Monday, September 26, 2016

Support Strike!

Actively Support the Teachers’ Fight to Save Public Education

The Chicago teachers’ fight for a fair contract
 is not just their fight. All working people in          Graphic: Placards--
Chicago have the right to a society with the         Support the teachers,
highest quality public  education. To start with,    We Need An Elected
we need fully  funded education to                                    School Board        ensure the right to equal education for                Make the Rich Pay!
 children. The demands of the Chicago               Save Public Education
Teachers Union(CTU)       
 are steps to achieve this.  So their fight is our fight-- and we                        must actively support the teachers and school staff--spreading the facts, correcting lies from the media or other sources, going to teacher/staff rallies,  joining in their picket lines, etc.

On the other side of the fight are Mayor Emanuel and his appointed—not elected—Board of Education, which features people who serve the rich in various ways, including pouring money from the public schools into the pockets of those running the privately-owned charter schools, various contractors, and bankers.

In contract negotiations the Board of Education has refused to budge from their outrageous proposal  to cut teachers’ pay while pretending to provide raises. They are refusing to cut class sizes, to restore Special Education programs, to cut the tons of invalid so-called standardized tests, cut the unfair teacher evaluations based on the invalid student scores, or restore the needed counselors, nurses, aides, librarians and other needed staff, and art and music programs, or to bring back the more than a thousand teachers and staff who have been cut, and reopen closed neighborhood schools, etc.

The Board of Education tries to justify all these dirty moves by  claiming there is “no money available.” But the CTU presents facts which show the Board’s treasury is BROKE ON PURPOSE.  Ample money is, in fact, available from the rich--if we get ourselves well enough organized to fight and take it.
The Board of Education has long raised property taxes, which means taking money out of the pockets of people paying off bank loans on homes and people who rent. Why should the people pay while the rich maneuver to avoid paying taxes, or have large amounts of money available?

Notice what the facts show:                                                                                                                      
Two out of three corporations in Illinois pay NO income tax to the state.  
The wealthiest taxpayers do not pay as high a percentage of their wealth in taxes as the poorest and middle income wage earners. 
 Half of the property tax monies that are supposed to go to the schools now go to the mayoral slush fund known as TIFs (Tax Increment Financing districts). This means at least $250 million is diverted from our schools each year and to many projects for rich developers. Let’s get this money back for public education. 
The Board of Education is paying private vendors more to do the work that school employees have always done. CPS payments to vendors has gone up by $1.4 billion in the last ten years. 
● Board of Education members have refused to re-negotiate high-interest financing by banks thatcosts CPS $290 million a year
● City government is finding money to hire more police and provide police with tasers and body cameras while it says it cannot find money for the schools.

What else must be done, which the CTU is calling for?                                                                                                                       
● Stop the privatization of public education through charter schools, saving millions.                                                              
 ● CPS spends over $10 million each year for so-called “standardized tests,” which are notoriously invalid and mainly reflect the socio-economic status of the students. The tests and preparations for the tests waste hundreds of hours that should be spent for instruction. The PARCC tests, to be administered in elementary schools this year, push narrow Common Core standards and are designed to fail 70% of students, making them feel like “losers.”  
 Taking even a small tax ranging from a few cents to a few dollars from each financial deal at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Options exchange could raise over $12billion a year. This would go a long way toward fully funding public education.                                                                           
As well, we need to demand that the federal government provides more funds to the states and increases money for social programs, taking it from the 62 cents of every discretionary federal tax dollar that now goes to the Pentagon. This is an obscene amount—which now goes for lucrative contracts to military contractors and the maintenance of at least 800 military bases around the world. It’s not in the interests of working people to have more illegal and unjust wars for the benefit of banks and other corporations. We say--Money for Education, Not for War and War Preparations!

What is needed to enhance the quality of education for our students?                                                           
Reduce class sizes so teachers can more easily spot problems and provide the needed support for every student. 
Provide enriched programs to promote thinking on how to solve social problems, and for creative activity in arts, music, and drama; mastery of world languages, top notch physical education, libraries with librarians, and support from nurses, counselors and teacher aides.

This leaflet is from Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice

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