Chicago Teachers Strike Context

I’m trying to compile articles that describe why the teachers are striking because CPS and the mayor’s talking points tend to collapse those reasons and miss a lot of important reasons. As much as teachers are fighting to be able to make a living practicing their profession, they’re also fighting for a vision of education that’s a civic good and not controlled by corporations.

  • Training Teachers to Embrace Reform
    Other trajectories for relationships with unions than what we’re seeing in Chicago.
  • Teacher X: Why I’m striking, JCB

    When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

    When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

    When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

    When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

    When you close and turnaround schools disrupting thousands of kids’ lives and educations and often plunging them into violence and have no data to support your practice, that hurts our kids.

  • Chicago teachers strike: In ’31, school board just stopped paying teachersI feel strongly that teachers feel like they need to stand their ground because of being undervalued in Chicago, and in the United States in general. This goes way back, apparently.

    If the Chicago teachers strike, now in its second day, seems contentious, perhaps it’s worth looking back to the summer of 1931.

    That’s when the school board stopped paying teachers in cash, defaulted on 24 payrolls and offered to pay teachers in scrip instead.

Questions about teaching

I’m thinking about being a public school math teacher through a teaching fellows program such as New York City Teaching Fellows.  I’m hoping that teaching could be a convergence of my technical knowledge, desire for social change, and belief in transformation and experience with teachers being important to me.  Still, I’m not 100% sure this is the best way for me to do these things, so I’ve compiled a survey of questions that are important to me.  If you’re a teacher, can you comment on this post with your answers?  If you want to give me feedback by e-mail or phone, just e-mail me and I’ll get back to you.  If you know someone who is a teacher (or who was a teacher and decided to do something else), can you please forward this to them?

Why did you decide to teach in a public school?

What are some elements  of your identity and personal history that have caused tension with your students, what are some that have created unity?

In what ways were you able to develop your own curriculum?

How has standardized testing and other aspects of NCLB affected your classroom experience?

What are things that affect your classroom that you feel are beyond your ability to change?

How have you been able to incorporate personal interests or passions (playing music, cycling, etc.) into your teaching?

What were some things that were different from your expectations about teaching?

How does your teaching affect social change?  How does you teaching fit in with other community organizing/activism you do?

What things have been most frustrating, disappointing about teaching?

Do you feel like your values and ideas are shared by fellow teachers?  By the administration?

How have you tried to make what you teach relevant to the community where you teach?

How have you collaborated with community groups or national movements?

How much time does teaching take up in your life?  How are these hours spent?

How do you set boundaries to make time for your personal life?

In what ways are you involved in your school outside of your classroom?

Anything else you want to add?