Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vote for CORE 5/21

As you well know, this has been a difficult year for public education in general, and CPS in particular. The general economic and budget mess is bad enough. And then teachers are scapegoated for the deep deep problems in education. We suffer, along with our students, the consequences -- slashed programs, over-capacity classrooms, a broken pension system, a performance management system where we are punished for things we have little control over.

These days fall into the "when the going gets rough..." category. Our best hope in times like these is organization. We are fortunate to have an organization that, historically at least, was formed by teachers to represent the interests of teachers. I am of course referring to the Chicago Teachers Union. I am glad the union is there. But I don't think the current leadership has been doing much to deal with the rapidly evolving crisis facing us and the students we teach and the communities we serve.

The Chicago Teachers Union election is coming up this Friday (May 21), and this is our great opportunity to change that. I am voting for the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) slate for a few reasons:
  1. A change is necessary in the union. Marilyn Stewart's administration has been doing too little too late around school closings, CPS budget transparency, or mobilizing the membership to challenge the problems facing us and our students.
  2. CORE has an admirable track record in doing exactly what the current leadership hasn't been doing. They have been in the forefront of the fight around closings, for budget transparency, for a democratic and mobilized union.
  3. CORE is about a different kind of union -- a democratic union. Away from business unionism. A union, as CORE presidential candidate Karen Lewis says, that will activate the power of its 28,000 members in partnership with parents, students and community.
  4. CORE recognizes that we need to work with other organizations to be successful -- including parent groups, community organizations, other labor organizations.
  5. CORE has an active base throughout CPS that can make this idea of a democratic union work.
  6. The CORE slate has been endorsed by Teachers for Social Justice, an organization that I respect.
There are other caucuses running candidates, but none of them have an organization that has been visible around the big issues facing us, or have the reach across the city to make the democratic union idea work, or have actually been trying to mobilize members to make their voice heard. CORE has, CORE does.

Finally CORE has emphasized unity among the different factions in the CTU at a time when we need to be speaking with one strong voice about the future of education.

So I am going to vote for CORE on Friday, May 21. And I encourage you to do so, too.


More info:

CORE for CTU video

Karen Lewis, Presidential Candidate for CTU at Town Hall Meeting

Karen Lewis Campaign video

Catalyst Chicago story on upcoming election

1 comment:

Chicago Teacher said...

I am voting for CORE because they are the only caucus that respects the membership. If you don't believe it just have a problem and call the UPC union. They are aloof,rude and insensitive. They have no intention of helping teachers who pay their salaries. If Marilyn sees you on the street, she's too important to speak to her members. She will talk with fraternize with the celebrities and others who have big names but the membership mean nothing to her. WE NEED A NEED UNION, VOTE CORE!