Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fichter Fight Continues

By Stephen Wilson

Former Florida high school teacher sits in prison for a 22 year sentence for having sex with her 17-year-old students.

(Moscow, Russia) -- 'Take the next step to victory! You signed the petition five days ago but can you you help us collect 75,000 signatures by creating your own petition,' declares the sincere and anxious appeal of the Russians and Americans fighting for the release of a 30-year-old American teacher Jennifer Fichter, who was sentenced to 22 years
in jail for illicit sex with her pupils (on 37 indictments).

               Those who have signed the petition are being asked to utilise facebook, twitter and all the possible means of gathering signatures.

               The organisation,, is the brainchild of publicity genius Dennis Shiryav, who on July 2015 managed to obtain the signatures of 40,000 people, and at present have managed to amass just over 66,800. They require much more signatures to force the American authorities to grant a judicial review.

                What is clear is that the organisers have proved indefatigable in relentlessly pursuing this campaign and deserve to win.

                Jennifer Fichter was jailed for 22 years on charges of illicitly having sex with some of her students who were aged around 17 years of age. The teacher was arrested in April 2014, after a mother of one of her students came across an SMS to her son, and called the police.

                One of the most ludicrous accusations made again her was that she was 'a kidnapper'.

                The case gathered International headlines because in the vast majority of cases, being dismissed from her job would be regarded as sufficient punishment. It is no exaggeration to state that this, and many other legal cases, has stained the reputation of America's legal system all over the world.  Fewer people take the American legal system seriously and some reassure themselves 'Thank God our legal system is not like the American system.'

                What has really made people indignant is that a deranged fascist in Norway received a lesser sentence of 21 years for murdering 77 people and wounding 151 people. While the Norwegian system seems to laid back and lenient,  the American system appears too zero - intolerant.

                The response to the harsh sentence of Jennifer Fichter has brought a wide range of curious responses. As expected, the media interest focuses on the lurid and titillating aspects of the case rather than the more crucial aspects of whether justice is being served. As far as the media goes; sex sells. The Fichter case represents an intriguing story rather than a cause for release.

                For some insensitive people the case is merely amusing, for others it is irrelevant and it has left many more scratching their heads asking - 'Could this have really happened in America?'

                 A Journal called Vzglyad, carried out a survey on the Fichter case. They found that 34% of those polled considered her guilty but did not deserve a jail sentence, 22% did not see a problem with the teacher having sex
with students, 26.5 % deemed the teacher guilty, but the sentence, excessive. A mere 3.7% of those polled think the sentence is adequate.

                 A Russian teacher from school number 315, Lubov Pontak stated:

                'Teachers don't have the right to sexual contact with students but 22 years in prison is too harsh. It does not matter what age the students are ... I would sack the teacher.'

                 Another teacher, of school number 1543, Aleksi Kutnetsov, stated:

                "This is a repressive sentence, basely cruel and extremely hypocritical.

                 A country which legally allows same sex marriage doesn't have the moral right to strictly judge those who conduct a normal sex life.'

                 Most Russian teachers I spoke to think that teachers have to maintain a distance from their students and think a teacher should be dismissed rather than imprisoned for illicit sex.

                 This view is a far cry from some Russians who regard Fichter as a martyr who simply initiated her inexperienced students into a much required 'life experience'. Those supporters consider Fichter deserves a medal rather than imprisonment.

                 One thing is certain. The campaigners for Fichter's release are determined to see this fight to the very end. They are aware that as time goes on, supporters might become too complacent and the fight might lose its momentum. This is why it is important to keep fighting regardless whether the campaign attracts or loses the interest of the media.

                 Some people are cynical and refuse to sign the petition because they say, "It won't make any difference". This view is mistaken.

                 The history of organisations such as Amnesty International and other pressure groups which campaign for the release of unfairly convicted prisoners discovered that, gathered petitions do make a difference, and have helped secure the release of prisoners. It is not all in vain!  Anyone who thinks that he can get signatures should go ahead. Don't be cynical or complacent!

To learn more you can visit the Free Jennifer Fichter facebook page.

Friday, February 26, 2016

CTU Rally

CTU Rally to Prevent Layoffs
By Ed Hershey

On Thursday February 25, 2016, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and supporters rallied outside of Chicago's City Hall demanding no layoffs, no cuts to schools, and to use Tax Increment Funds (TIF) surplus to fund schools. TIFs have been used a slush funds to fund the wealthy real estate developers. Rally ended at one of many new building funded by TIFs. An estimated 50 supporters attended the rally.

