At a pension fund meeting Wednesday, Chicago’s newly-appointed Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown said she’s well aware it’s a “big ask,” particularly after the history of pension holidays and partial payments that created the $9.5 billion pension crisis at the Chicago Public Schools.
NEA national leaders Pringle, Eskelsen Garcia and Moss.
I have posted the New Business Item (NBI B) that will be presented to the NEA RA delegates tomorrow. It comes from the NEA Board of Directors.
The NEA leadership is calling for a multi-year, union-wide campaign against institutional racism and is budgeting a quarter of a million dollars for the first year of the campaign.
The details of the campaign appear to be a little vague. “A work in progress,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia was quoted as saying.
However, it is the first such union-wide campaign directed at “patterns and practices” of racism in my memory
The Illinois Caucus, of which I am a retired delegate, voted overwhelmingly to support NBI B this morning and I have no doubt it will pass tomorrow.
The question is what it means in practice. What specific programs will be implemented?
We, the members of the National Education Association, acknowledge the existence in our country of institutional racism—the societal patterns and practices that have the net effect of imposing oppressive conditions and denying rights, opportunity, and equality based upon race.
This inequity manifests itself in our schools and in the conditions our students face in their communities. In order to address institutional racism, the National Education Association shall lead by:
1) spotlighting systemic patterns of inequity—racism and educational injustice—that impact our students; and 2) taking action to enhance access and opportunity for our students. NEA will use our collective voice to bring to light and demand change to policies, programs, and practices that condone or ignore unequal treatment and hinder student success by:
• Providing technical assistance to state, local, and national affiliates to dialogue internally and with the external communities and develop plans of action to address institutional racism.
• Partnering with a broad coalition of national stakeholders on campaigns and actions to eradicate policies that perpetuate institutional racism in education.
• Partnering on campaigns and actions on critical social justice issues impacting students and their communities. • Convening high school students and young people to gather their perspectives to inform our work and the work of others (education stakeholders, policymakers, etc.)
• Expanding the work of the Association on issues of institutional racism, including redirecting existing resources and providing grants to affiliates to lead and partner with us on site based projects, such as:
» programs aimed at improving school climate and culture, particularly ending the school to prison pipeline.
» supporting campaigns to expand the development and implementation of community schools
» expanding local affiliate-school district partnerships that expand educator-led professional development, particularly in areas of cultural competence, diversity, and social justice in order to address institutional racism
• Researching implications for NEA’s Strategic Plan and Budget for 2016-2018. Rationale/Background Educator’s unique perspective on institutional racism in schools and communities calls on NEA to look internally and externally to address the momentous issues that shape the lives of the students and communities we serve.
Submitted By: NEA Board of Directors
Contact: Joyce Powell, NJ email@example.com
Relevant Strategic Goal ( G) o r C o re Function ( CF) CF-3 Advocacy and Outreach Cost Implications
This NBI can be accomplished at an additional cost of $276,831.
Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Executive Director Charles Burbridge.
Yesterday the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund (CTPF) Board of Trustees met in a special meeting where representatives of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) presented a proposal to create a short-term employer payment plan. At the meeting, CPS Interim Chief Executive Officer Jesse Ruiz, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley, and the City of Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown outlined a proposal which would not reduce pension funding, but would help CPS close a $500 million budget gap for 2016.
Under the terms of the proposal, CPS would discontinue its practice of making a single annual pension payment on the last business day of the year and would instead make monthly payments to CTPF, beginning in January 2016 and continuing for the next 10 years.
This new funding schedule would defer approximately $500 million of the FY 2016 payment into the FY 2017 fiscal year. The proposal requires CPS to pay interest at 7.75% on the deferred amount and requires $750 million in collateral to secure the agreement.
Following a period of discussion and debate, the board voted to communicate its general support for the proposal, and authorized a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees to continue negotiations and discussions with CPS. The subcommittee is expected to meet in July and will make a recommendation to the full board later this month.
“We were encouraged to see representatives of CPS at our meeting this morning and appreciate the opportunity to openly discuss payment security for the Fund,” said CTPF Board of Trustees President Jay C. Rehak. “While we still have concerns about this proposal, we look forward to working through these issues so that our members’ interests are protected and our Fund receives all the revenue necessary to meet the pension commitments made by CPS.”
“Under the current statute, CTPF receives revenue once a year, on the last business day,” said CTPF Executive Director Charles A. Burbridge. “This proposal revises the payment schedule, but ensures that we have a monthly revenue stream and provides security and interest on a deferred amount, which is reassuring for our members.”
The subcommittee is expected to make a recommendation in advance of the full board meeting on July 16, 2015.
One day after using borrowed money and savings generated by 1,400 layoffs to make a $634 million payment to the teachers pension fund, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is asking the pension fund for a five-month, $500 million loan.
Bree Newsome is arrested for taking down the Confederate flag in Charleston.
Following the racist killing of nine members of the Emanuel African Episcopal Methodist Church in Charleston attention has turned to removing Confederate flags and statues from public spaces.
These racist flags made a comeback during the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. They were not so subtle reminders that although the forces of democracy and anti-slavery won the Civil War, Jim Crow was established and democracy in the South was defeated by the overthrow of Reconstruction.
When Bree Newsome climbed the flag pole and took down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol, I posted on Facebook that it would be a good idea for the NEA RA pass a New Business Item calling for the removal of all Confederate flags and statues from schools and public spaces.
A number of delegates wrote me expressing their support for the idea.
