Promote Unity Among Teachers Union and City Officials in Chicago

Target: Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Goal: Make a joint statement pledging unity and rededicate your obligations to Chicago’s students and parents.

After three days of ballet counting, a near 90% of Chicago Teachers Union members voted to support a strike in the fall, if one is called. At stake for teachers and city officials are the terms of  a new contract, with educators arguing for raises and more job security, and the mayor backing longer school days, more stringent teacher evaluations, and broadening school options (including charter and turnaround schools) for parents and students.

Also at stake: the education and confidence of approximately 400,000 Chicago children.

As both sides already know, the current contract negotiation cannot be handled as one might be in other sectors. It is not a bottom line being cut, not a line stoppage with shadowy multiplier effects, but real flesh-and-blood kids right there in front of them, everyday, who are being compromised when the union and city squabble. Unfortunately, it seems this realization is used itself as bargaining power by the city, essentially guilt-tripping the union into submission, without any real talk of fair compromise. It’s like each party is running in opposite directions, tied to each other with one of those rubber muscle bands: they’ll go as far in their own direction as the opponent will allow them.

It’s ridiculous.

The teachers have reason to be alarmed over what might turn out to be an unfair or inaccurate evaluation of their performance. The city must do something to improve the abominable literacy, drop-out, and graduation rates of Chicago Public Schools. It will not be improved by a salary raise. It will likely not be improved by longer school days or high-stakes testing evaluation. The Chicago community needs to be reassured that both sides will work together to create a positive and empowering experience for the city’s children. Sign below to encourage their unity.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

As you already know, the current contract negotiation cannot be handled as one might be in other sectors. It is not a bottom line being cut, not a line stoppage with shadowy multiplier effects, but real flesh-and-blood kids right there in front of you, everyday, who are being compromised when the union and city squabble. Unfortunately, it seems this realization is used itself as a bargaining power play, a guilt trip, instead of rendering hard-nosed demands obsolete. It’s like each party is running in opposite directions, tied to each other with one of those rubber muscle bands: they’ll go as far in their own direction as the opponent will allow them.

We are asking you to issue a joint statement in each of the Chicago daily newspapers rededicating yourselves to the ultimate stakeholders: CPS students and parents. This is not a suggestion for what the resolution will be, or what compromises should be made. This is a pleading for you to show the public that there is hope for the magnitude of unity necessary to honestly evaluate the city’s education system in ways that encourage teachers, empower students, and satisfy city officials.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kevin Connors via morgueFile

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48 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
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