60 CTU members and staff rallied at City Hall this evening, calling on the mayor to declare a TIF surplus in order to prevent layoffs and budget cuts within Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Schools have already been cut to the bone over the past three years, with massive school closings, layoffs, and program reductions. 

After picketing for an hour, Jesse Sharkey addressed the assembled crowd and media. He reiterated that the city has no business handing school money to wealthy private developers while they cry poor when it comes to public education. Sharkey cited a 17 million dollar apartment development in Uptown, the 55 million dollar DePaul stadium campus, and the 30 million public dollars for River Point. 

Sharkey addressed the Board's threat to cease paying the 7% "pension pick-up", which would amount to an immediate 7% pay cut. Sharkey said the union would take action -- that that would be an Unfair Labor Practice, and that the union might then strike. Amisha Patel of Grassroots Collaborative then briefly addressed the crowd.  

The group then marched to the bridge in front of River Point development -- the bridge over the junction between the North and South branches of the Chicago river.  A teacher and two CTU staffers hung a banner off the bridge, but the police would not let them attach the banner.  The marchers then continued to the River Point construction site, where the banner was stretched out.  CTU organizer Matt Luskin addressed the crowd, noting the highrise behind him built with Chicagoans' tax dollars.  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sun-Times Battling CTU

Chicago Sun-Times Not a Legitimate Source for Working People
By Jim Vail

Yes, the Chicago Sun-Times is broke when it comes to being a real newspaper for the public.

Sometimes you wish you could say something once and the person listening would immediately get it. Or maybe two or three times.

But we know in the world of teaching, it doesn't work that way. Whether you are at home with your kids, at school with your students or in the office with your colleagues, you need a lot of patience, and hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with what you're trying to get across.

The Chicago Sun-Times, my dear fellow teachers, working people, the 99% who bother to read this corporate newspaper - is the ENEMY!!!

The owners represent the 1%. But of course, they want to wrap their sickly arms around us plebians and do so by funding a local paper that reports local news. 

And use it to shape and poison people's minds.

The Sun-Times, a champion of privatization schemes, Bruce Rauner and charter schools, is now on the attack to discredit the Chicago Teachers Union, orders straight from the top.

The latest is its recent attack, an almost silly intelligence-type report on the enemy, entitled "THE WATCHDOGS: How Chicago Teachers Union spends its money."

Their 'investigative' reporters Chris Fusco and Tim Novak look into this union group and where it spends its money, how much the top officers are paid - actually President Karen Lewis falls down a few ranks and takes sixth place. Administrator and former UPCer Lynn Cherkasky-Davis is tops with $233,071 and Annette Rizzo, who at least helped get Core first elected and yours truly worked with during that exciting time to unseat the corrupt UPC, is second at $205,221.

Then they dig into an internal union issue I always had reservations about airing out in public - union nepotism via the Potter family. Jeeze, these dudes even go back to remind us 'old timers' that CTU chief of staff (or whatever the fuck he wants you to call him) Jackson Potter hired his mother to do lots of lucrative legal work for the union.

Well, one. Is she getting the job done? Do her rates compare to other labor lawyers (any bidding process involved?).

Hell, Jackson Potter and Core won. The union is no longer a disgrace as it was earlier under the UPC and its internal battles that the Sun-Times also made fun of with front page headlines. 

But I never got around to asking those questions of Mr. Jackson. 
As a reporter, I should have. No body is above the law.

Congrats Sun-Times on that one!

But how about now taking a nice hard look at the CPS Chief Forrest Claypool and his team of highly-paid CTA - whoops, I mean CPS - bureaucrats. How much resources do they have? Can they afford to waste tax payer dollars or do we just trust them.

Or how about an intelligence report on the Bruce Rauner empire and how he bought the last election. Or all the companies and individuals who paid to put the embarrassing mayor in his position? 

A newspaper is supposed to be the fourth branch of power to keep the other branches in check.

The Sun-Times doesn't do this. In fact, just the opposite, they provide safe propaganda for the powers that be.

Now how many more times do I have to say class - The Sun-Times is not a legitimate source, and read with caution! They are in fact our enemy!

Monday, February 22, 2016

CTU To Endorse Sanders?

Will CTU Endorse Bernie Sanders
By Jim Vail

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders may be endorsed by CTU main caucus.

There is talk that the Coalition of Rank and File Educators or Core who helped elect the current Chicago Teachers Union leadership is ready to make an endorsement of Bernie Sanders for president and put pressure on the CTU leadership to do likewise.

