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Chicago Teachers Union
CTU Speaks! is a production of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Jun 20, 2023
Teachers Teaching Teachers
On this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros bring a crew into the studio from the We Care New Teachers/Clinicians Coaching and Mentoring Program, which is a union-led, CTU initiative in partnership with CPS. We Care provides mentoring and support to educators in their first three years to help them navigate the various challenges that come with starting out in a new profession. Virtual instructional coach Tiffany Watkins and her mentees Lynne Taylor and Duwuana Buice are joined by Tara Stamps, who sometimes co-hosts this podcast but in this case is also a guest, since she’s the CTU staffer who oversees the We Care program. We Care’s aim is to help educators improve their practice while also helping them steer clear of the burnout that drags down too many of us. Check out this episode to find out more about what the CTU is doing to help train and retain a new generation of teachers.
Mar 31, 2023
Schooling Paul Vallas About Black History
On this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Tara Stamps and Jim Staros invite David Stovall, professor of criminology, law, and justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago, into the studio for a discussion of the outlandish things Paul Vallas has said about teaching Black history. This is an informative deep dive into the explicit and not-so-explicit appeals to white supremacy that Vallas employs and the larger meaning of these attacks on teaching Black history.
Mar 29, 2023
Paul's Path of Destruction
On this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Tara Stamps and Jim Staros welcome three out-of-town guests to our Chicago studio to discuss the devastation that Paul Vallas wrought in the cities where they live. Shakeda Gaines is an education activist and advocate from Philadelphia, Melissa Francis is a parent union organizer with Step Up for Action in New Orleans, and Troylynn Sledge is also an activist with Step Up for Action. They share their accounts of what Paul Vallas did to their schools and communities when he came to town.
Mar 22, 2023
From the Seventh Grade to the Fifth Floor
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Tara Stamps dive into Brandon Johnson’s past by interviewing three of Mr. Johnson’s former 7th grade students — Shakyra Williams, Malik Savage, and Dequandre Williams — and his former co-worker Pat Wade. Along with Tara, they were all at Jenner Academy for the Arts when Brandon taught there. Together, they remember way back when Mr. J had the same cheeky sense of humor but much longer hair.
Feb 20, 2023
No Value Added: The Real Story of Paul Vallas
On this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Tara Stamps and Jim Staros speak with two active and one retired teacher about Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas and his time as CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Nina Hike is currently a chemistry teacher at Westinghouse College Prep, who as a second-year teacher found herself laid off alongside many other Black staff at Rezin Orr High School when then-CPS CEO Vallas imposed a “reconstitution” scheme there. Nora Flanagan is an English teacher at Northside College Prep who as a grad student studied how CEO Vallas’ emphasis on testing hurt Black and Brown students as well as the dog-whistle appeals to white supremacy that he has used in his campaign for mayor. And Howard Heath is a retired math and science teacher who spent most of his time at Lane Tech and today serves as the functional vice president of the CTU’s retiree chapter. Back when Vallas was CPS CEO, Howard was CTU vice president and recalls how Vallas shortchanged the teachers’ pension fund and is thus responsible for today’s pension issues.
Feb 15, 2023
Building a Better Chicago
On this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Tara Stamps and Jim Staros speak with Ald. Jeanette Taylor, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez, and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa about their vision for a Chicago that works for those who work for a living. Beyond that, these three dynamic elected officials lay out what’s at stake in the February 28 election. The discussion takes up the ongoing debate about public health and safety in Chicago, Candidate Lightfoot versus Mayor Lightfoot, and the ugly implications of a Paul Vallas mayorship. If you are looking for spicy takes on the mayor’s race, you don’t want to miss this episode!
Feb 6, 2023
Bargaining Better Charter Contracts
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with guests Daniria Dukes and Jen Conant about the CTU’s ongoing contract campaigns with 12 different charter operators. Daniria is a special education apprentice at Daniel Zizumbo Elementary, vice president for PSRPs, and the bargaining representative for her campus. Jen is in her 11th year as a math teacher at CICS North Town Academy and the chair of the CTU’s charter division. They discuss what the main issues are in negotiations, what the stakes are for the students they teach, and how the outcome will affect CPS district teachers. Join the picket for the CTU’s charter educators at their next contract campaign action at 5050 S. Homan on Wednesday, February 8, at 5:30 pm. You can also attend the Acero Board meeting immediately afterwards at 6 pm to show your support. Want to be part of the conversation? Send your comments to the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888 and leaving a voicemail that we can use in the show!
