We had some technical difficulties at Lumpen Radio yesterday morning and the machine that records the show for our MixCloud and podcast wasn’t working. That meant that our first half hour with Chris Bearhend was heard over the air and live streaming, but it is not available on our current podcast of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.
That is really too bad. Our apologies to Chris.
Chris has been on our show before and he will be back again. Chicago’s current battle to win contracts for its unionized charter teachers is a historic one and Chicago is the epicenter of national charter teacher organizing.
After Chris left the studio he went over to where CTU charter teachers and paraprofessionals at four CICS/Civitas/Quest schools voted overwhelmingly to strike.
Out of the four-school bargaining unit of roughly 150 union workers, 138 CTU members, more than 90% of the union workforce, voted. 133 union members, just over 96% of those who cast ballots, voted to strike. More than 70% of the workforce is female, and over half identify as people of color.
Yesterday’s vote by CICS/Civitas/Quest school members follows the vote by CTU members at 15 UNO/Acero schools who voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to strike. Both CICS and Acero are among 11 charter operators currently in contract talks with the CTU at more than 30 charter schools.
A bit of history: CICS was formerly headed by Beth Purvis.
In 2015 Purvis resigned from CICS to serve as Governor Rauner’s Education “czar” until 2017, when she resigned to do private philanthropy – whatever that means.
A former Chicago charter schools executive is earning $250,000 a year to spearhead Gov. Bruce Rauner’s top education initiatives, a salary that is more than double what her predecessors received and places her as the highest-paid member of a Cabinet already under scrutiny for its lofty paychecks.
For weeks, Beth Purvis’ role in the administration had been somewhat of a mystery. There was no formal announcement when she was hired, and during a House education committee meeting earlier this month, she stood and introduced herself when someone on the panel asked if anyone from the governor’s office was in attendance.
Not until after several inquiries from The Associated Press did the Rauner administration disclose that Purvis — a key member of the governor’s transition team — is now earning $250,000 a year to advise him on education policy.
The half of the Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers that is on the podcast features our conversation with Anika Matthews-Feldman and Elisabeth Greer.
Matthews-Feldman and Greer are parents at the National Teachers Academy. NTA is the focus of latest chapter of CPS school closings.
NTA is a CPS level one school, with a state ranking of “commendable” and with a growing enrollment.
Yet CPS wants to close the school.
We get into the ranking business during our conversation.