However, for that to be effective there would have to be a special House of Delegates meeting scheduled before the Illinois primary March 15.

Currently the delegates will only meet in March for a training session as is customary this time of year.

Why do Core activists want an endorsement of Sanders? The so-called self-proclaimed socialist, though he rarely mentions this on his campaign stops, has taken on Wall Street and supported the working class against big-money interests.

He has called for universal health insurance, free college tuition, union rights, corporate sanctions and financial regulations.

While his rhetoric is fiery and many young progressive people support him, he still supports the US war machine. 

His position on education reform in the past is not clear, though he probably is against education privatization and testing mania today.

If the CTU would endorse Sanders it would be a significant statement since its parent union the American Federation of Teachers or AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton - Wall Street's favorite dame.

The CTU endorsed Obama, despite his attack on public schools via his Race to the Top, in the last presidential election.

Core held a general meeting Mon. Feb. 22 to discuss the Sanders endorsement.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Moscow demolition

By Stephen Wilson

Destroying Moscow kiosks per order of city government.

(Moscow, Russia) -- On Monday the 9th of February, the Mayor of Moscow ordered bulldozers to unceremoniously demolish hundreds of kiosks as well as pavilions in Moscow around metro stations Sokol, Aeroport, Christi Prudi,           Sukharevski, Marksistskoi, Arabatskay and kropotkinskaya.

               In the space of a single night, 97 business pavilions were razed to the ground leaving hundreds of redundant workers wondering where they will find fresh work. The Moscow mayor claims those small business shops were  'illegal' and inconvenient eye-sores  impeding the movement of pedestrians as well as representing a potentially 

dangerous hazard. The Moscow local government has         declared, 'This is only the beginning.'  Critics claim the
latest local government 's moves lack any logic or sober foresight.

               It was as if someone had launched an air-raid. When I went for a day stroll along the Leninskaya shosse (Highway), I confronted a heap of rubble, along with fragments of glass that littered the pavement so much one had to skirt it by using the road. That was what was left of
some florists and one newspaper kiosk in Aeroport.

               Near Sokol, a whole business pavilion where I and Jim Vail used to drop in to browse over newspapers had been literally flattened.

               On my way to work on Monday evening, as I was coming out of Rechnoi Vokzal metro I witnessed bulldozers tearing apart local pavilion which had stood for years. The faces of locals who were watching the spectacle looked alarmed, anxious and at times astonished.

               THE JUSTIFICATION

               What is the justification for such sweeping changes? In long articles in newspapers, the local government claims that such pavilions, kiosks and shops represent an ugly eye sore blocking some beautiful sights of Moscow. They also claim that such buildings represent an inconvenient obstacle impeding the movement of people in Moscow. 'We are demolishing illegal businesses who are working without proper documents'. A further reason is that such kiosks around the metro represent a threat to the 'safety and security of locals'.

               The local government claims that the demolition squads will open new space where leisurely fountains, benches, squares and gardens will be erected. There is even talk of building chapels!

               What has been the latest reaction of local people to those measures?

               The main reaction appears to be complacent indifference and apathy.

               Other people passing by seemed to be startled, bemused and a few were shocked about how abrupt the actions were. Some people welcomed this. A pensioner told me, 'There are just too many of those kiosks around the metro. You can hardly walk around.'

               According to 'Delovaya Business', the latest moves to destroy the pavilions is costing the local government a staggering 30 billion rubles. Over the last two years more than 2000 business points in the city have been razed, and over 100,000 vendors have lost their jobs. At a time of deep
economic crisis where workers are losing their jobs, they will
find it highly problematic to obtain work.

               Those vendors are not 'bandits' but simple people struggling to make a living who are often migrants from either Ukraine, Armenia or poorer Russian towns just trying to get by. They tend to be very warm and friendly. They have even found me English students. I recall one huge vendor near Prospect Mir who because of his cumbersome size had difficulty sitting in this kiosk. He had been selling me model soldiers for years until just last year they closed down every kiosk in the underground passage. What has become of this vendor remains a mystery. Has he found a new job?

               THE REAL  AGENDA

               The latest large scale demolition program is not about creating 'green spaces' or clamping down on sinister 'illegal businesses'. In fact, those businesses were not 'illegal' but had signed legally binding contracts with the local officials of the local Moscow. Suddenly, the Moscow mayor, capriciously claims those agreements are now null and void just like that! In fact, the small businesses took the local  Moscow government to court over this. In many cases the
courts ruled that there should be no demolition of kiosks prior to a final settlement of the case. The mayor ignored this and went ahead with sending in the liquidation squads anyway! So, who, in deed, alas, are acting illegally? The local government has acted recklessly and rashly assuming they are above and beyond the law.

