Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Chicago Teachers Union Members Win Their Strike

CHICAGO — More than 300,000 public school students prepared to return to school as Chicago leaders on Thursday announced an end to an acrimonious teachers’ strike that lasted 11 days, the longest here in decades, and turned life upside down for families across the nation’s third-largest school district.
In the end, the clash between the teachers and Chicago’s new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, appeared to have brought mixed results. The city agreed to spend millions of dollars on reducing class sizes; promised to pay for hundreds more social workers, nurses and librarians; and approved a 16 percent salary increase over the coming five years. But not all union members were satisfied; a vote to approve a tentative deal was noticeably split, and some teachers wanted to press on to seek steeper reductions in class sizes, more teacher preparation time and aid for special education. New York tTimes. 

Chicago Teachers Union members voted Wednesday to approve a tentative five-year contract in a tight vote, but they say they will remain on strike until the mayor agrees to make up the days lost due to the strike.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to hold a press conference at 9:45 p.m. to respond, but from the beginning she has said she didn’t want to make up the missed days.
Under the tentative agreement, the teachers union got the school district to agree in contract language that over five years it will add a nurse and a social worker in every school. They also got the school district to promise to hire a host of other staff, including lots of special education case managers and homeless coordinators.
It also won $35 million to reduce overcrowded classrooms. 

Chicago Teachers Striking for the Common Good

common good
Chicago educators and school staff in their third week of striking. They’re showing how unions can use the power of picket lines and public pressure to fight for more than wage increases.

The twenty-five thousand educators of the CTU and 7,500 school workers represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 want their new contracts with the Chicago Public Schools to commit in writing to increased resources; more nurses, counselors, and other support staff; class size caps; limits on school privatization; affordable housing assistance; and more.

The traditional bread-and-butter issues of wages and benefits are important in this strike, especially for the poorly paid paraprofessionals of both unions whose average annual salaries are low enough that their children qualify for free and reduced-price meals when they go to school. But the CTU and SEIU are using this strike to demand answers to bigger questions, too: what will it take to achieve education and social justice? And how can unions use the power of picket lines and public pressure to help get there?

This broader vision for labor is often called “bargaining for the common good.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Bilingual Opportunity

California’s Bilingual Opportunity: Supporting Students’ Home Languages

Across California’s K-12 classrooms today, millions of students arrived to school with an invaluable asset: the ability to speak a language other than English.

However, due to many factors, California has not prioritized quality bilingual programs for these students and many of them do not become literate in their home language.

See our latest fact sheet to learn more about the benefits of leveraging students' language assets in our schools and workplaces. This is the first in a series of three fact sheets by Senior Analyst Jonathan Kaplan and Research Associate Aureo Mesquita looking at opportunities policymakers have to help the state's bilingual students achieve biliteracy.

Share the Budget Center's latest report on Twitter!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Chicago Teachers Remain on Strike

CHICAGO TEACHERS REMAIN ON STRIKE: The 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, on strike since Oct. 17, is set to miss another day of school, and Chicago Public Schools will remain closed. Teachers have been striking for reduced class size, nurses and social workers in schools, among other things.
CTU on Sunday told Chicago Public Schools that it would not reach a deal and will head into an eighth day of striking. This will be the longest teachers strike in Chicago since 1987, when the teachers strike lasted 19 days.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Education Department"s Rip Off on Student Loans

The Education Department’s Rip-Off Schemes Radicalize Its Own Staff
Billionaire daughter-in-law to the Amway fortune Betsy DeVos probably contracts with the U.S. Mint to exclusively reissue $100,000 bank notes so she can light them on fire to light candles in her office. But she’ll have exactly one less, after a federal judge in San Francisco fined her exactly that amount, because the Education Department continues to collect on fraudulent loans issued to students of shady for-profit college network Corinthian Colleges.

Around 16,000 students have been affected by DeVos collecting on illegal loans, so that’s $6.25 each. Nevertheless, seeing any personal liability at all for an Education Department that not only failed to stop Corinthian from lying to students and saddling them with debt for worthless diplomas, but then kept trying to squeeze those students for unlawful payments, must offer at least a little solace. The Education Department resisted compensating Corinthian students at all, until they went on a debt strike. Under Arne Duncan, students ripped off by for-profit colleges were allowed to assert “defense to repayment” to get the loans canceled. 

That process moved at turtle-like speed, with only one-fifth of Corinthian students made whole by the time DeVos took over. She instituted hurdles to prevent loan forgiveness, which Judge Sallie Kim ruled unlawful. This ruling is stayed pending appeal, but DeVos’s department kept trying to collect loan payments anyway, despite the dispute. Three thousand borrowers made these payments. The Education Department even garnished wages on 1,800 students, which it had no right to acquire. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Zucked: Early Facebook Investor Roger McNamee on How the Company Became ...