Dec 19, 2022
Three Candidates Chicago Deserves
Three educators, three CTU members, three candidates for a Chicago that its residents deserve. In this episode, co-hosts Tara Stamps and Jim Staros speak with mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson, 36th ward candidate Lori Torres, and 50th ward candidate Mueze Bawany about what running for office means to them. Each of these educators have based their political program on their experiences of classroom teaching and an acute sense of what their school communities need. Here, CTU Speaks! delves into the issues and strategies they advocate for remaking Chicago into a city that meets more than the needs of the superrich and the ruling political establishment they have erected. For more information about the candidates endorsed by the CTU, go to ctulocal1.org/vote, and to get involved, go to ctulocal1.org/volunteer
Nov 22, 2022
Teacher evaluations could be a valuable part of helping educators get better at their craft. But that’s not how they work at Mayor Lightfoot’s CPS. Instead, they chiefly reflect whether a given school gets the resources it needs — or not. That’s why a great teacher getting great ratings at a selective enrollment school can suddenly find that their ratings dip considerably when they move to a school that isn’t showered with adequate classroom supplies, a rich curriculum, and top-notch facilities. In today’s episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Tara Stamps talk with CTU Research Director Pavlyn Jankov to unpack how REACH ends up punishing rather than lifting up teachers, disproportionately striking at those educators of color who daily teach students coming into their buildings with the highest needs. Want to be part of the conversation? Send your comments to the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888 and leaving a voicemail that we can use in the show!
Oct 24, 2022
Lies of Learning Loss
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, Tara Stamps sits in for Andrea Parker as co-host alongside Jim Staros to talk with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. Prof. Taylor, who frequently writes and speaks about Black politics, racial inequality, and social movements, recently penned an article titled "Who's Left Out of the Learning-Loss Debate" for the New Yorker. Her article explains how the concept of "learning loss" is being weaponized to target teachers unions and educators. The purveyors of the idea of "learning loss" assert that the desire of educators to stay safe — and the decision of predominantly Black and Brown parents to keep their kids home while their communities bore the brunt of death and loss — is to blame rather than the massive disruption to social and civic life caused by the pandemic itself. Prof. Taylor also discusses what is needed to address the deep inequity that stalked public schools in Chicago and across the country even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the article "Who's Left Out of the Learning-Loss Debate" - https://www.newyorker.com/news/essay/whos-left-out-of-the-learning-loss-debate Want to be part of the conversation? Send your comments to the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888 and leaving a voicemail that we can use in the show!
