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IFT locals unite with communities to denounce Trump-DeVos agenda

Today – just one day before Donald Trump takes office and two days after his choice for Secretary of Education, billionaire charter school advocate Betsy DeVos, attended a disturbing confirmation hearing in Washington – IFT members around the state joined with parents, students, and community partners on a Day of Action to stand against the Trump-DeVos anti-public education agenda and call for high-quality neighborhood public schools.
"DeVos is someone who really thinks that education is an area for profit and she wants to help that agenda more than she wants to help public schools, so we oppose her," IFT President Dan Montgomery told a Springfield news station this week.

Locals held walk-ins, rallies, press conferences, and other customized events to highlight educational needs in their communities and reject the harmful Trump-DeVos agenda that would divert taxpayer funding for public schools to so-called "choice" options. Other events focused on ensuring student safety in schools and campuses under Trump, who spouted sexism, racism, and intolerance during his presidential campaign.

Here are a few highlights from today's IFT local events:

011917 Dan with No Layoffs letters at Lozano

    IFT President Dan Montgomery (with megaphone) walked-in with teachers, politicians, parents, and students at Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy - a charter school - to protest layoffs there due to inadequate funding. Chicago ACTS, Local 4343, members fear the situation will worsen under an administration intent on diverting federal funding from neighborhood schools.


    Members of the Belleville Federation of Teachers, Local 434, rallied at the high school with students, parents, and community members and displayed red balloons for their "Red for Public Ed" campaign. The balloons symbolize the soaring potential of all students, which is at risk if federal dollars are diverted to for-profit schools.


    The Champaign Federation of Teachers, Local 1925, handed out "Hate Has No Home Here" posters and posted photos on social media to show that their union, their students, and their community oppose Trump's hateful rhetoric.


    Schools around Chicago held numerous events, including this one at Saucedo Elementary. Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1, members there have committed to protect and defend students against attacks due to immigration status or race.

    Local 780 Peoria AROS event 2

    Members of the Peoria Federation of Teachers, Local 780, demonstrated unity outside and inside the high school and other school buildings to call on Trump and DeVos to support public education.


    State Sen. James Clayborne (left) and State Rep. LaToya Greenwood (right) joined with East St. Louis Federation of Teachers, Local 1220, President Terry Turley (second from right) and local education leaders at a press conference to call for full funding for Dist. 189 students. The event was held in conjunction with the launch of a union-sponsored community petition campaign.


    Members of the Northeastern Illinois University Chapter of UPI, Local 4100, designed t-shirts and asked students to sign postcards to draw attention to how the ongoing budget crisis caused by Gov. Rauner is threatening much-needed assistance for low-income college students and jeopardizing Illinois' universities and the communities they serve.


    Members of the Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297, and UIC United Faculty, Local 6456, attended the UIC Board of Trustees meeting to silently protest the university's refusal to become a sanctuary campus to protect immigrant students from intolerance.


    Members of the North Suburban Teachers Union, Local 1274, honored public education and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a special unity event at Niles North High School in Skokie.

    Other participating IFT locals included:

    • High Mount Federation of Teachers, Local 2175
    • Madison Federation of Teachers, Local 763

    Today's Day of Action was the latest in a series of nationally-coordinated events held in February, May, and October of 2016 which were sponsored by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools. Last October, more than 2,000 schools in 238 communities nationwide conducted events to stand up for the schools all students deserve, and those numbers continue to grow.




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