How you can help Chicago teachers from anywhere

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Teachers in the 3rd largest school district in the United States are on strike today.

What can you do to support Chicago teachers:

* Learn about the issues in play.

Read STRIKE! CPS fails to respond to educational proposals of Chicago Teachers Union, while Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues insults forcing first Chicago schools strike in 25 years from Substance News of Chicago

If you’re in a rush, at least read this tidbit found in “STRIKE!“.:
“We are demanding a reasonable timetable for the installation of air-conditioning in student classrooms–a sweltering, 98-degree classroom is not a productive learning environment for children. This type of environment is unacceptable for our members and all school personnel. A lack of climate control is unacceptable to our parents.”

Considering that Chicago and the Midwest suffered a weeks long deadly heatwave this summer, I’m surprised that air conditioning needs to be quibbled over.

Read Chicago teachers on strike by Laura Clawson at Daily Kos

Read Why are Chicago teachers on strike? – Washington Post

Visit the Chicago Teachers Union web site

Read what I wrote following a talk by a rank and file CTU member: In Madison standing at the brink of the CTU strike

If you have time, read The Schools Chicago Students Deserve. Not all of what the CTU want for students can be negotiated into a contract. But this document establishes what they’re aiming for. The bullet points:
*class size matters,
*teachers must educate the whole child,
*children need “wrap-around services” (like counseling),
and
*students of color need equitable delivery of services.

The document also calls for
*early education without excessive testing,
*teacher compensation befitting training and experience,
*equitable service delivery to bilingual and special education students,
*sound school buildings,
*invitations for parents to participate, and
*a guarantee of funding for essential services.

* Donate:

Buy a teacher lunch by donating to Primo’s Pizza, a locally owned and teacher-friendly restaurant near the strike HQ delivering pizza, pasta and salads. Call Gus or Daisy at Primo’s Pizza at (312) 243-1052 . Primo’s is at 816 W Van Buren Street, Chicago. Open 11 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday.

Contribute to the CTU Solidarity Fund.
“All donations will be used to conduct broad outreach throughout Chicago and nation-wide. Specifically, we plan to print educational materials, to distribute information about our positive agenda, such as the CTU report The Schools Chicago Students Deserve, and to mobilize massive support for educators in rallies and gatherings throughout the city.”

* Call local Chicago officials:
Contact info is at Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign


* Demonstrate wherever you are:

In Chicago: 3:30PM Central, School Board Headquarters at 125 S. Clark St.-facebook event

Elsewhere in the United States:
A map of sites is here – note – you may need to wait a few seconds for the points to load on the map.

* Comment at the articles you find online:
Just click this link and you will be googling.

* Share what Chicago teachers have to say about the ongoing strike and contract talks:
On twitter –
add the hashtags #CTU and #CTUstrike

Follow @CTSCampaign and @CTULocal1

On facebook –
Like the page
Chicago Teachers Union
and
Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign

*Get official CTU text message updates on your cell phone:

Text 69238 with “CTU1″ in the body of the message.


* Listen to what Chicago teachers and parents have to say:

Amy Goodman featured the CTU strike on today’s episode of Democracy Now. An interview of a CTU instructor and a parent supportive of CTU’s strike starts at the 15:13 mark.

“Rahm Emanuel has pushed through laws in Illinois, basically designed for his political gain, in my opinion. We’re not allowed legally to strike over anything but compensation. But teachers are not most interested in compensation; we’re most interested in being able to do our jobs for the students we serve. So, you know, I think we’re trying to tie other issues that we feel are very important to compensation, so they’re part of the bargaining table agreement.” – Phillip Cantor

Phil Cantor is a teacher at North-Grand High School. He is also a strike captain and a member of the group Teachers for Social Justice. Rhoda Rae Gutierrez is the mother of two public school students in Chicago and a member of the grassroots group Parents for Teachers.

Get the transcript of the interview here.

Hat tip to Heather of the blog Monologues of Dissent for turning me on to the Democracy Now episode.

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