Oct 18, 2022
Vote Yes on Workers' Rights
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with CTU PAC chair Kimberly Walls-Kirk and State Sen. Robert Peters about the November 8 ballot measure to include workers' rights in the Illinois Constitution. The measure would add the right to collectively bargain over wages, conditions, and workplace safety to the Illinois Bill of Rights. Predictably, right-wing extremists are campaigning against the measure because they are warriors against any effort to rein in corporate power, so our guests make the case for mobilizing a big "yes" vote on November 8. We also get into the Illinois Network of Charter Schools' (INCS) decision to bankroll a series of racist mailers against the elimination of cash bail. Apparently, they think only those with money should have the right to be free until proven guilty. For more information about voting on November 8 including a full list of CTU's endorsements, go to ctulocal1.org/vote. Want to be part of the conversation? S…
Oct 4, 2022
Justice for All
In this episode of CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with Lauren Bianchi and Chuck Stark, two teachers at Washington High School that CPS sought to terminate this past summer. Their crime? Teaching their students about the city’s plan to move the toxic metal shredding corporation General Iron from wealthy Lincoln Park to the Southeast Side, which has already suffered more pollution and toxic industry than almost any other region of Chicago. CPS actually requires teachers to provide “culturally relevant” curriculum to their students, but when Chuck and Lauren’s students put those ideas into action and organized protests targeting the mayor, the mayor sought to retaliate against these teachers for their support of this grassroots movement. When it came time for the Board to vote on CPS' recommendation to fire these dedicated teachers, however, the Board refused to do so, voting unanimously to keep these teachers in the system. In this episode, we unpack what…
Sep 9, 2022
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, cohosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with Chris Goff from the American Federation of Teachers about student loan debt. The three of them discuss how student debt has ballooned out of control, and how the AFT sued the federal government over unscrupulous and predatory practices to help borrowers attain some debt relief. They also explain what members can do about their own debt and review some of the resources out there to assist them in the process. As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888. • Information about Summer, the online resource for AFT members that harnesses the expertise of public policy experts to optimize borrower options. This is also where you can create your own AFT Member Benefits account to access the free Summer benefit - https://www.aft.org/benefits/Summer • Tutorial on how to create an AFT Member Benefits account - https://www…
Aug 26, 2022
Changing of the Guard
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with CTU President Stacy Davis Gates and Vice President Jackson Potter about their vision for the CTU in the coming year and beyond. They review some of the accomplishments of prior CTU Presidents Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey and then dive into their goals as the new leadership of the CTU. And they place the challenge of negotiating a new contract in the context of the broader struggle for a just Chicago. As President Davis Gates has been saying: "#AllGasNoBrakes". Want to be part of the conversation? Send your comments to the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888 and leaving a voicemail that we can use in the show!
Aug 19, 2022
CTU at AFT
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with two rank-and-file members — Lori Torres and Tammie Vinson — about their experience at the AFT National Convention in Boston. Lori and Tammie discuss their time at the conference, resolutions passed at the national level, and why that matters to CTU members. They also talk about the impact of CTU’s social-justice unionism on the national education labor movement and how members can get more involved in making a difference in their own schools and in the union as a whole. As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Feb 14, 2022
Sharkey Signs Off
In this episode, CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros welcome Jesse Sharkey onto the show to discuss his recent announcement not to seek re-election as president of the Chicago Teachers Union. They look back at what the CTU looked like when Jesse became vice president under then CTU President Karen Lewis, and they reflect on what the CTU did to re-shape the entire debate about public education — in Chicago and beyond. And Jim and Andrea grill Jesse about what comes next after president, including where he might teach and if he plans to become a delegate again! As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
Feb 2, 2022
Safety and Staffing
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, cohosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson about the new safety agreement with CPS. They break down what’s good and what’s not so good about it as well as some of the safety resources on the CTU’s website, including this chart tracking implementation of key aspects of the agreement. Then we turn to a discussion with substitute teacher Burma Green and CTU staffer Georgia Waller about the dire shortage of subs available to fill in when teachers are out sick or on quarantine. And they talk about the new campaign being launched by the CTU to honor substitutes. We’re calling it the “There is no substitute for a great substitute” campaign. As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Aug 27, 2021
Back to School, Back to Safety