Chicago Teachers Strike Continues

CHICAGO TEACHERS STRIKE: More than 30,000 Chicago public school educators and staff in the nation's third largest school district remain out on the picket line for the fifth school day, despite Mayor Lori Lightfoot request that the teachers end their walkout without a contract, POLITICO's Nicole Gaudiano reports. The strike began last Thursday, a work stoppage that affects 360,000 students. 
The walkout has drawn the support of Democratic presidential candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also joined teachers on Tuesday with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Bargaining meetings continued Tuesday between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, but most of the union bargaining team returned to the picket lines. "They won't waste their time trying to talk to a brick wall," CTU President Jesse Sharkey said. On Tuesday evening Chicago Public Schools announced on Twitter that classes were once again canceled today. "CTU has not scheduled a House of Delegates vote, which would be necessary to end their strike," CPS tweeted
CTU members said Sunday night that they're still negotiating over class size, school staffing, and paraprofessional pay, Gaudiano reports. "The city has proposed a 16 percent salary increase over five years and committed in writing to providing support for oversized classes, a framework for enforceable targets on reducing class sizes first in high poverty schools, and putting one nurse and [one] social worker in every school, Lightfoot has said." More from POLITICO.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wear Red for Chicago teachers on Thursday.
Yesterday I was on the picket lines in Chicago with Elizabeth Warren. She took time from the campaign trail to come to Chicago to support the members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73, who are entering the seventh day of their strike. 
And she’s not the only one standing with them. Bernie Sanders has been at CTU rallies. Cory Booker met with Chicago teachers earlier this week. Joe Biden had a phone call with striking teachers and school staff. And multiple other candidates have tweeted their support. 
and read the post about the Sacramento USD budget below. 

The Mess in the SCUSD Budget

Nikki Milevsky Stands Up tom Sac Bee Bully Marcos Breton

Sacramento, October 17, 2019--This morning the Sacramento Bee posted an op ed from SCTA First Vice President Nikki Milevsky in which she responds to the latest attack from Sac Bee opinion writer Marcos Breton.

You can view her editorial here, or read below:

"Four weeks into this new school year, more than 100 teaching vacancies remain unfilled. Thousands of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) students are in classrooms without fully credentialed educators. At C.K. McClatchy High School, one government teacher surveyed her class and found that more than half of her students had a temporary substitute teacher for some of their classes.

How did we get into such a mess?
In February, SCUSD somehow failed to count 730 students in its enrollment figures – which could have been an $8 million per year mistake. Incredibly, the district superintendent and the county administrator charged with overseeing the district’s finances confirmed the error on April 1, but hid this information from the public. Nevertheless, SCUSD plowed ahead in May with layoffs.

While the district reports substantially lower numbers, we know that more than 400 staff were laid off – including 175 certificated teachers – making SCUSD the only major school district in California to implement mass layoffs during a national teacher shortage.

Now the district can’t fill positions. Would you want to work in a school district that lays off dynamic young educators based on dodgy budget numbers?

In March, a top state education finance official, Michael Fine, said he has “no confidence” in the district’s financial data and that he has other serious concerns. District leaders also kept this information from the public and even from members of the school board.

In the face of poorly staffed classrooms, improper budgets and “no confidence” from state officials, what’s the path forward for Sacramento public schools?

Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Bretón thinks he has the answer: He says teachers should sit down and shut up. Breton believes the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), which represents district educators, should accept whatever the school board demands. He maintains teachers should agree to set aside the collective bargaining agreement, a contract that was personally negotiated by the superintendent with union representatives and unanimously approved by the school board.

Bretón also says teachers and others who care about our schools should stop organizing, stop talking and stop holding our elected school board accountable.

You are wrong, Mr. Bretón. This situation is too critical to stay silent and, as education activists, we won’t apologize for robustly advocating on behalf of our students and families.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Chicago Teachers Strike -This week

Chicago’s Teachers Are Making History. Again.
Rank-and-file workers are finally taking back their unions, and strikes are spreading across the country as a result.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