               Sergei Katirin, the president of trade and industrial centres states:

              "The blame for this lies not only with those who constructed those kiosks, but with the officials who gave them permission to do this.

               "There are documents which have been officially signed by hand. It seems to me that in such situations we need to think first and foremost about people. This is work of small businesses. And it is important that the city protect such small companies and work places which were created".

               However, neither the dreams of small business men or the jobs of vendors are on the minds of the local government. The most likely reason for the demolition of kiosks is for politicians and officials to acquire expensive real estate to make more underhand dirty deals. The price of a square metre in the Rublevskoi Shosse district can fetch a staggering 220,000 rubles. The newly created space left by those demolition squads will be either rented out or replaced by more expensive kiosks. Just as new estate property is created by merging schools and hospitals, so new lucrative space for shady deals is created by demolishing local kiosks.

               The honest men lose their jobs and the dishonest prosper. It reaffirms the words of Anse in William Faulkner's novel, 'As I lay Dying', when he declares, 'Nowhere in this sinful world can an honest, hard-working man profit'.

               And Moscow is no longer a city for small business men, vendors, migrants, refugees or teachers, but for crude, cunning and capricious businessmen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Walk Ins

Chicago Teachers Walk in to Stop Budget Cuts
By Jim Vail
Special to

Hammond School Walk-in Wednesday morning Feb. 17, 2016!

Thousands of Chicago public school teachers, parents, students and community members rallied outside their schools Wednesday morning and walked in together to protest the recent school budget cuts.

One Chicago principal told local media that if their school went down because they didn’t have the funds, then the neighborhood would go down as well, “and that’s why we’re out here in the freezing cold.”

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said because the teachers union and the board of education could not agree on a contract, he mandated $120 million in school cuts that could result in layoffs.

The Chicago Teachers Union said this was merely an intimidation tactic to force an agreement demanding cutting the teachers pensions, salaries and health care because of a budget deficit.

CPS just borrowed over $700 million to finance the budget and will pay a sky-high interest rate of 8.5%, resulting in paying millions to bankers and hedge fund operators while cutting school budgets.

The CTU has been demanding that the banks, the rich and other financiers pay their fair share as well, something the mayor has made no attempt to do.

While the CTU and CPS continue to negotiate a new contract, the union helped organize a “walk-in” in which up to 200 public schools across the city gathered outside to protest the cuts and show unity.

“Rahm and Claypool have declared war on the CTU,” the CTU stated in an email to teachers. “What do we do next? On Feb. 17 schools across Chicago and even the nation will hold rallies before school and “walk in” together to support public education and demand adequate resources. As we continue to build our power and solidarity, this will be the next step to involve parents and students.”

I am a teacher and delegate at a school in Little Village on the Southwest side. We rallied outside with the full support of the administration and parents. The feeling of unity was in the air.

“It was great to get together and feel a sense of togetherness against the city’s attack on teachers,” stated one teacher after the walk-in.

While there were rumors that a high school principal ordered that no parents walk-in with the teachers, the walk-ins were peaceful and showed that the communities support their local schools.

According to media reports, CPS even sent letters to parents and warned administrators that the protests could cause disruptions, perhaps resulting in a silly order from the one principal.

But for the most part, the city supports the teachers as shown by CTU President Karen Lewis’s high approval ratings, versus Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s low ratings and demands for his resignation.

The earliest the teachers could strike would be in mid-May. However, should the negotiations and mediation fail, many believe the teachers would not “walk out” until the beginning of the next school year.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Russian PE

By Stephen Wilson

(Moscow, Russia) --  As Moscow is again engulfed by a flu epidemic and some schools are forced into quarantine, Russians are attempting to address the question as to why their children are afflicted with such bad health. For every year, many children come down with some virus, flu or suffer from chronic diseases. In response to this, the Russian state has been attempting to impose a compulsory program of Physical Education in not only schools but all institutions of further education. Second City Teachers discovered that many children expressed reservations or mixed feeling about this. 

              It was odd. Why was my student of English Dan so cheerful when arriving at my English lesson?  Had he seen the light? Did he now grasp the importance of working hard to improve his English? So I asked him, 'Daniel, are you ill?  'Well, yes, I was ill in the morning but now I feel fine. I have just been told I'm to get one week off school. Our school is in quarantine because of the flu epidemic. It is great! I'll beable to watch the Chicago Bull basketball matches!'

