Election underscores internal democracy inside CTU, rank and file support for equity for students and their families, and dignity and respect for educators.
CHICAGO, May 17, 2019—Today the members of the CTU voted to re-elect the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) leadership slate, headed by President Jesse Sharkey, Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, Financial Secretary Maria Moreno, and Recording Secretary Christel Williams Hayes. The result was 66% for CORE, 34% for the challengers.
The contested election underscores the internal democracy inside the CTU—in which debates about the direction and functioning of the union took place in school meetings across the city, in member forums on the internet, and in the union’s governing body, the House of Delegates.
Re-elected CTU President Jesse Sharkey, who took over from Karen Lewis when she retired for health reasons in September, made the following statement in the wake of the announcement of election results:
“I am proud of our union, and honored to be elected as President. I commit to do everything in my power to advance the cause of our public schools, and our members who work in those schools. Since coming into office with Karen Lewis in 2010, we have done our utmost to build a strong, democratic movement for educational justice—the CTU sees dignity and respect on the job as going hand in hand with social, racial, and economic justice for our students, and we are committed to fight for the rights of every member and every student in Chicago.”
“Over the past several years, we have witnessed the deepest cuts and worst fiscal austerity measures since the state take-over of CPS in 79-80. As a result of the hard work by teachers, students, and parents our schools have made some gains, despite the financial hardships. However, conditions in the classrooms have reached a breaking point—with school based budgeting disasters, unsanitary conditions, critical staffing shortages, a full-blown legal crisis surrounding special education, insufficient supports for student trauma, the precipitous decline of Black and veteran educators in the classroom, and the list goes on. A typical school in Chicago has a school nurse just one day a week.”
“This must change. The CTU will work to dramatically improve the conditions in our schools and usher in an elected representative school board. The new CTU contract provides an important opportunity to enshrine key improvements in a legally binding form. We hope that the new mayor makes good on her promises to transform our public schools—if she does, she will find us to be a steadfast ally. If she does not, she will find us to be an implacable foe.”