Chicago Teachers Union Roundtable and Media Availability Advisory — January 17th
What: A media roundtable and availability for Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten at Cameron Elementary on the impact of the migrant crisis on Chicago schools.
Where: Cameron Elementary, 1234 N. Monticello Ave., Chicago, IL 60651
When: 10 a.m. CST, Wednesday Jan. 17
Why: CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and AFT President Randi Weingarten will hold a roundtable to discuss the challenges facing stakeholders at Cameron Elementary, where many migrant students have enrolled as Texas Governor Abbott continues to traffick migrant families from the border of Texas to Chicago.
Chicago is a municipality that lacks the infrastructure and capacity to deal with this international crisis and has called on Congress to provide more support for the families being bussed and flown in by Abbott. He has persisted in this dangerous and inhumane political theater even as he bans Texas border patrol from rescuing migrants in danger of drowning as they cross the border. In the past six weeks, as temperatures drop in Chicago, at least 100 buses from Texas have arrived in or outside of Chicago. This count does not include those sent by Governor Abbott by charter plane.
President Weingarten’s visit to Cameron Elementary is to highlight the increasing needs of the school community.
“This roundtable is a chance to learn from parents and educators at Cameron about how they’ve responded to these overwhelming circumstances, but it’s unconscionable that they’ve had to do this without the resources they deserve,” said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU president. “Chicago classrooms were already overwhelmed and the current crisis has tipped the scales. This is a manufactured crisis of choice by Governor Abbott.”
“As right-wing politicians try to score political points by closing their borders and shuttling migrant students to cities like Chicago, New York, DC, and Boston, our public schools are left to pick up the pieces, bringing parents, educators, and communities together to help support these kids when they need it most,” said Randi Weingarten, AFT president. “It’s teachers and school staff who are on the ground everyday, helping migrant families with everything from bilingual curriculum, career support, accessing healthcare and legal services, and finding housing. While the GOP exacerbates this crisis to win an election, our public schools and the folks who work in them are focused on solutions to help migrant students do well, and build a better life here in the United States.”
Further Information: Follow along on Twitter and Instagram: @ctulocal1, @aftunion @rweingarten,
Stacy Davis Gates, CTU President
Randi Weingarten, AFT President
Maryorie Alejandra Vega, parent
Carolina Gaeta, Executive Director of Blocks Together
Rep. Lilian Jimenez, parent/state rep (IL-4)
Gabriel Paez, English Learner Program Teacher (ELPT)
Viviana Ortiz, STLS (Students in Temporary Living Situations) Advocate
Martha Ugsha, parent
Overview of Cameron Elementary:
Cameron’s Transitional Bilingual Education program (TBE) has provided native language support in K-3rd grade. Due to increased need, it is now attempting to expand those supports for newcomers/ELs in K-5th grade but see that the need is far outpacing what they are able to provide. They are currently in high need of additional bilingual teachers, bilingual teacher assistants, and bilingual resources/curriculum.
Additionally, Cameron currently has 126 students enrolled as Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS). They have attempted to meet the physical needs of families by collecting winter clothes, housing goods, etc and have organized immigration rights workshops through community partners Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Northwest Center. Cameron educators and staff also work tirelessly to provide families with information regarding medical resources, clinics, food banks, etc. using a Newcomer Toolkit created by Cameron teachers and staff and later expanded by the CTU Bilingual Committee.
Through Cameron’s Sustainable Community Schools partnership with Blocks Together, they have been able to hold regular cafes with parents, workshops about criminal record expungement, and drumming, poetry and soccer programs for students.