* In These Times…
A standoff at the bargaining table over the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) package of housing demands dominated the city’s news cycle last week. The union is asking Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide housing assistance for new teachers, hire staff members to help students and families in danger of losing housing, and take other steps to advocate for more affordable housing overall in the city. […]
Housing advocates agree. “The mayor’s view reflects a very narrow understanding of the professional responsibilities of public school educators,” says Marnie Brady, assistant professor at Marymount Manhattan College and research committee co-chair of the national Homes For All campaign. “The living conditions of their students are indeed the working conditions of their classrooms.”
By raising an issue that affects not only teachers, but the communities they live and work in, CTU is deploying a strategy known as “bargaining for the common good.” That approach was key to the union’s victory in its landmark 2012 walkout, but a potential strike of 35,000 school and parks workers this week is shaping up to be an even more dramatic test.
On some levels, I can understand that position.
* But I cannot understand this on any level…
The Chicago Teachers Union failed to participate in a major study aimed at protecting students from sexual violence, according to the study and its authors.
Consultant Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor hired last year to help Chicago Public Schools revamp its Office of Student Protections and Title IX, wrote in a Sept. 26 report that she tried repeatedly to seek the input of CTU President Jesse Sharkey but received no cooperation.
“The Chicago Teachers Union President is the only person we contacted who failed to respond to our inquiries. We made multiple attempts to contact him by phone, by email, and through his assistant and office, during both our preliminary and follow-up evaluations,” Hickey wrote in a footnote to her 134-page report.
CTU spokeswoman Chris Geovanis said the union searched its archives Friday afternoon and found two of the emails from Hickey and her team — but said they had been diverted to a junk email folder and were never read.
* Um, this isn’t the first time that the CTU claimed emails from Hickey wound up in spam. This is from an interview last year after Hickey released a preliminary report…
In Maggie Hickey’s preliminary report (which examines the district’s handling of sexual misconduct cases), she goes so far as to write in the footnotes that you didn’t call her back. Do you agree with the observation that the union has been absent in the discussions about what to do?
I’m super annoyed about that. She emailed me, the email went to my spam folder, I happened not to see it. I’m not that hard to get in touch with – you can call my assistant, our front desk, our press office. There are a lot of ways to get in touch with me.
The CTU knew Hickey was looking into this. CTU leadership knew Hickey was having trouble reaching them via email and by phone more than a year ago. Why weren’t top officials reaching out to her to help with the investigation? Some students were raped, for crying out loud, and yet the CTU just sat back for over a year and throughout the entire process of writing two reports?