This episode of CTU Speaks! has co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speaking with CTU President Jesse Sharkey and CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates about what the new school year might bring for educators, students, and parents in Chicago. The recent surge in COVID cases among young people is creating a wave of anxiety about school openings, not just here but across the country. CPS continues to drag its feet at the table as they unilaterally attempt to roll back last year’s health and safety protocols. That means, as Jesse and Stacy explain, it will be critical for CTU members to build a robust safety committee in every school to identify problems and demand solutions when issues arise. As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888. For more information about safety committees, go to ctulocal1.org/safety. To sign up for upcoming safety committee training sessions, go to ctulocal1.org…
Jul 1, 2021
This episode of CTU Speaks! has co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speaking with Tara Stamps, the longtime educator and activist who is now the CTU's Administrative Director of New Teacher Development. Tara is heading up recruitment to the "We Care New Educators and Clinicians Coaching and Mentoring Program,” which connects new educators and clinicians with veterans who can provide support to them in the early years of their teaching careers. A critical aspect of this multi-pronged effort is to recruit and retain new educators and clinicians of colors, so that CPS’ majority Black and Brown student body has more opportunities to work with and look up to adults who look like them. More details and application form here: https://www.ctulocal1.org/posts/we-care-instructional-coach-applications-2021-06/ And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
May 28, 2021
Access is a Civil Right
This episode of CTU Speaks! has co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speaking with Judy Mahoney, a clerk at Byrne Elementary who was in a terrible car accident back in 2017. The accident left Judy in a wheelchair, but as she herself put it, “‘The only thing that remains the same is my ability to work.” This discussion focuses on how Judy has overcome various obstacles in front of her, including obstacles of CPS’ own making. And after you listen to this podcast, you can check out the livestream of the full press conference where the clips featured in this episode were recorded: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=506737340372760&ref=watch_permalink If you are interested in the CTU Summer Organizing Institute, email firstname.lastname@example.org Get more involved with CTU on a committee: https://www.ctulocal1.org/union/committees/ And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
May 21, 2021
Barriers Facing Deaf Students at CPS
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, Andrea and Jim talk with Kelsey Cavanaugh, an American Sign Language interpreter for CPS, and Christa Valencia, a middle-school teacher of the deaf. They discuss the many hurdles that deaf students confront at CPS — from getting placed in a school in the first place to the inequities they experience once they get there. They also talk about some potential solutions to these problems going forward. And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
Feb 26, 2021
Commit To Safety
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, CTU President Jesse Sharkey and CTU organizer Rebecca Martinez join co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros to review the broad sweep of the campaign that finally compelled CPS to agree to a safe reopening framework. One of the most important elements of the agreement is the creation of safety committees in every school building. Jesse and Rebecca discuss how these will work and the essential role that rank-and-file members will need to play in order to make them function properly. For more information about safety committees, go to www.ctulocal1.org/safety. CTU deputy general counsel also comes on the show to give the latest update about CPS’ retreat from its heavy-handed attempt to punish teachers for (gasp!) contacting parents to let them know about unsafe conditions in the schools. As always, please subscribe to our show on whatever is your favorite podcast platform! And share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing ctuspea…
Dec 2, 2020
33: Fighting for clerks and techs
This episode of CTU Speaks! has co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speaking with Deanna Myron, who has worked at CPS for the last 20 years and as a CPS clerk for the last 10, as well as CTU Recording Secretary(and PSRP for Life) Christel Williams-Hayes. They talk about the arbitration victory allowing clerks and tech coordinators to work from home at least four days a week, which CPS has refused to honor in defiance of the law, public health guidance, and a basic sense of decency. Find out more about how to support the clerks and tech cos: https://www.ctulocal1.org/posts/psrp-appreciation-day-2020/ And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Nov 2, 2020
32: Strike Anniversary
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros look back at the 2019 strike — all that we won and all that we have yet to realize. The strike holds some important lessons for the current fight against CPS and its push to return to school buildings despite spiking cases of COVID-19 and the lack of adequate safeguards for students, educators, and their families. We also replays some of the voices and sounds of those days in October 2019. As always, please subscribe to our show on whatever is your favorite podcast platform! And share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
Oct 2, 2020
31: Favoring Fair Tax
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros have an in-depth discussion with Illinois State Senator Robert Martwick and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson about the many reasons to vote yes on the Fair Tax on November 3. They outline how the Fair Tax would benefit the state as a whole while 97 percent of state residents would see a decrease in their taxes or have no change at all. That’s because the millionaires and billionaires of Illinois will finally pay their fair share. Senator Martwick also dishes about the question that his mom texted him about the Fair Tax. Links for this Episode The CTU’s case for the Fair Tax - https://www.ctulocal1.org/fair-tax Fair Tax Calculator - https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/gov/fairtax As always, please subscribe to our show! Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Sep 30, 2020