              The secretary of the school in which I worked confirmed that many children were not attending classes after coming down with some virus. A flu epidemic has begun in Moscow and appears to have assumed the character of what sociologists regard as 'a moral panic'. 'Don't treat yourself  but go to your local doctors.'  The latest epidemic and the failing health of a rising number of school children raises the old questions, 'Who is to blame?' and 'What is
to be done?' However, divergent opinions are on those questions, the general consensus is that the health of Russian children is poor and has been deteriorating over the past years.

              According to President Putin, two thirds of children develop chronic diseases by the age of 14 and half of all pupils show signs of Musculo-skeletal development. An increasing number of children are becoming overweight and as many as one out of four Russian adults appear to suffer from overweight. Russian children also appear to have a frail
immunity system and constantly come down with flu not once but two, three or four times a year.

              What are the causes? There are several explicit explanations. Moscow is cursed by dreadful pollution, an overcrowded metro, a dreadful climate for health, poor diet, and a new form of environment where  both pupils and workers are hunched over computers for endless hours. However, a highly competitive environment where many people are isolated without families, friends and a sympathetic ear boosts stress levels. Poverty, unemployment or the threat of unemployment and abuse by insensitive         employers all do their part to weaken mental and then physical health.

              Those wider causes are seldom explored by many Russian officials.

              Instead, officials attribute the weak health of Russian children to poor diet and lack of exercise. Therefore, the solution lies with fostering a cult of sport as well as a healthy diet.

              STATE RESPONSE
              The response of the Russian government has been to pass laws where every student, whether in schools or further educational institutions, must do a minimum of three hours of P.E. a week. The Russian state has been attempting to revive the old Soviet sports program, the GTO, or 'Ready for Labour and Defence, introduced in 1931 to 'enhance the
Physical Education and readiness for mobilisation of the Soviet people primarily the youngest generation.'

              School students also are tested in physical education and have to do special tests where they attain a mark. Those measures were welcomed by most sportsmen and P.E. teachers. Pavel Karpov stated, 'It is natural to expect the government to impose requirements on its future citizens and general physical education fitness does not hurt anyone.' Sportsman Viacheslav maintains that, 'Being involved in sports from an early age can help children develop a strong aversion to both alcohol and drugs by the age of 12. We need a health nation to attain a healthy successful economy'.

              Not everyone agrees that 'general physical education does not hurt everyone'.

              Some pupils think it does and don't relish attending P.E. lessons.

              You might expect children to welcome the chance to do more sport than be confined behind a desk solving maths problems or doing dull grammar tests. An economist told me, 'When I was at school physical education was one of the most popular subjects. Everyone preferred to do sport than attend Russian literature classes. It is difficult to understand why some children are averse to P.E. lessons.'

              There are indeed pupils who loathe physical education! I spoke to some Russian school children and received some odd answers.

              I asked a 12 year old boy Peter,  'How do you like Physical education?'

              He answered, 'Oh this is my favorite subject. I can hand the teacher a letter and then go to a room where I can either sleep or do my homework.

              'However, when the P.E. teacher entered the room and noticed I was not ill but doing my homework he got very angry'.

              Another student, Kirill, a student at the Institute of Agriculture told me, 'I hate this subject. The teacher makes us do difficult exercises and we spend most of the time running round the school. The teacher has made it clear to us she does not want to teach us. Once we had a lesson and she did not even turn up claiming she was ill. When we saw her in another class room chatting away to another teacher when she should have been teaching us we signed  a petition of protest. The students complained about the lax
behaviour of the teacher and wanted a replacement. The students boycotted the classes.'

             'The director of the institute summoned us and told us, 'You don't have the right to write this petition and boycott the P.E. classes.'  Nevertheless, an understanding was reached and most students returned to the classroom.'

             Why the reluctance by some to attend P.E. classes? Russian pupils tell me they find it impossible to do some of the daunting physical exercises, find it humiliating, are too tired after course work or find lessons are held at the worst times -at the end of the week when they are dead-beat. Other students tell me me that P.E. is irrelevant to their future education. It represents an inconvenient and annoying         distraction. Other students tell me P.E. just consists of either playing one limited sport or running around the school several times. If teachers attempt to make students do a sport they are not good at, the children are less inclined to go to classes. If students don't go to classes for good reasons, their grants can be cut!

