The Chicago Teachers Victory

As you may or may not be aware, the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel have been embroiled in a bitter dispute, with Emanuel backing many of the nonsensical anti-labor and school “reform” ideas that have swept the nation.  Earlier this week the CTU won a stunning victory.  From Diane Ravitch:

As you may recall, Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago has demanded that teachers teach a longer school day without additional compensation.

For that and other reasons (including rising class size), the Chicago Teachers Union took a strong stand in opposition. It took a strike vote, and 98% of those voting gave their approval, which was unexpected and unprecedented. The CTU held a rally, and 10,000 members turned out.

Mayor Emanuel accepted a deal that met the CTU’s demands. Its members will not have to work longer hours without pay. The school day will be extended, as he wants, and the teachers who provide the extra time will be selected from the pool of veteran teachers who were laid off.

This was a stunning victory for the CTU. It shows what happens when a union is resolute and united, and its demands are just.

That last line is the lesson that PJSTA members can take from this situation.  Across the country we are facing battles on many fronts.  Issues dealing with the labor movement, issues dealing with education policy.  We will accomplish great things standing together.  It is the only way that we can combat the billionaires funding the push to destroy public education and unions as a whole.

The turnout at this rally for Chicago teachers helped in their struggle for a fair contract.

PJSTA Picketing with UWUA Local 1-2 Workers


**Update** An agreement has been reached pending ratification.


Sign the AFT’s Petition to End America’s Fixation With High Stakes Testing!

All children deserve a rich, meaningful public education that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that await them as they become contributing members of a democratic society. Growing our nation’s future citizens and workers is a serious undertaking that calls for a thoughtful focus on teaching and learning.

But the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined that focus, putting at grave risk our students’ learning and their ability both to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and to fulfill their personal goals.

Add your name to the thousands of Americans taking a stand to restore balance to public education by prioritizing high-quality instruction informed by appropriate and useful assessments.

Sign the petition here.

First to Worst

From “Learning Matters“:

First to Worst (2004) explores the roots of California’s current education crisis, tracing it to the anti-tax movement of the 1970’s and 80’s and to civil rights lawsuits that aimed to equalize school spending but resulted instead in disastrous funding limits on schools. The documentary pays special attention to the effects of Proposition 13, the 1978 anti-tax law (still in effect) that froze property taxes on businesses and homes and, critics say, cut funding for public schools off at the knees. 

Join Us to Support Locked Out Con Ed Workers!

This Wednesday, June 25th, at noon, PJSTA members, along with other NYSUT members, will be joining locked out members of the UWUA Local1-2 as they picket at 4 Irving Place in Manhattan.

Remember that an attack on one labor union is an attack on ALL of us. Just as we ask them to support our schools, they desperately need us to come support them.  Please check your email for more detailed information.