30: Fair Tax Facts
This episode is a little different. Co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros forgo a guest interview so they can dish essential facts about the Fair Tax, which will be on the Illinois ballot this November. They dispel many of the myths and outright lies that opponents of the Fair Tax — like billionaires Bruce Rauner and Ken Griffin — are blasting into people's homes through relentless TV advertising. This opposition is hoping to sow doubt in voters' minds about this badly needed measure that will generate revenue for the state's most vulnerable families and communities by taxing those who can afford to pay more. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
Sep 20, 2020
29: Athletes in Activism
Co-hosts Jim Staros and Andrea Parker talk to author, activist and Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin. In addition to his editorial duties at The Nation, Zirin has authored almost a dozen books about sports, athletes, and the struggles for justice and civil rights. The three discuss how the sports scene has changed very quickly from the vilification of Colin Kaepernick just a few years ago, to seeing him as a hero in the vanguard of athletics taking a stand for the rights of Black and Brown communities. So join us for a romp through history's most icon athlete activists — including Kaepernick, LeBron James and Muhammad Ali — as well as a discussion of practical ideas about what we can do in our own communities and in our classrooms to make a difference today. Links mentioned in the show: • More about Dave Zirin: https://www.edgeofsports.com, https://www.thenation.com/authors/dave-zirin/ • CTU committees: www.ctulocal1.org/union/committees/ And as always, please share y…
Sep 8, 2020
28: Housing Epidemic
This episode of CTU Speaks! has co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speaking with Mueze Bawany, a teacher at Roberto Clemente High School, about another epidemic hitting our city...housing instability. They discuss issues of homelessness, rising rents, and gentrification as well as the overarching need for safe and affordable housing in Chicago. These issues impact our students and families throughout the city and across the racial and socio-economic spectrum. Join the CTU Housing Committee, more info here: www.ctulocal1.org/union/committees/ Check out the CTU Housing Committee on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1073793049475850/ Homeless student advocate positions now open at 14 Chicago public schools: https://www.ctulocal1.org/posts/homeless-student-advocate-positions-now-open-at-14-chicago-public-schools/ And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Aug 23, 2020
27: Everyone's Essential in Remote Learning
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros discuss the recent release of CPS' remote learning framework as the first day of the school year approaches. They also speak with Walter Taylor, the director of Professional Development for the Chicago Teachers Union, about classes for teachers to help them improve their remote teaching chops. Finally, they invite to the show two rank-and-file members — teacher assistant Marilyn Piggee Williams and special education teacher Roman Henclewski — to discuss what teachers, students, and parents need to be successful at the start of this new year. There were several links mentioned in this episode: Information about CTU committees: www.ctulocal1.org/union/committees/ Professional development classes about remote learning: www.ctuf.org/questcenter/ And as always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
1 hr 3 min
Jul 29, 2020
26: CTU Never Sleeps
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros discuss the issue of union organizing with Norine Gutekanst (director of organizing for CTU) and Jhoanna Maldonado (organizer for CTU) and show how CTU never sleeps! They discuss what organizing is, why it is critical to the successes of the Chicago Teachers Union over the last 10 years, and what we as rank-and-file members or members of the community can do to get involved. We also ambush Norine with our appreciation of her contributions because she is retiring after spending the last 10 years leading the CTU's organizing department. She and her co-workers built it from scratch into a model now emulated across the country of how a socially conscious union can set itself up for success. Want to be part of the conversation? Send us your thoughts about organizing, or anything else, by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Jul 21, 2020
25: Slaying Goliath with Diane Ravitch
In this episode, co-hosts Jim Staros and Andrea Parker interview author and historian Diane Ravitch, who is Research Professor of Education at New York University. In this episode's deep dive into the exploitation of our school system by "disruptors" and public education profiteers, Andrea and Jim will discuss Ravitch's latest book "Slaying Goliath" and how the current coronavirus shutdown has offered fertile ground for those who want to privatize education, diverting money intended to help schools through the pandemic, into private charter operations and other corporate reform agenda items. Ravitch outlines how education is an integral part of our democracy and how charter schools and other privatizers destroy communities by choking off their central place to organize and fight for their local issues. This is particularly true in impoverished and marginalized Black and Latinx neighborhoods. She also talks about the critical role of unions in joining the anti-privatization resistance.…
Jun 30, 2020
24: CPD Out of CPS
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk to teacher Kent Martin and security guard Denzell Sanders, both of whom work at Ms. Parker's own Robert Fulton elementary school. This episode focuses on the smoldering issue of police in public schools—and how it came to be that today there are plenty of schools with cops but no counselors and no social workers who are actually trained to deal with students. Instead, we have police who are trained to treat those they patrol as "criminals," not kids.
