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AFT-IFT Local #1. 28,000 teachers, para-professionals, clinicians and support staff dedicated to giving Chicago's students the schools they deserve.
8 Nov

So many thanks. We owe Black and Brown grassroots organizers — in every city and state that went overwhelmingly blue — a great debt. Thank you for seeing what is often unseen by operatives, pundits and party leadership.
Thank you for acknowledging the complexity of choosing survival.
Thank you to Black voters, in particular, in cities like our own, and Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, and to Brown and Indigenous voters in Arizona and Nevada. You've commited to a vision of America that our ancestors have died for, and that we have yet to realize.
Read 10 tweets
6 Nov
The Sun-Times keeps writing these cute “if it’s good for the Archdiocese, it’s good for CPS” editorials. The mayor said herself it’s not an 🍎 to 🍎 comparison. Here’s why...…
1. Numbers

Catholic schools reopened with 34,000 students and over 2,000 teachers. There are about 350,000 students in CPS and additional 50,000 educators/staff. 400,000 people. About 15% of the city's population. We'll need more than HEPA filters and the option to open windows.
2. Class size

Archdiocese limits class sizes to 15–22 students. There are some CPS schools with class sizes of 35-45 students. Those schools are smaller than CPS schools in general, with presumably far fewer people in buildings. CPS has elementary schools with 1,500 students.
Read 7 tweets
16 Oct
Our members been weighing in pretty clearly regarding CPS' and the mayor's plans to return students to unsafe school buildings in Nov. Remote learning isn't ideal, but it's safe as COVID cases rise, and parents, students and educators need to know they will be protected. #thread
This is feedback from many of our special education and early childhood educators...many of whom are also CPS parents. They have questions. Other parents have questions. And they all deserve the answers that will make them confident in what CPS and the mayor are mandating.
Mask wearing is a problem for students with cognitive disabilities, sensory needs, deaf and hard of hearing (mask hides visual clues), language deficits.
Read 24 tweets
15 Oct
There's a lot wrong with the decisions CPS and the mayor make around our schools. It's hard to know where to begin sometimes. Perhaps the most glaring in this case is how this plan was hatched by district officials all by themselves. No educators, parents, students...nothing.
Tomorrow marks two weeks since an independent arbitrator ordered CPS to allow clerks, clerk assistants and tech coordinators to work remotely due to school buildings being unsafe. Since then, the district has done absolutely nothing to comply with the order except undermine it.
Illinois recorded 4,015 new coronavirus cases today, which is a single-day record. Today's 53 deaths are also the most in a day since late June. Every state surrounding Illinois is on the city's emergency coronavirus travel order.

We are still in the midst of a raging pandemic.
Read 10 tweets
13 Oct
Also, we welcome plans from CPS and the mayor to boost educator diversity. It's something our union and partners like @GrowYourOwnIL have been working on for years.

But before that, CPS needs to care for, respect and nurture the Black and Brown teachers we already have. #thread
Black teachers were 41 percent of the CPS workforce in 2000, according to Illinois State Board of Ed Report Card data. That percentage had plummeted to 21 percent by 2019.
Nearly a quarter of the schools in our district, in a city that is 1/3 Black, have one or no Black teachers. In 2001, there were about 10 CPS schools with no Black teachers. Now there are more than 60. What does that say about how we value Black and BIPOC students and educators?
Read 10 tweets
1 Sep
CTU members returning to buildings are reporting dust, uncleaned spills, rodent droppings and a lack of PPE, hand sanitizer, signage, social distance markings and plexiglass. No way CPS would have been ready for 400,000+ people in schools next week.…
“It was obvious that my classroom was never ‘deep cleaned.’ For example, the students’ chairs still had crumbs and milk spills on them. The room was covered in a layer of dust.”
“[Custodians] were told last year ’10 minutes per room.’ They don’t have time for their regular duties, much less the enhanced cleaning protocol. Aramark won’t change anything. CPS won’t do anything either. I’m afraid I’ll die if we go back during COVID-19.”
Read 10 tweets
19 Aug
Seems like the "CtU nEeDs To WoRk WiTh CpS" narrative is becoming a thing." Y'all are funny. We'd love to have the entire city sit in on these convos and see what it's like to present ideas that work for educators, parents and students and have every one met with "No."
Here's some insight: CPS and the mayor are big on legality. Like, really big on it. They make safety and pedagogical decisions based on legal maneuvers, not best practices.
Their entire remote learning plan, and all of their expectations on what parents, students and educators should experience—in the midst of a pandemic—is basically a legal brief of what they can and cannot do legally. It isn’t based on educator, parent or student voice at all.
Read 5 tweets
19 Aug
Chicago is behind (again). What we see in Los Angeles is a burgeoning partnership between @UTLAnow and their district—a remote learning plan that recognizes that a) we are in a pandemic, and b) the social inequities that existed already have been exacerbated.
It isn't perfect, but it's an agreement.
We don't have that.
Read 12 tweets
27 Jul
In a CPS community meeting with officials, parents, teachers and community members today, one of our members posed the following question in the Q&A:

"Have you prepared statements for when the first student or teacher passes away due to exposure to the virus at school?" #thread
"Know that decisions you make are putting lives at stake. Teachers are NOT comfortable with your plan. Please, it is imperative we are engaged in SOLELY remote learning, not in-person instruction."
"It's easy for you to be socially distant at CPS HQ, but would you implement this same plan if you were going to be in-class with me teaching 9th graders in a school with 3,000 students?"
Read 7 tweets
18 Jul
As the nation reeled from the death of beloved civil rights activists John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, we learned of the pepper-spraying and beating of a new generation of leaders for rallying against a despised public monument to white supremacy.
When a Chicago police officer knocked out the teeth of Black, female youth organizer Miracle Boyd on Friday night, the spirits of Lewis and Vivian were with her and her fellow protesters, who demanded the removal of a statue celebrating genocidal colonizer Christopher Columbus.
Miracle was a CPS student, @GKMC18 leader and advocate for her educators. She was among our best and brightest, who fought school closings and stood shoulder to shoulder with CTU members on picket lines. Headed to DePaul University in the fall, she is our hope, and our future.
Read 4 tweets
17 Jul
Trying to digest this CPS framework, and our main takeaway is this: They're asking a school district that is more than 80 percent Black and Latinx - communities that have suffered the most harm RE: COVID-19 - to return to school communities that cannot guarantee safety. #thread
CPS has reached the conclusion to plan for hybrid learning, and we think full remote learning is more appropriate based on the situation throughout our country and rising rates locally. But remote learning isn't forever. And there are questions that still need to be answered.
Access to Internet and devices for remote learning is still an issue. Students and families need these resources now, not a month from now or whenever the district makes its final decision.
Read 18 tweets
20 May
Our lawsuit against the mayor's appointed Board of Education, and Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump's U.S. Department of Education, is about providing instruction for some of our city's most vulnerable children. #thread
We were forced to this point by the U.S. government's failure to provide the guidance, resources and support needed to serve special education students during this global #COVID19 pandemic.
The students who need the most are again given the least. This is a pattern with CPS.
Read 9 tweets
12 Mar
We sent a letter to Chicago's mayor and the CPS CEO today regarding their response to the #COVID19 #coronavirus pandemic. We have extreme concerns about their plans for the continued safe operation of our district.…
We have been in close communication with CPS officials about the district’s response to the occurrence at Vaughn Occupational High School. We understand our nation on a whole is in uncharted territory. But this moment demands leadership from the highest levels.
What we've seen thus far has been confusing and inconsistent. We hearing complaints from a number of educators at schools with more than 1,000 students. The governor has wisely banned gatherings of 250 people or more. Where is the continuity?
Read 19 tweets
8 Nov 19
There have been a lot of opinions shared about us, CPS and City Hall leading up to and during the strike. But the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is how absolutely atrocious CPS' new grading system Aspen is.
Some thoughts from the rank-and-file...

"Nope/ no it’s not."
"It took 2.5 hours today to click 3 buttons for each of my classes. I will refuse to do this next quarter. This is unacceptable."
Read 14 tweets
8 Aug 19
More @ChiPubSchools/@chicagosmayor budget analysis. What they say: more $ for schools! What their budget does: CUTS $100k+ for 200+ schools. CUTS $500k+ from 43 schools. Mayor, put your promises in writing - in an enforceable contract. #FairContractNow
@ChiPubSchools @chicagosmayor It gets worse. For social workers, they claim they're adding 35. But the budget and position files tell a different story. The 6/19 position file shows they had 470 SW positions. But For FY20, the budget shows 458 social worker positions - a CUT of 12 jobs.
@ChiPubSchools @chicagosmayor All this while the TIF slush fund is UP $180M over last year, to more than $840M. At least $200M of that is coming right out of revenues that SHOULD be going to schools. But @ChiPubSchools has allocated less than half that - $97M - to the FY20 budget.
Read 5 tweets
8 Aug 19
Analyzing school budget from
-- and those claims of more school nurses are actually CUTS. #FairContractNow
@chicagosmayor The budget narrative says they are increasing nurses by 30. The FY20 budget report shows they have budgeted for 127 certified School Nurse positions (and 91 Health Service and 124 Hospital Licensed practitioner Nurse positions).
@chicagosmayor The position file from last year showed 127 school nurses (93 health service and 127 HLPN positions) – so where is the increase? In fact – the FY19 budget shows they originally budgeted for 145 school nurses – so the budget they produced shows a DECREASE.
Read 6 tweets