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Quick Hit
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5:36pm
Mon Apr 7, 2014

Guest Post: Chicago Teachers Union Advocates for Comprehensive Charter Reform in Illinois

The following is from Stephanie Gadlin, communications director for the Chicago Teachers Union.

Changes could prevent private investors such as Bruce Rauner from raiding public assets and further benefitting from failed school reform policy

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been a vocal critic of Illinois charter operations which compete with neighborhood schools for critical resources and often cherry-picks students based on test scores.  The law that sanctions the privately held, publicly funded charters is deeply flawed and in the wake of the UNO scandal the union and taxpayers have continued to lobby lawmakers to do something about it.

Thus, CTU, along with a number of education advocates, parents and others, currently backs several pieces of legislation under consideration in Springfield that will bring significant reforms to unstable charter movement in Illinois, including a bill calling for the elimination of the Illinois State Charter School Commission.

“Tax payers are demanding more accountability from charter operators; they want to know whether the money going to these schools is actually being spent on educating students,” said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. “With all of this talk of school choice there is surprisingly little information about their students’ rates of graduation, drop out or push out from these organizations. The law as its currently written totally undermines the authority of the Illinois State Board of Education and gives it to a shadow commission with little to no oversight. This is unacceptable in the nation’s third largest school district.”

Quick Hit
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4:48pm
Wed Mar 19, 2014

Guest Post: Lessons Learned In Primary 2014

The following guest post is from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Incumbents seeking to erode retirement security in Chicago had better beware

Throughout this primary season, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been a strong and vocal advocate for voters on the South and West Sides of Chicago—many of whom have been most impacted by the foolishness of education deformers and pension thieves. It is time to stand up to the predatory corporate and political interests that seek to threaten the economic security of thousands of workers. Incumbents seeking to steal our retirement security, beware.

The Chicago Teachers Union expressed people power this electoral cycle. We were most successful in creating a platform of educational justice and retirement security that was expressed by our endorsed candidates.  Representative-elect Will Guzzardi amplified our calls for an elected, representative school board, a moratorium on school closings and an end to charter proliferation.

With our continued support and his ability to turn the issues we’ve long championed into a successful political campaign, he was able to take down the Berrios machine and strike a blow to the top-down political tradition of the Northwest Side.

While the 26th District race remains contested, it is clear that voters on the South Side have soundly rejected State Rep. Christian “Crown” Mitchell’s anti-working families’ platform. This contest, more than any other this Primary season, exposes the racial and economic fault lines for 2015.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:52pm
Mon Mar 17, 2014

Election Preview: Tensions Boil Over In The 26th District Legislative Race

Jhatayn “Jay” Travis, who is challenging incumbent State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) in the 26th District Democratic race, blasted her opponent Monday for "questionable election tactics." Mitchell's campaign called Travis' comments "desperate and superfluous." Progress Illinois details the latest scuffle kicking up dirt in the race on the eve of the primary election.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:34pm
Thu Mar 6, 2014

10th District Race: Candidates Sound Off On Elected Chicago School Board, TIF Reform

Three of the five candidates vying to unseat incumbent State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) in the crowded 10th District Illinois House race took part in a forum Wednesday night, discussing everything from education to TIFs. Progress Illinois was there for the discussion. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:35am
Wed Mar 5, 2014

Illinois GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Social Issues

The four Illinois GOP gubernatorial hopefuls faced questions about a number of social issues at a Tuesday night debate, ranging from the death penalty and women’s reproductive rights to helping ex-offenders reintegrate into society. Progress Illinois provides some highlights from the forum.

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