Jun 25, 2020
23: The right to recovery
CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates speaks with co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros in this episode of CTU Speaks! about the right to recovery for the students and families of Chicago. She discusses how in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic downturn, and widespread demands for racial justice, we have a unique opportunity to redesign how our society looks, and with bold government action, meet the needs of those in our society who have been left behind for generations. For more information on the Right to Recovery and the various partners committed to this effort: https://www.ctulocal1.org/posts/the-right-to-recovery/ https://www.righttorecovery.org/ https://actionnetwork.org/campaigns/right-to-recovery Want to be part of the conversation? Send us your thoughts about remote learning by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
Jun 8, 2020
22: Remote Learning, Expert Edition
In this episode of CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros meet with Walter Taylor, the director of Professional Development for the Chicago Teachers Union and an expert on remote learning as well as training others on how to implement digital education. He talks with Jim and Andrea about what a true public education should entail and how irreplaceable in-person teaching really is. Mr. Taylor also discusses the essence of teaching remotely, the "savage inequalities" that exist within our city, and the three main ingredients necessary to make remote learning successful in Chicago. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
May 25, 2020
21: Solidarity is EPIC
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with the organizers of a historic vote to unionize at EPIC Academy, a charter school on Chicago's South Side. Three educators and a CTU organizer reflect on their struggles, successes, and the impact of the pandemic, including how EPIC tried to compel teachers to come to the school to vote instead of allowing for a mail-in election (for real, y'all). For more information about the EPIC union drive, check out their stuff on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the CTU website. Instagram: https://instagram.com/epicunion2020?igshid=llh5hc03yy87 Twitter: @epicunion2020 Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/epicunion2020/ Web: https://ctulocal1.org/epic As always, please share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312-467-8888.
May 14, 2020
20: Teaching from a distance, Part 2
In this episode, co-hosts Jim Staros and Andrea Parker revisit their discussion with school teacher elementary Carla Jones, early childhood teacher Arathi Jayaram, and middle school writing teacher Comfort Agboola who were featured in Episode 17. During this episode, these three teachers outline their struggles and successes with remote learning during the first few weeks of the shutdown. Discussion ranges from how it has been going interacting with their students in their virtual classrooms and grading practices, to social and emotional learning and graduations, as well as what still needs to be done to ensure equity for our students and communities across the city.
Apr 27, 2020
19: Parent perspectives
It’s pretty clear that teachers don’t like remote learning, and students like it perhaps even less than teachers, but what about the parents? In this episode, CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with CPS parents Andrea Mosley and Valerie Nelson about their assessment of the first couple weeks of remote learning. How are parents dealing with the digital divide? Are their children learning? And what does remote learning demand from parents themselves? Want to be part of the conversation? Send us your thoughts about remote learning by emailing email@example.com or calling 312-467-8888.
Apr 24, 2020
18: Corona revelations
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros have a discussion with Professor David Stovall from University of Illinois-Chicago about race and inequity in Chicago schools, and how the current pandemic has highlighted problems that have existed within Chicago’s most vulnerable communities for decades. And Andrea talks with Jim about prior episodes in American history when the government stepped in to save the free market from itself. Listen now at www.ctulocal1.org/podcast.
Apr 8, 2020
17: Teaching at a distance
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros discuss the remote learning experience with three rank-and-file teachers. Remote learning officially goes into effect in Chicago Public Schools on Monday, April 13, but teachers across the city have already started implementing many aspects of digital instruction. Their experiences provide an early look at the opportunities, challenges, and frustrations of this massive transformation in the teaching lives of Chicago educators. Teachers featured in this episode are elementary school teacher Carla Jones, early childhood teacher Arathi Jayaram, and middle school writing teacher Comfort Agboola.
