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Chicago Tribune - Stop targeting teachers and tell the whole story

8/06/2014

The Chicago Tribune supports -- or at least gives a pass -- to programs that put unlicensed teachers in front of students.  That’s why their recent series on teacher licensure is surprising. On Tuesday, they ran a sensational front page story without regard for the hard-working Illinois teachers who they've made into collateral damage, or several key facts.

Let's take a look at what they failed to mention.

Click here to sign the petition urging the Chicago Tribune to stop its attacks on teachers and tell the whole story.

“It's no secret that this page strongly supports charter schools.”

- Chicago Tribune Editorial, April 4, 2013

In Chicago, only 75% of teachers at a charter school must be licensed, and the school has three years to hit that bar. Where is the Tribune’s outrage? This could be an opportunity to demand more transparency and accountability, and investigate if the charters were making a priority out of hiring licensed teachers, doing the bare minimum, or worse – finding ways to get around the threshold.

The Tribune celebrates charters even though the State Board of Education’s 2013 review of Illinois schools shows that students in traditional public schools demonstrate better or equal academic performance than those in charter schools.

In many cases where teachers taught outside of their license, they did so due to the miles of ever-changing requirements they must navigate to have a piece of paper reflecting their expertise.

When the Tribune looked into whether legislators were handing out licenses as political favors, their investigation came up with nothing. The insinuation was that there was something scandalous about a citizen asking his or her elected representative for help working through state procedures. (It’s no wonder they need help, by the way, when public services and the government agencies who manage these procedures are so understaffed and underfunded.)

Read this critical review of this story here.

The Tribune has yet to write a takedown of the “Teach for America” program that has been around since 1990 and places recent college grads in some of the neediest schools to teach for two years without a license.

The Tribune has been silent on the disconnect between state and national requirements that mean teachers who are “highly qualified” under the federal No Child Left Behind may not have their Illinois licenses. Perhaps following a few teachers through the red tape could show the public how dysfunctional the system that teachers must navigate to serve their students is

Click here to sign the petition urging the Chicago Tribune to stop its attacks on teachers and tell the whole story.

The Tribune’s new outrage contradicts its own record. They don’t have a clear vision for what a functional school system looks like, but take every opportunity to attack the people who do – the teachers.


Where are the stories about schools running on unequal and inadequate funding? There are schools in Illinois that do not have enough textbooks, a librarian, or even toilet paper.

Where are the stories about the tireless teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty, and push students to reach their full potential in spite of the severe lack of resources?

Those stories are waiting to be told while the Tribune manufactures a scandal to sell papers.

You’ll find no stronger advocate for ensuring that teachers are highly qualified and providing a great education to our students than the IFT, and you could fill the United Center ten times with the overwhelming majority of teachers in Illinois who are doing exactly that.

Click here to sign the petition urging the Chicago Tribune to stop its attacks on teachers and tell the whole story.

Update: Rich Miller at the Capitol Fax posted his response to the recent Tribune anti-teacher article.

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