Dore Elementary on south side of Chicago.
Dear Retired Colleagues,
This morning I walked over to my neighborhood school in Logan Square.
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.
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.
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