I talked with IEA leaders, since I thought that an NBI like that coming from the Land of Lincoln would be appropriate.
They were extremely supportive.
But now I have heard that a similar statement will be coming from the NEA Board.
And that is great news.
CPS did not meet its pension obligation yesterday.
CPS teachers and students made the payment for them.
Yes, there was a transfer of $630 million into the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
But it was paid for with classrooms that in September will be overflowing with students and teachers in the unemployment line.
1400 current teachers will lose their jobs.
Bankers are smiling.
They will be paid and none will lose a job.
The Chicago Teachers Union has argued that the city is broke on purpose. The CTU is right as rain.
Yes, the Mayor is a terrible manager.
Yes, his hand-picked board is made up of a bunch of hustlers and bumbling fools.
Can anyone really believe that the mayor who ran as a wise financial wiz kid, who made millions on Wall Street, didn’t know what was happening?
We are a city and state in debt by design.
“We are blindsided by reports that the district intends to lay off 1,400 public school educators, given that we just met with them yesterday and there was no mention of this action. These layoffs prove that the Board never intended to make the pension payment in good faith and that they are using this to justify more attacks on our classrooms,” said Karen Lewis, president of the CTU. “Putting 1,400 people out of work is no way to balance a budget and resource our schools. This is going to hurt our students and the most vulnerable children in our district. These cuts are a result of a history of poor fiscal management by the Board of Education. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked board has led this district over a financial cliff.
“We are outraged at this deceptive action that only furthers the distrust teachers, parents and students have with the Board. We thought it suspect at the time that the Board was pressuring us to sign off on an agreement on yesterday, before we had a complete agreement. This is retaliatory and unnecessary because (the mayor) refuses to seek revenue options to stabilize CPS. ”
Who will be targeted by the layoff of 1400 teachers?
Union activists, trouble-makers, and senior teachers.
“Let no good crisis go to waste,” the Mayor has said.
The CTU leadership saw this coming. That is why their bargaining focused more on evaluation than on salary.
Layoffs are tied to evaluations.
The current state of hiring and firing at CPS is a throwback to the worst Chicago patronage days.
Which may, in fact, be now.
The current evaluation procedures give principals the power to down-grade the over all ranking of those who don’t bow and scrape to their every whim with a down-grade in a single category.
Local hiring allows principals the power to hire friends and family.
My old precinct captain, Guido, would be jealous.
At the very same time as the layoff announcement was made Catalyst was reporting:
In 2013 the Illinois State Board of Education and the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute asked more than 100,000 teachers and 750,000 middle and high school students a series of questions aimed at determining which schools had the best climate for teaching and learning.
In three of the broad categories – effective leaders, collaborative teachers and ambitious instruction – Chicago Public Schools had higher ratings than other types of school communities across the state, according to a recently released report.
If this is permitted to stand, say goodbye to all that.
Fair share, or agency fee payment, is a simple concept.
If you benefit from from the efforts of a union that bargains your contract then you pay for that service, either as a member of the union or payment in kind.
No free rides.
Fair share was the first thing Bruce Rauner went after when he was elected Illinois governor.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.
WASHINGTON―NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued the following joint statement today in response to U.S. Supreme Court granting cert to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association:
“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America―that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life.
“The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities―decisions that have stood for more than 35 years―and that have allowed people to work together for better public services and vibrant communities.
“When people come together in a union, they can help make sure that our communities have jobs that support our families. It means teachers can stand up for their students. First responders can push for critical equipment to protect us. And social workers can advocate effectively for children’s safety.
“America can’t build a strong future if people can’t come together to improve their work and their families’ futures. Moms and dads across the country have been standing up in the thousands to call for higher wages and unions. We hope the Supreme Court heeds their voices.”
My friend Michelle Gunderson teaches first grade at a Chicago public school.
She is a staunch teacher union activist and a proponent of student-learning from play.
In a sane world this would be considered common sense and obvious.
As a sign of how nuts schools have become, Gunderson must be considered an educational radical for advocating play.
On Facebook this morning Michelle posted this:
As we build education policy groups, let’s make sure we include teachers who have spent their lives playing on rugs with children. Too often early childhood voices are missing from the process.
I think I would take that another step.
Education policy groups (if we need them at all) should only include teachers who have spent their professional lives on the floor with children.
Years ago I worked with an administrator who happened to be a Buddhist.
She often complained to me how she missed being in the classroom with kids.
“No problem,” I finally said. “Why don’t you come to my room and tell my second graders the story of how Siddhartha got to be the Buddha.”
I was already showing my students how to draw the human figure and how legs and arms bend and which way they bend. And which way they don’t.
And how some joints bend only one way and others have joints called balls. Which always got a giggle.
I would stick pieces of tape at the joints and we would move around and discover the amazing fact that arms and legs only bend where there is a joint.
One student would demonstrate a ballet position and then we would all take that position.
Another would pretend to be a hockey goalie. And then we all would.
Trust me. This all led to amazing discoveries.
The day came when the administrator came to the art room with her personal Buddha and sat on the floor in a lotus position, telling the story of how Siddhartha sat under the bodhi tree and gained enlightenment.
And with tape on our joints we also sat in the lotus position.
And listen. I was still doing this at 60.
I believe we gained a level of enlightenment.
I’m not sure that it made her a better administrator.
But she continued to come back every year for years.
I have to admit that in my last few years it was much easier for second graders to go full lotus than it was for me.
Yet I never gave up the floor.