Tuesday, April 30, 2024

CONTACT: H Kapp-Klote 785-331-9039, hkapp-klote@ctulocal1.org

Chicago Teachers Union Members Outline What A Transformational School District Might Be Like

CHICAGO, IL—The Chicago Teachers Union resumed bargaining today with Chicago Public Schools in a session convened with the union’s largest-ever rank-and-file bargaining team.

With its 60-member bargaining team made up of teachers, clinicians, paraprofessionals, and school employees, CTU members made presentations calling for libraries and a librarian in every school, a robust arts education, green schools, a better school day for elementary and middle school students, and investments for early childhood education.

“Today, we painted a picture of what a school day looks like in early childhood, elementary, and middle school. We advocated for a revolutionary school day that centers joy, has staffed libraries with certified librarians, robust arts programming, equitable class sizes, and resources and support for our students,” said Erin Lynch, Jahn School of Fine Arts.

“Having a librarian in every school is necessary for quality education, and it’s a priority in our contract,” said Nora Wiltse, librarian at King College Prep High School.

When asked how to fund a transformational school district, CTU President Stacy Davis Gates​ said, “The success of the Chicago that we want to live in “ain’t gonna just” depend on the 5th floor or this union, it’s going to depend on them [the Bears’, Chicago Bulls, White Sox owners, real estate lobby, and other for-profit stakeholders] too.” So we’ve encouraged them to come to the table with us, discuss what we need while they’re discussing what they need. And then together in this Chicago that we’re building, perhaps we can create priority based on need. Perhaps we can create priority based on coalition and shared vision and values.

“See I told the truth when I said I wanted to engage. We can engage and the price of engagement is the schools Chicago students deserve,” Davis Gates affirmed.

In each of the presentations to CPS, CTU bargaining team members shared both the concrete policy proposals developed by union members over the past six months as well as the lived experiences from the classroom that can only come from practitioners.

“Reading is fundamental for all children — we need a better elementary school day that gives students the individualized attention, curriculum, and support they deserve,” said Kim Walls, a special education teacher at Fulton Elementary. “Today we got a chance to show CPS what that could look like in practice.”

“What we laid out today calls for greater investment for our students and our schools. That’s why CTU is leading the push for the state to fully fund Chicago schools so that our students can have opportunities to learn things that go beyond academics, and our teachers will have more time to teach our students,” said Rogelio Aguilar, a bilingual teacher at Marquette West.



Video link to President Stacy Davis Gates’ remarks: https://vimeo.com/941395884

Password for video: CTU1