported by all CTU's officers and staff, was key in getting CORE to back her role in shaping SB7. The deal was to treat CTU members and the concerned public like mushrooms- keep us in the dark and feed us sh_t.

    Earl Silbar