Apr 3, 2020
16: Corona complications
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros continue our coronavirus coverage with CTU President Jesse Sharkey detailing the union’s ongoing effort to fight for equity within Chicago Public Schools as the learning environment shifts online. CTU clinician and nurse Dennis Kosuth also joins the team to describe his view from the front lines of the coronavirus landscape and to discuss what it will look like from a public health perspective to return to the classroom.
Mar 24, 2020
15: Corona Crisis
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates about the COVID19 pandemic and its far-reaching impact on schools, the union, the city, and the world. Then they interview Emily Hecht, the CTU delegate at Vaughn Occupational High School that was closed a week before the rest of CPS because a teacher aide at the school tested positive for COVID19. Emily provides an inside look at how Vaughn’s school community is responding to the urgent needs of students and parents. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312 467 8888.
Mar 10, 2020
Bonus episode: Black History, Black Teachers, Black Futures
This special episode of CTU Speaks! was recorded live to commemorate Black History Month. Brandon Johnson, Cook County Commissioner and CTU member, chaired a panel of four intriguing speakers. Nina Hike in a 20-year veteran science teacher who works at Curie High School; Latanya McSwine has worked at CPS for 16 years and currently teachers computer science at Morgan Park High School; Monique Redeaux-Smith is a CPS teacher and Dyett hunger striker who currently works for the Illinois Federation of Teachers as the Director of Union Professional Issues; and Charles Preston is a journalist and activist who is the former communications co-chair of Black Youth Project 100. Over the last two decades, CPS, the nation’s third-largest school district, has lost half of its Black teachers. The percentage has fallen from 41 percent to 21 percent—a loss of more than 5,000 Black educator. This panel seeks to grapple with all the implications of this shift for Black teachers, students, and commun…
1 hr 46 min
Feb 25, 2020
14: Budget Breakdown
On this episode, Andrea and Jim discuss the train wreck of CPS' school funding formula with sociology professor Stephanie Farmer. CPS calls it Student-Based Budgeting, but it has damaging consequences for students, teachers, and whole communities, particularly those school communities on the majority-Black South and West Sides. Dr. Farmer's recent paper on the subject is accessible, clear, and compelling, and you can find it here. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312 467 8888.
Jan 17, 2020
13: Black Teachers Matter
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros grapple with the causes and consequences of the disappearance of Black educators from Chicago Public Schools. Jackson Potter, history teacher at Back of the Yards High School, and Gervaise Clay, teacher on leave and field rep at the Chicago Teachers Union, discuss the racist impact of school closings and turnarounds pursued by a host of Chicago mayors. Then, Jim talks with Jesse Hagopian, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter at School national movement, about the origins, the demands, and the curriculum of Black Lives Matter At School movement and its February 3-7 week of action. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312 467 8888.
1 hr 1 min
Dec 4, 2019
12: Protest And Politics
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with nine teachers who got arrested on Day 9 of the Chicago Teachers Union's recent strike. The CTU 9 were calling on mega developer Sterling Bay to return some of the $1.3 billion in taxpayer money they received to develop Lincoln Yards in order to help CPS settle the contract and end the strike. But instead of speaking to the nine teachers, Sterling Bay had them arrested for trespassing. Andrea and Jim also interview Jeanette Taylor, the new alderwoman in Chicago's 20th ward, about fighting for justice in the streets and in City Hall.
1 hr 4 min
Nov 14, 2019
11: Time To Ratify?
In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with bargaining team members Quentin Washington and Kirstin Roberts about what it was like to spend weeks (and even months!) at the negotiating table with Chicago Public Schools, how the wins in the contract came to be there, and what some of the strategic considerations are when striking to increase leverage at the bargaining table.
Nov 1, 2019
10: We're Back!
On this episode, Jim and Andrea review the last couple weeks, during which the Chicago Teachers Union has been on strike, with a number of guests, including CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson, President Jesse Sharkey, and Deputy General Counsel Thad Goodchild. Jen takes a step back to look at what we won and how, Jesse describes some of the negotiations he was a part of (and gets a surprise phone call from a special guest), and Thad goes on a deep dive about the class size provisions in the new contract. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing email@example.com or calling 312 467 8888.
