Our House of Delegates met Wednesday night for the first meeting of 2024 and discussed important issues we’d like to share with you. For more information, please reach out to your CTU delegate and be sure to attend your school’s next union meeting.

President’s report

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates extended congratulations to our 46 new and 73 renewing National Board Certified Teachers for attaining their profession’s highest mark of achievement. We now have NBCTs in every network and nearly 40 percent of our NBCTs are teachers of color, a remarkable accomplishment. Davis Gates also discussed the timeline for our 2024 contract campaign. February will be a busy month with the first session of our spring Delegates and School Leaders Conference (Feb. 22) and organizing to pass the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance. In March, our House of Delegates will discuss and approve contract proposals to submit to CPS and we will continue our grassroots organizing for the March 19 primary election. See our full calendar of spring events below.

Vice President’s report

CTU Vice President Jackson Potter heralded the recent collaboration between CTU, Mayor Johnson’s office, and CPS which won the district a $35 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Grant Program. The grant will allow CPS to purchase 50 new electric school buses of its own.

Potter also reported on the growing support for our Sustainable Community Schools (SCS) model, which is a cornerstone of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s education platform. The mayor attended an August SCS training and reaffirmed his commitment to making every CPS school a Sustainable Community School. Members interested in learning how their school can become an SCS should reach out to Jhoanna Maldonado at jhoannamaldonado@ctulocal1.org.

Delegate elections being held this month

Elections for all CTU delegates will be held this month for the 2024–2026 term. Any contested elections for clinician, PSRP, citywide teacher, and retiree delegates (i.e. for members not assigned to a single school) will be conducted by mail. The deadline to receive mail-in ballots for those groups in the CTU office is Jan. 22, 5 p.m. Nominations and elections for school delegates will be held in-person at your school. Delegates are the union representatives in their workplaces and the major decision makers in CTU. Thanks to all the individuals who have stepped up to vie for this very important position in service to our union.

Schedule your next union meeting

Delegates are strongly encouraged to schedule monthly union meetings to keep their members abreast of important union issues. Those meetings are especially critical now, as we embark on our 2024 contract campaign. Union meetings help keep members informed and engaged on all of CTU’s activities and help build union power in your building. Email organizing@ctulocal1.org with your meeting date and time so we can provide support. And remember, wear your CTU red on solidarity Fridays!

Equal paychecks poll

Prior to January 10, delegates surveyed their members on whether they wanted to receive equal paychecks every two weeks across the work year or the current payroll calendar where several paychecks are short. A total of 267 schools had participated in the survey at their school by the time of tonight’s meeting, with 84 percent supporting the change to equal paychecks and 16 percent supporting the current payroll calendar.

CPS Contract campaign: Citywide Professional Problems Committee

Delegates heard a report about the role of the Citywide Professional Problems Committee (citywide PPC), which is charged with developing and reviewing our union’s contract proposals and presenting them to delegates for approval. The purpose and role of the committee is described the CTU By Laws Article XII, Sec. 6. Committee members have begun assembling our CPS contract demands, reviewing hundreds of contract proposals submitted by both individual members and CTU committees. The citywide PPC will present contract proposals to the House of Delegates for consideration at its March 6 meeting.

Bring Chicago Home

For the last five years, CTU has been a member of the citywide coalition pushing for the Bring Chicago Home ordinance. Prior mayors blocked the measure, but in just six months, the City Council, led by Mayor Johnson, approved putting the measure on the March primary ballot, allowing voters to have a say on this historic ordinance.

If approved, Bring Chicago Home would raise the real estate transfer tax to create a dedicated revenue stream to address homelessness. The vast majority of real estate sales, which are under $1 million, would see the tax cut. But the real estate lobby is pushing hard — and spending big — to kill it. CTU is committed to doing what we do — organize — to educate voters and get out the vote. Since 2019, we have been fighting for the resources that our 20,000 unhoused students and their families need. We will be encouraging our members, our neighbors and our CPS families to Vote YES! for affordable housing.

On Jan. 15, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, we’re hosting a Bring Chicago Home breakfast and telethon phone bank. Sign up to join us and help make Dr. King’s dream of housing as a human right a reality in Chicago. RSVP for the Jan. 15 event.

Restorative justice practices a priority

The CTU Human Rights Committee provided a report on the need for expanded restorative justice programs in the district. A majority of members surveyed, 83 percent, report that they need more support implementing restorative justice practices in their schools. As a result, the CTU Human Rights Committee recommends advocating for additional centrally-funded restorative justice coordinators as part of our 2024 CTU contract proposals.

Black Lives Matter at School weeks of action Feb. 5-16

Once again, we are participating in the Black Lives Matter at School national week of action as part of our recognition of Black History Month. We will have two weeks of actions lifting up Black educators and their students. We will feature events about youth organizing, service for Black communities, anti-racist curricula that centers and affirms Black lives and supporting Black students’ mental health.

Additionally, we ask that during the week of Feb. 12-16, every member teach Black History. Find more details and instructional resources for the week’s actions at ctu.sh/BLM. The CTU will provide materials and events to prepare you for teaching the BLM at school lessons now, and during the week of Feb. 5 – 9. We want members to treat teaching BLM at school as a “structure test” and take photos, share lessons you have taught and encourage colleagues to do the same. We will see if we can do this at all CPS and charter schools.

As part of our Black History Month activities, in collaboration with the CTU Foundation we are hosting a blood drive and panel on sickle cell anemia and maternal health on Feb. 1 at CTU. Find more details and resources for the week’s actions at ctu.sh/BLM.

Upcoming events, ways to get involved

Jan. 17:NBCT Info Session
Jan. 23:Contract Action Team Webinar — Set up your CAT now
Feb. 1:CTUF Blood Drive, Sickle Cell Anemia and Maternal Health panel
Feb. 5 – 16:Black Lives at Matter at School weeks of action
Feb. 17:Future Black Educators Scholarship Gala
Feb. 22 & March 2:Delegates and School Leaders training
March 6:HOD meeting, citywide PPC contract proposals presentation
March 19:Illinois primary election — Vote YES to Bring Chicago Home

Action items passed during tonight’s HOD meeting

Delegates approved the following action items:

  1. Endorsements of the following candidates in the March 19 primary election: Representatives Abdelnasser Rashid, Justin Slaughter, Kam Buckner, Edgar Gonzalez and Kimberly DuBuclet.
  2. resolution supporting the Freedom to Read as outlined in the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement.
  3. resolution approving participation in the Black Lives Matter at School week of action as a contract campaign “structure test” to teach curriculum that reflects our racial justice values and engages our students and is user-friendly and accessible to educators (unlike much of Skyline).