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CTU Speaks!

Author: Chicago Teachers Union

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CTU Speaks! is a production of the Chicago Teachers Union.
36 Episodes
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Commit To Safety

Commit To Safety

2021-02-2637:08

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
32: Strike Anniversary

32: Strike Anniversary

2020-11-0231:56

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
31: Favoring Fair Tax

31: Favoring Fair Tax

2020-10-0342:46

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
30: Fair Tax Facts

30: Fair Tax Facts

2020-09-3019:47

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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 your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
28: Housing Epidemic

28: Housing Epidemic

2020-09-0943:38

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
26: CTU Never Sleeps

26: CTU Never Sleeps

2020-07-3049:17

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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. And she talks about the key role played by former CTU President Karen Lewis in spearheading the resurgence of the the struggle for the rights of children, teachers, parents and workers all across the country. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
24: CPD Out of CPS

24: CPD Out of CPS

2020-07-0151:07

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.
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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
21: Solidarity is EPIC

21: Solidarity is EPIC

2020-05-2657:03

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
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.
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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312-467-8888.
18: Corona revelations

18: Corona revelations

2020-04-2538:00

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.
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.
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.
15: Corona Crisis

15: Corona Crisis

2020-03-2448:08

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 ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or calling 312 467 8888.
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