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Parents 4 Teachers has come together to stand up for teachers, defend public education, and fight for quality schools for ALL Chicago children. We believe that building solidarity among parents and teachers, supporting social movement teacher unionism and fighting racist school policies is key to building a high quality, equitable, and just public school system for all of Chicago.
Standing Up for Teachers Means Standing Up for Kids
P4T finds the school budgets released by CPS last week continue the trend of balancing the budget on the backs of school children and teachers. It's an abomination that families are being asked to accept these cuts when just three weeks ago the Chicago Council approved $16 million in TIF funds for a development in Uptown that the community opposes. P4T calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to immediately release the hundreds of millions of dollars in TIF accounts to prevent these cuts. See P4T's full statement under Action Updates and our call for progressive city revenue solutions.
If you're interested in reading books that push your thinking about fighting for education justice and building social movements, then this book group is the one for you. As parent-activists, we know there's little time between all the things we do, but this book group is one way we can refuel so we can continue to fight for justice.
Featured Book: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor*
When: Saturday, August 27, 2016, 9:30-11:30am (rescheduled date)
Where: Township, 2200 N. California Ave. (back room)
All are welcome! No need to be a parent to join us.
*Haymarket Books has generously provided P4T with copies of the book at a discounted price. You can pick up a copy of the book for $10 (or what you can pay) at 2504 W. Hutchinson in the QuestLab box. Please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rhoda at email@example.com if you have questions about the book.
P4T has developed a budget workshop to foster discussions about what we can do to push for fair budget solutions. The mayor and CPS spent the last several months blaming Springfield for the district's budget woes and threatening massive cuts--up to 40 percent--if the state didn't come through with extra funding. That didn't happen. It's up to all of us to push for just revenue solutions. If you'd like to host a budget workshop, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See Action Updates page for more information.
The CPS announcement that it will slash school budgets next year by 26 – 30 percent creates a false choice for parents. CPS says if the state doesn’t increase funding for the district, it will have to cut dramatically the per-pupil funding given to schools. The reality is that the state woefully under funds education and, long-term, we need increased state spending on education to achieve fiscal stability and provide the education Chicago children deserve.
However, CPS has tools at its disposal to continue to fund schools at current levels. Surplus TIF funds, in excess of $1 billion by the city’s own account, could help bridge next fiscal year’s gap. Plus, CPS has done nothing to recover a dime of the hundreds of millions of dollars in fees paid out to banks in toxic swap deals.
Rather than playing the blame game with Springfield, the mayor and CPS owe it to parents, kids and their teachers to use every tool at their disposal to fully fund education. There is enormous wealth in the city of Chicago and if “putting kids first” is to be more than a campaign slogan, the mayor needs to tap into that wealth today.
Parent and community groups took action to successfully pressure Senate President John Cullerton to assign the elected school board bill (HB 0557), which he has been blocking for over two months. The bill sailed out of the Illinois House by a landslide 110 - 4 vote. The bill is now with Sen. Kwame Raoul. See Action Updates page for more information.
Proposed pay cuts for teachers and budget cuts for schools mean it's time for parents to get involved. Learn how you can fight back here.
The current Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) contract—agreed to after an eight-day strike in 2012—expired at the end of school last year. Teachers and CPS are now negotiating a new contract. The CTU’s contact demands include important services and supports for our classrooms. Read about them here.