Posted tagged ‘CTU Election’

CTU Election 5/21

May 19, 2010

We’re down to the final two days before the Chicago teachers get to choose between business as usual union politics where we throw money at politicians and hope they save us and movement style union politics where we save ourselves.   If you have been following my sporadic postings since October you know that I took Howard Zinn’s advice and joined up with a social movement.   As a teacher, the thing that was most important to me was education and naturally that’s where I went.  I can’t tell you how CORE has impressed me in this time.   While the other caucuses seem exactly one person deep–maybe two—CORE has 20 or 30.

I talk about CORE a bit differently than most.   You see, since I didn’t join until October I was able to pick a caucus that felt like they would take the union where it needed to go.   Since, I joined I’ve seen CORE’s partnerships with Teachers for Social Justice, Chicago Youth Initiating Change, and a host of community organizations.   We have something developing here and I’d ordinarily be quite content if we lost the election to sit back and continue to let the movement germinate, but who knows what will be left of the union or the city’s schools if another caucus wins—especially UPC.

The CORE Slate

Karen Lewis – She’s a firebrand.   She reminds me a bit of my sister.   Most of the time she’s pretty laid back and easygoing, but let her talk about education and she lights up.   She makes such an eloquent spokesperson for the teachers and students of the Chicago Public Schools.   It’s about time we had a CTU President that we can watch on Chicago Tonight without cringing.

Jesse Sharkey – He’s the perfect counterpoint to Karen.  I see him at CORE meetings with his young son and I see not only a great feather, but also a guy who really knows how to organize his time.   He’s a very effective speaker as well who was quite effective during the city council hearing on school turnarounds.

Kristine Mayle – I blogged about Kristine on the last day before going into work this year.   I was shocked to find out the next day that she would be working with me.  She reminds me of a turn of the 20th century labor leader.  She is so polished and well-spoken.  She also seems to be a font of endless stamina.  She made it to every school closing hearing 2 years ago and most of them this year.

Michael Brunson – Michael is fun.  He’s a former boxer and a second career teacher who is extremely gentle and charming, but like you might expect there’s a fighter there.   He’ll be smiling and you never see the jab coming.

I could go on and on.   This is an organization that is passionate about public education.   Check us out at   If you are a Chicago Public Schools teacher I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I am going to tell you educate yourself and make up your own mind.   I’m looking forward to Friday when the votes are cast, but I’m also nervous as all get out.


A Funny Thing Happened On the way to the Blog

April 15, 2010

I’ve missed a lot.   Charlie Crist did the right thing today in Florida and proved that just as not all Democrats are on our side, all Republicans are not the devil incarnate.  In Washington DC, there have been some very funny things going on with the books.  I haven’t covered either of these because election season has come to the Chicago Teacher’s Union and I’m running with CORE.   Ron Huberman and his cronies have been using faulty books and fake math to drum up a budget crisis in order to get teacher’s to make concessions while still claiming hefty raises for themselves.

Something has to be done and I’m absolutely certain that CORE is the best hope for the teachers and students of Chicago.   There’s a mentality that has gotten into several teacher’s unions like the City of Chicago that the way to change things is to send in your union dues and endorse and contribute to politicians.  That gets us nowhere.   We’ve endorsed some of the very politicians who have passed the worst legislation against us.   CORE is decidedly more active.  We saved Chicago schools by speaking, picketing, protesting, and supporting parents.  I personally took a personal day to speak at the Board of Education to stop turnarounds.  I was nervous, but also really proud to have exercised my rights.

There’s a war against teachers going on nationwide.   I’m willing to do my part in Chicago and I hope other teachers that agree with me will do what they can in their cities.  Democrat doesn’t necessarily mean progressive and progressives are what we need right now.   There’s a lot to do and we’re on a short timetable.   There is hope though and to paraphrase a President that I want to believe in despite his insistence of governing like a moderate Republican, “we are the change we have been waiting for.”  Teachers need to be included in education reform decision making and not simply dictated to.      This blog is not dead, just don’t expect a ton of activity for the next month.