             One of the problems appears to be that many teachers are imposing one general standard on pupils without acknowledging  the vast differences in physical abilities. There appears to be a gross overestimation of the
physical abilities of pupils. Some teachers appear to lack practical common sense. If a student finds it impossible to do a particular exercise then you offer him a realistically challenging exercise. Even President Putin acknowledged that,  'We can't overtax kid and cause heart attacks. We
need to have a system of guide-lines.'

             For some Russian students, P.E. represents a form of mental and physical torture. Sergei Nazarov, who has recently formed 'The Russian Club of Tolstyakovs (overweight people) is campaigning for the creation
of independent schools designed specifically for overweight children. He has already appealed to the local council to support his initiative. One of the main reasons for setting up such a school lay in how P. E. lessons became a dreadful ordeal for school students. Sergei Nazarov explains that, 'I already think that it is worth having lessons in tolerance toward overweight children in ordinary schools. Children have many complexes and other children worsen the situation. That was my experience in childhood. Other children offended us and only the teacher could put a stop to this. It was also very difficult during lessons of Physical Education.

             'Therefore I think that overweight children require a separate and lighter program in this subject.'  

             According to Sergei, you have to explain to children, 'That not all people are the same, they have particular           characteristics and you must not call them names and tease other children who are overweight'. 

             Evidently, any programs designed to improve the health of school children require deeper thought as well as subtle tact.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Scholarship Fundraiser!

The Alliance of Progressive Teachers at Latino Youth (APTLY) Presents:

Scholarship Fund to Send a High Achieving Student to College 

High School Charter delegate Chris Baehrend (center), with disgraced former democrat governor, and High School delegate and ACTS president Brain Harris.

Hello Family & Friends,

Please come out for our Send a Star to College Fundraiser on Friday February 19 at our union hall 1400 W Hubbard #110, reception at 4:30, class at 6pm. We're doing something different this time--a painting class! I have invited two of Chicago's most acclaimed artists.

We have now started 7 academic superstars in college, all of whom faced near-insurmountable financial barriers to college. Our first recipient, Alexia, is going to graduate this May with a BA in Psychology from National Louis University. I expect her to be there, so come meet her!

It is important that you RSVP by reply email if you can make it, as we need to buy canvas & supplies for you to unleash your genius. $20 if you RSVP or $25 at door.

Food and drink will be available. Please forward this widely!

Big Up,

Paint Night!

Join us for a night of fun in support of 

The Alliance of Progressive Teachers at Latino Youth (APTLY) 

Scholarship Fund to Send a High Achieving Student to College 


February 19, 2016

Hosted at ChiACTS Union Hall

1400 W. Hubbard St., Suite 230

Reception at 4:30 pm, Class from 6-8 pm

Drinks/Refreshments & Snacks Provided!

Pre-Pay: $20

At the Door: $25

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sub Meeting

By Pat Gerard

Did you know there is a CTU Displaced/Substitute Teacher Committee? Field rep Zeidre Foster met with committee members and substitute teachers who had questions and problems. Everyone met after school on Tuesday, January 26 at Manny's Restaurant at 1141 S. Jefferson Ave. Those who attended the meeting included substitutes who are displaced, short/long term substitutes as well as retired teachers.  It is an opportunity for substitutes to share their issues with each other and a CTU field representative. The group talks about union contract articles and the frustrations that substitutes encounter on a daily basis. Everyone is given time to explain their issues and the group explores solutions.

Topics included the following:
1.Substitutes need to have prorated/reduced union dues. (high priority)
2.Positive/negative experiences of the work day.
3.Clarity is needed re: administrative write-ups and evaluations that lead to the dismissals of substitutes.
4.Purpose of a Substitute Blog
5.Professional Development days geared for substitutes
6.Access to technology in schools
8.A new union contract and its effects on substitutes

The next meeting will take place at 5:00pm. on Feb. 16th at Manny's Restaurant located at 1146 S.Jefferson St.  Free parking is in the back of the restaurant. Please consider joining the CTU Displaced/Substitute Committee. Contact Burma Green (committee chairman ( ) or CTU Field rep Zeidre Foster (312-329-6241) with your questions.

The next meeting will focus on the development of the upcoming Substitute Blog. The blog could provide a place to share information about a possible school vacancy/leave of absence, contribute important school news and provide feedback about anything on your mind. The exchange among substitutes is essential to preventing substitute teacher burnout and promoting confidence in your job. The blog will be advertised in the next CTU Newspaper. Please spread the news about the meetings to your friends who substitute.