On Tuesday, September 4th, the Bloomington Education Association hosted a talk by Debby Pope, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) delegate. Attended by nearly 30 people, Ms. Pope’s talk addressed the current impasse between the teachers union and Chicago’s mayor and his unelected school board (See videos below for her presentation).
Chicago teachers have resisted a corporate-driven movement that seeks to undermine teachers’ professional autonomy and erode both public education and teacher unions. In recent negotiations, the CTU wants to have say on learning conditions in the classroom, but the school board refuses to negotiate on issues not mandated by the state.
Ms. Pope said that some obstacles to an agreement include an invasive and costly health wellness program, the district’s refusal to agree on a teacher recall provision (giving preference to teachers laid off), and significantly higher health care costs for teachers.
There will be many ways to demonstrate solidarity with Chicago teachers in upcoming weeks. Stay up-to-date with information at the CTU website, and if you want to give money to the strike fund you can do so online. CTU supporters in Bloomington-Normal will also be organizing a train trip to Chicago on Saturday, September 15, should the CTU strike on September 10th. Email Corey Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on local efforts.