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CTU House of Delegates Votes to Suspend Strike

9/18/2012
Statement of IFT President Dan Montgomery on Chicago Teachers Union Tentative Agreement

After months of difficult negotiations forced teachers and education professionals to the picket lines September 10, I am pleased that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) House of Delegates has voted to suspend the strike. Members will take a ratification vote on the tentative agreement within two weeks. Classes will resume tomorrow for Chicago’s 400,000 public school students.

This is a tremendous victory for the union, CPS students, parents and the entire community. By joining together to fight for what’s best for kids, the CTU members and their supporters have triumphed over a corporate-financed, ill-conceived education reform agenda. They have ensured that students come first in Chicago’s schools.

The 26,000 members of the CTU have received unprecedented levels of support throughout the strike for one important reason – their fight was about much more than compensation or benefits. It was a fight for the very soul of public education and the needs of the students they are committed to serve every day in Chicago’s schools.

The tentative agreement between CTU and CPS represents significant victories for not only the union, but the entire community. In many critical areas, the strike has resulted in gains that will positively impact education and learning for all kids. 

Most importantly, the agreement includes a fairer evaluation system that ensures kids will spend more time learning because teachers will be able to spend more time teaching.

The proposed contract also addresses the union’s demand that all kids receive a well-rounded education which includes art, music, physical education, world languages and more. Provisions guaranteeing necessary textbooks and educational materials are available on the first day of school every year, rather than weeks after the start of school, are also included. In addition, CPS has committed to hiring more nurses, social workers and school counselors to serve students if revenue becomes available.

The strength and resolve of CTU members was bolstered by support from dedicated CPS parents and community members throughout their shared struggle for education justice. Together, they sent a clear message to CPS and school board’s across the country: Education reform cannot take place without the voices of educators. No so-called reform efforts that denigrate education professionals can improve kids’ lives. Only when management works with teachers and other education professionals – not against them – can schools be improved and communities strengthened.

Perhaps that is the most important lesson we’ve learned.
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