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Teacher Retirees: These are our people. This was us. Join me at CPS this afternoon.

September 10, 2012

Dore Elementary on south side of Chicago.

Dear Retired Colleagues,

This morning I walked over to my neighborhood school in Logan Square.

Darwin Elementary.

It is a large red brick school house. 100 years old.

One of my daughters went to that school 35 years ago.

35 years ago!

It is a community school. A neighborhood school. But it doesn’t serve the whole neighborhood. Logan Square is what they call a changing neighborhood. It is gentrifying.

Mostly working class Hispanic parents send their kids to Darwin.

At 6:30 this morning Darwin’s staff were out marching around the block, carrying signs and chanting.

They probably woke up a few of Darwin’s neighbors.

Good.

The whole city is waking up.

This mayor has only been in office a year and he is turning my city into crap.

Neighborhood violence is sky-rocketing.

And our teachers are on strike for the first time in 25 years.

Whose fault? His fault.

I watched last night as CPS board president David Vitale, shaking with nervousness, tried to make the last offer sound reasonable.

I have been at too many negotiating tables not to read his body language. The tremble in his voice. The sweat on his brow.

Nobody representing the teachers of this city could have accepted that offer with any conscience.

Karen Lewis, Jesse Sharkey and the rest of the CTU leaders have a conscience.

They said that they are not far apart on money. But fair work rules, decent health care benefits, reasonable working conditions, class size, the misuse of testing, evaluations procedures. These all matter too.

Matter more.

This afternoon teachers will leave their school’s picket lines and head for 125 South Clark Street. CPS headquarters. 3:30.

If you are a retired teacher in the sound of my voice, put on a red shirt and meet me there.

These are our people.

This was us.

- Fred Klonsky

Member, IEA-Retired, Illinois Retired Teachers Association

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2012 10:32 am

    I’m wearing my red shirt here in Los Angeles.

  2. Barb permalink
    September 10, 2012 1:50 pm

    I also am a retired CPS teacher and I will also be wearing my red shirt until the strike is settled in a fair and respectful way. That could be a long time.

    Rahm continues to bully, to vilify, to condescend. And he thinks this is productive. He is a highly disturbed person but so little mental health is available in IL anymore that I am not sure where he will get help. This strike could be the mother of all strikes. But it is time for the educated, intelligent middle class to stand up to the abuse of those like rahm and his wealthy friends. Hopefully this will become a national event and force Obama to take a stand. He’s either with us or against us. No side lines anymore. No compromise anymore. No fancy speeches anymore. Action or failure.

  3. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    September 10, 2012 11:38 pm

    I just returned from New Orleans this evening, and so missed your call. BUT–I have been talking to EVERYONE there (& wherever else I have been traveling) about this, and–to a person–they voice SUPPORT for the CTU! (If any of y’all have been reading about NOLA, their education system has been going privatized/charterized & crazy-tized.) What have you done, Paul Vallas? (And he’s now doing it in Connecticut where, by the way, the state
    teachers’ union has voiced its support of the CTU.)

    Louisiana (LA)– Jindal country– is where they’d opened a charter school where kids were taught–by DVD! A charter school where kids were taught (strictly)–creationism, not science! And, of course, I could go on & on. Illinois, be thankful for one thing–we don’t
    have John White as state supt.!

    (P.S.–Read “Diane Ravitch’s Blog” if you don’t/can’t believe this. We can’t make this stuff up!)

  4. September 12, 2012 8:43 am

    Fred, I retired from my school nurse position in June. I’ve been out each of the days to join my colleagues, who include my son. I will continue to do so. Thanks for your words.
    In Solidarity,
    Tina Escobar

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