Oct 26, 2019
09: On the Eve of Justice
On this episode, Jim and Andrea have the absolute joy and privilege to sit down with writer, scholar, and people's mayor of Chicago Dr. Eve L. Ewing. Eve talks about how the lessons of her book Ghosts in the Schoolyard, which deconstructs the 2013 CPS school closings, connect to the current strike, the impact of structural racism on our school system, and her experiences as a CPS teacher. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 312 467 8888.
Oct 22, 2019
08: Five Days Later
Five days into the CTU strike, Jim sits down with Cook County Commissioner CTU member, and former middle school teacher Brandon Johnson (Andrea caught a cold from striking so hard!). Brandon puts the strike in historical context and helps us understand it as a potential pivot point for the city, while also underscoring the ways that CTU has been impactful for labor and education across the country.
Oct 19, 2019
07: Tips for TIFs w/ Ben Joravsky
Andrea and Jim take a deep dive into the wildly inequitable world of TIFs with Chicago's resident gadfly and journalism legend Ben Joravsky. Ben breaks down how TIFs became a slush fund for the Mayor's office, why they continue to serve as such, and how this connects to the CTU strike. Subscribe to CTU Speaks and write a review on Apple Podcasts!: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ctu-speaks/id1476412067 Photo by Glitterguts from the Chicago Reader
Oct 17, 2019
06: Hit the Bricks
Fresh out of the Hall of Delegates meeting last night in which CTU voted unanimously to strike, Jim and Andrea break down what the next 24 hours will look like with CTU members Rachel Blundy and Linda Perales. They talk about the unreasonable conditions for special education teachers, the disparities between funding and staffing in the city versus neighboring suburbs, and get each other (and you) hyped to hit the bricks, starting today!
Oct 15, 2019
05: Episode Why
In Episode Why of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with Chicago Public Schools nurse Dennis Kosuth about what it's like to be a nurse in a public school in our city. But first, they discuss some honest questions posed by a parent who's a friend of Jim. She supports the Chicago Teachers Union's demands for smaller class sizes and full staffing, but doesn't understand some of the CTU's other demands, such as better policies to address homelessness.
Oct 12, 2019
04: We Have a Strike Date
In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros begin with a discussion of recent events in the struggle for a new contract. Then they interview CTU legislative deputy Kurt Hilgendorf and CTU legal counsel Thad Goodchild about how Illinois labor law is stacked against the CTU. Next, they bring in two parents — Julie Dworkin and Erica Clark — to discuss the concerns and issues that parents are grappling with at this moment. Finally, they interview CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates about life as a parent, teacher, and unionist fighting for education justice. Oh, and there's a surprise guest at the very end too.......
Sep 24, 2019
03: Episode Yes!
Chicago teachers are voting this week on whether to authorize a strike. This special episode of CTU Speaks!, which we are affectionately calling "Episode Yes," answers all your questions about this vote. Joining CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros are SEIU Local 73 members Antwon AJ Jennings and Luis Bhamundi as well as CTU members Jessica Rosenbaum and Paula Barajas.
Sep 10, 2019
02: Our Agenda for Education Justice
CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros begin this episode talking with Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey and Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes about the status of contract negotiations. After a solidarity statement from Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Andrea and Jim talk with CTU Financial Secretary Maria Moreno and PSRP activist Lashawn Wallace about their experiences of the 2012 strike and what that can teach us about how to advance our agenda in 2019.
Aug 14, 2019
01: Are We Striking?
Welcome to Episode 1 of CTU Speaks! After introducing co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros, there's an interview CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson about how negotiations for CTU's next contract are proceeding at the bargaining table. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you get alerts about future episodes, and share this episode on your favorite social media platforms.
Aug 11, 2019
00: CTU Speaks! a new podcast by the Chicago Teachers Union
The Chicago Teachers Union is launching a podcast called CTU Speaks!, which is hosted by rank-and-file CTU members Andrea Parker and Jim Staros. In it, we'll be regularly discussing our union, bargaining for a new contract, and our fight for the schools our children and educators deserve. Watch for our debut episode in the coming days!