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As we approach the start of a new year, I want to thank you for your passion, dedication and service to your students and their schools. One of my personal goals for this year is to meet as many of our members as I possibly can—and soon—to keep the lines of communication open between you and the Chicago Teachers Union. I ask that you do the same with the parents in your school communities as we embark on what is going to be a challenging but promising year.

On Tuesday, members return to their classrooms amid uncertainty regarding a contract with the Chicago Board of Education and fewer resources from Chicago Public Schools. Please know, however, that your union supports you unconditionally in both our fight for a fair contract and your day-to-day work in the schools. Our team of researchers, organizers, field representatives, professional development facilitators and administrative staff has worked tirelessly throughout the summer in preparation for this year, so please let us know as soon as possible if you’re feeling overwhelmed in your buildings by paperwork, denial of benefit days or any violations of the 2012-2015 Agreement. We want to know about questionable behavior as soon as possible.

We will not work another year without a contract, so negotiations with the Board are a priority and a major part of the context in which we begin the school year. The other major part is the education of our city’s nearly 400,000 public school students. I know you will serve our children, their families and communities well.

On Tuesday, and beyond, hold your head up high as your enter your buildings, knowing that you are the experts on public education in Chicago and a model for teachers unions across the world.

In solidarity,

IMAGE: Karen sig 

Karen GJ Lewis, NBCT
President, Chicago Teachers Union