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Teachers will pull back curtain on what remote classrooms look like, as Mayor’s school board continues to refuse to bargain on strategies to improve remote learning for students.

  • 7:00 a.m. Press Conference: CTU teachers, officers
    Via Zoom: Reporters, pre-register at the link sent to your email address, or email communications@ctulocal1.org for link.

CHICAGO—Two teachers who are also parents of CPS students will kick off the new school year by hosting a virtual visit to their remote learning classrooms with CTU officers at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8 via Zoom. Teachers and CTU officers will talk about how they’ve prepared for the fall, their excitement and hopes for their students—and concerns about ongoing shortcomings in CPS’ remote learning plan—then field questions from reporters.

The joy of beginning another year of learning with students has been tempered by educators’ frustrations at CPS’ relentless refusal to work collaboratively with the Union to make remote learning this fall as enriching and rewarding as possible for students.

The board of education hand-picked by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has defied ISBE and state guidance and flatly refused to bargain with the Union on either key safety issues or remote learning plans. CPS has moved instead to simply slap in-person schedules on a school day that falls short in best practices and fails to meet students’ developmental needs. That hardline CPS position also ignores valuable lessons learned this spring, as well as collaborative models that have emerged keyed to family needs at a time when thousands of Chicago families are grappling with economic instability and the ravages of the pandemic.

Educators are also still extremely concerned about access to broadband and devices for students, thousands of whom struggled to access remote learning this spring. Roughly one in five CPS students—particularly Black and Latinx students—lack access to broadband in their neighborhoods. Those students hail from the same neighborhoods that have been disproportionately ravaged by COVID-19.

But broadband access was an issue for teachers and support staff last spring, as well, as educators struggled to create remote learning plans from whole cloth and reach students and families from old or outdated CPS lists.

And hundreds of workers have been returning to schools over the last two weeks under unsafe conditions, from lack of PPE to sweeping failures in social distancing practices, even as much of that work could be done remotely.

The union is also calling for critical supports for Chicago’s working class families, including restoration of the federal guaranteed basic income of $600/week that expired earlier this summer.