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Educators at Noble Street Charter Schools to Form Union

Teachers and staff at leading Chicago charter school network rise up to support kids
CHICAGO, IL – Today during a citywide meeting, Noble Street Charter School teachers presented to their administration more than one hundred signatures of colleagues who are actively forming a union across the seventeen Noble campuses. The petition asks Noble Street CEO and Superintendent Michael Milkie and the entire Noble Board of Directors to agree to a fair process to allow educators to form a union without interference by administration.

The educators seek a union for voice in advocating for their students, which will maintain – and improve – the high quality of education in the Noble network of schools. Once formed, the union will be the largest unionized charter school network in the nation.
“As teachers, we work with students every day and we are most responsive to their changing needs,” said James Kerr, English teacher at Hansberry College Prep. “We want a union because we need voice in decision making for our students. Our students consistently perform well and go to respected universities. They were able to do this through the community we built in our classrooms. A union will be the voice of our communities, advocating for the families we serve.”
“Ultimately, we want to create Noble families. To achieve this goal, we need to keep our staff in their classrooms,” said Christina Verdos-Petrou, Spanish teacher at Golder College Prep. “Our working conditions are our students learning conditions. Having voice in improving these conditions keeps educators in their schools, allowing them to teach the brothers and sisters, cousins, and neighbors of our students.”
"The 1100 members of the Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Local 4343) support these teachers in their quest for a seat at the table in shaping school policies,” said Chris Baehrend, President of Local 4343 and teacher. “They are asking for management to be fair and neutral in this process. After they have succeeded, nearly half of the charter educators in Chicago will have the power of a union behind them in advocating for the schools their students deserve."
“The staff at Noble is motivated by their deep desire to see their students succeed,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and veteran English teacher. “The best learning environments are driven by educators who have a seat at the table in determining school policies.”
“Educators at Noble understand that a union means a real voice to advocate for the resources their students need, to strengthen their school and support powerful learning,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “They’re joining together for the same reason as thousands of their colleagues—so they can improve kids’ well-being and help them achieve their dreams. I’m excited the Noble educators  are raising their voice, and we will be standing together with them in their fight.”

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Chicago ACTS (Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff) Local 4343 is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Chicago ACTS currently represents more than 1100 teachers and staff in charter school campuses across Chicago.




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