Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Q&A with Tammie V!

Second City Teachers Interviews Tammie Vinson for Alderman!
By Jim Vail

Second City Teachers news blog spoke with another teacher candidate for alderman on the South side Tammie Vinson. She shared her vision of a better Chicago. Second City Teachers will be profiling the teachers running for aldermen in the Chicago City Council.

The CTU's Tammie Vinson for alderman!

Second City Teachers:       Can you tell us about your background? How long have you been teaching? Where and what do you teach?

Tammie Vinson:    I'm started teaching  in 1999 in Bellwood, then came to Chicago in 2002. I teach special education now at  Oscar Depriest since 2013 after Robert Emmet was closed. I have been active in the union as a delegate, then member of the executive board.  I am a member of the Black Caucus and CORE. I have served as teacher rep on the LSC of two schools and I am on the education committees of Action Now and the NAACP. 
I have one son and a grandson who live with me in the 28th ward where I have lived since 2003.

Second City Teachers:       Why did you decide to run for alderman?

Tammie V.                            I decided to run for alderman because I believe that all incumbents who are not representing the interests of the people in their wards need to be challenged.  The pattern of voting with the mayor without considering the impact of legislation is a problem for me. 

Second City Teachers:        What is the current alderman not doing right? What would you change?

Tammie V.:          Currently Jason Ervin has a record of voting with the mayor 100% of the time. Although he came out to support schools in his ward, he has not taken an active role in lobbying the state for an elected school board. Many people in the ward are dissatisfied with his efforts and want someone to engage them and fight for their interest. We lack jobs, quality schools and have too high a prison population in the 28th. Ervin has a reputation of catering to the elderly based on their voting patterns. Young people in the ward feel slighted. 

Second City Teachers:       What do you feel is important to change in terms of education policy?

Tammie V.          I would consider the impact of proposed legislation and go to established precinct committees to gain insight into the concerns of the community.  I would work to insure that quality public schools are the norm for the students of the ward, as well as the city. 
In education, the trend of testing to close schools, fire teachers and label students is harmful. I would seek support of a system that is family and student friendly. Schools should be community hubs that foster learning and support students and their parents as needed. The state of schools now is alienating, teachers resent  students because of test scores, principals resent teachers because of the networks and board and parents are being ignored in the advocacy for their children. 

Second City Teachers:       What do you think about the Democrats?

Tammi V.            The Democratic party assumes that they will receive working class, black votes. This has lead to complacency and disregard. The party is promoting policies that are not in our best interest. The 'lesser of two evils' seems to be their rally cry.  I am running as an independent.  

Second City Teachers:         Do you think the CTU should have endorsed Gov. Quinn?

Tammie V.       Although I personally am not voting for Quinn, I understand CTU's reasoning in endorsing. I am not sure Rauner would do us anymore harm than we are currently experiencing. 

Second City Teachers:      What are the most important issues? 

Tammie V.         The issues I am focusing on are living wages, quality public schools,  end to outsourcing of city services, alternative revenue sources and affordable housing. 

Second City Teachers:       How can we save public education?

Tammie V.         My belief is that people are not as involved or informed as they could be. My goal would be transparency, supply accurate information to stakeholders and community. Let them make informed decisions about the workings of our schools.  Local control is not an easy task, but who said democracy was easy. Education is too important to let others continually decide what is best for the rest of us. 

Second City Teachers:     What is it like running for alderman?

Tammie V.      Running  for alderman has been exciting, tiring, informative, stressful and overall worthwhile. Some days I feel that I have bitten off more than I can chew, then I meet someone who wants more.  Expecting your elected officials to represent your best interest is not too much to ask. Having safe, quality schools and communities is a right.  I am sure that this is the perfect storm period for change.  Being part of this movement is an honor.  

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