The state of public education in Chicago has struggled with overcrowding, financial crises, racism, divestment, and wage theft of educators. Stemming back to the early days of Chicago’s incorporation into a city, these issues have been planted into the foundation of this district. There’s been numerous superintendents and board members who have failed the children of Chicago. With the different administrations and approaches to managing public education affairs for such a large district, there have been countless missed opportunities to correct past mistakes. The Chicago Teachers Union was formed out of a response to an emergent need within the community: ensuring our children receive the best education possible.
There was a time in Chicago’s history that teachers were being paid with IOUs or not at all, literally. The school-agers of our city deserve to be taught by folks who feel appreciated and are paid properly for their contributions to the community. Parents and students recognize the huge importance of our educators and stand with them to ensure they thrive. This solidarity was the catalyst for the birth of the Chicago Teachers Union. September is the 10-year anniversary of this historic teacher's union strike.
The Chicago Teachers Union's mission is comprised of seven pillars of education justice including but not limited to childhood development, protection of teacher’s rights, and equitable education. Its affiliations include the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), the Illinois State Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (ISFL-CIO), the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
The Chicago Teacher’s Union has been working feverishly to protect the health of all students and their teachers by decreasing the spread of the coronavirus. They’ve confronted opposition from some parents and the current mayoral administration. Their response to this persecution has always been a deep commitment to ensuring the city of Chicago keeps the infection rate down and never ends another school year with 22,000 positive cases. A big component of equitable education is to create an environment that feels safe so children can flourish. It’s hard to accomplish that when they’re confronted with sickness and uncertainty.
BlackRoots Alliance is dedicated to education justice because it’s a huge milestone towards experiencing Black liberation. We know that every Black child should have a robust and rigorous public education. We also know that supporting the Chicago Teachers Union is a necessary step towards realizing a better future for our children and the generations to come.