CTU President Stacy Davis Gates sent the following letter to rank and file CTU members on Monday, October 17.
Dear CTU family.
Late last week, the Union learned that Chicago Public Schools charter operators are bankrolling right-wing politicians and supporting a racist legislative position through funding and formal affiliation with the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS).
This Saturday I wrote individually to every one of our charter operators to express how deeply troubling this is — and why it must end. By allowing funds that could go to classrooms to instead go to these activities — including right-wing candidates like Chris Bos, who also opposes a woman’s right to control her body — charters are advocating that poor people unable to make bail should remain incarcerated.
That’s just wrong. Charter operators cannot allow the needs of their students’ families to be undermined by a right-wing agenda set on harm, neglect and destruction of these same families, with no regard for Black and Brown children and communities.
lllinois State Sen. Robert Peters, who has vocally supported the SAFE-T Act, laid out the hypocrisy in charter operators’ stance. “It’s disappointing to see this from the charter school industry especially since their own website says they serve 92 percent of students of color,” he said. “They should support the elimination of cash bail given 87 percent of their students are on free and reduced price lunch and are profoundly impacted by the issue. I hope they reconsider their position especially for the families their schools serve.”
We know our unity and our solidarity is our greatest strength in the face of this kind of terrible policy from charter operators — just as we know the battle at the bargaining table for each of our contracts is heating up.
Join us in participating in our Sticker Day on Tuesday, Oct. 18, using our Halloween-themed slogan: “It’s scary how understaffed we are” You can see the design at this link, and charter members can get your sticker on Tuesday from a member of your school’s Contract Action Team!
And on Wednesday, Oct. 19, join us at our first action of this school year to build power in our united campaign to bargain with all charter schools across Chicago. Join us as we picket and rally for supportive schools by demanding full staffing for our special education students, our immigrant students — including our English language learners, and the thousands of students in our schools who need wrap-around services, trauma supports and more. Meet at Acero Idar, 4:15 – 5:30 pm, 5050 S. Homan Blvd.
By exposing operators’ duplicity, we push charters to do better — and we strengthen our efforts to land contracts that support our students and the educators who serve them in every one of our buildings. Thank you for anchoring this contract fight in your building, and for all you do for your students, families and colleagues as we work to bring up standards across the charter industry and fight for the schools our students deserve.
Stacy Davis Gates, President, Chicago Teachers Union