SCUSD Budget - Lets not be fooled-Again

The Sacramento Bee reported on Friday that SCUSD budget had again been disapproved by the County Office of Education.  
“County schools officials last month disapproved Sacramento City Unified’s adopted budget because the district — although making “considerable progress towards stabilizing the budget” — fell short of meeting its minimum reserve requirement by $27 million in 2021-22.” 
While accurate, this reporting fails to deal with several of the key issues in the  school budget.  First notice that last year we were consistently told that SCUSD was on the brink of bankruptcy. Over 100 teachers were laid  off. Several moved to other districts.  At the end of the year, the district had almost no deficit.  It has begun the year with at least 60 teacher positions not filled- most are filled by substitutes.  This increases school failure.   See here.
If you read the report, the district will meet its budget requirements and reserve requirements for this year and next.  – But- oh crisis !  They will not have enough in reserve in the third year. 
The action by the County Office of Education and Superintendent Gordon is a political attack.  Gordon has been singing this song since the Reagan Administration. SCOE reports criticize the teaches union but do not criticize the size and competence of the SCUSD administration. 
The policy positions urged by Gordon are classic claims of austerity.  An official claims to be objective and announces  a budget crisis and then  proposes cut back ( that is reduction in education opportunities) as the only solution. In reality, the economic crisis is half baked and the there are other solutions, such as having the giant corporations like Amazon pay their taxes.  Some, not all, of these solutions would require state legislation.  There will be an item on the ballot in 2020 to raise taxes to adequately fund the schools.
In the meantime, readers should be skeptical of pronouncements from SCOE and Gordon. They are engaged in a public campaign to blame teachers for the inadequate funding of our schools.  This is a persistent effort of promoting a viewpoint called neoliberalism. 
Here is a summary of the neoliberal viewpoint in finance.

AOC, Omar, Endorse Sanders

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: AOC, Omar, Endorse Sanders: Ocasio-Cortez and Omar endorse Bernie and the political revolution In a watershed moment in our movement for economic, environment...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Chicago Teachers Request Support in Strike

Chicago teachers and school staff are on strike for the resources their students need. Now it’s critical that we support them, just the way we supported the walkouts in West Virginia and Oklahoma and the strike in Los Angeles.

We want to make sure the entire country sees that we stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73. Can you help us make it trend on social media?

The Chicago Teachers Union, AFT Local 1, and the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, have been negotiating with Mayor Lori Lightfoot for months. CTU and SEIU want to make sure their contract includes schools that are fully staffed with nurses, librarians, counselors and more, to ensure students are cared for. They want protections for students so they can learn in a safe, welcoming environment, free from fear. They want smaller class sizes, so they can give students more attention and assistance.

Chicago educators have done more with less for years: Classrooms are packed with 40 students at a time. Students are coming to school scared for their safety and dealing with stress and trauma. And school support staff are barely scraping by on their paychecks. Mayor Lightfoot ran for office on the promises of educational equity and investment. But without these promises incorporated into the contract, Chicago educators have no guarantee that their students will see those crucial resources.

It’s time for Mayor Lightfoot to keep her promises. She needs to know that the entire country is watching. Just like we stood with teachers and school staff who walked out in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Los Angeles, we need to show that we have CTU’s back.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers President

Jesse Sharkey
Chicago Teachers Union President

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Chicago Teachers Strike

“Solving Chicago’s affordable housing crisis? What’s that got to do with a labor contract for educators?” 
That’s the question the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board asked last week as the city’s teachers and school support staff inched closer to an October 17 strike date, with little progress made in negotiations for a new contract. 
A standoff at the bargaining table over the Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) package of housing demands dominated the city’s news cycle last week. The union is asking Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide housing assistance for new teachers, hire staff members to help students and families in danger of losing housing, and take other steps to advocate for more affordable housing overall in the city. 
In response, recently elected Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused the union of holding up contract negotiations, and the Sun-Times chided teachers to take a “reality check.” 
It’s true that CPS has no legal obligation to bargain with the union over affordable housing policy. But it’s hardly unrelated—an estimated 17,000 students in the city are homeless, as CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates stated on Chicago Tonight
Housing advocates agree. “The mayor's view reflects a very narrow understanding of the professional responsibilities of public school educators,” says Marnie Brady, assistant professor at Marymount Manhattan College and research committee co-chair of the national Homes For All campaign. “The living conditions of their students are indeed the working conditions of their classrooms.”
By raising an issue that affects not only teachers, but the communities they live and work in, CTU is deploying a strategy known as “bargaining for the common good.” That approach was key to the union’s victory in its landmark 2012 walkout, but a potential strike of 35,000 school and parks workers this week is shaping up to be an even more dramatic test. 
Reprinted with permission from In These Times. All rights reserved. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Chicago Teachers Prepare for Strike

This week, 35,000 teachers and support staff in Chicago are set to walk off the job in a dramatic citywide strike. 
The strike—which is expected to begin on Thursday—comes on the heels of other mass walkouts by teachers in states from West Virginia to Arizona and California. And rather than simply bargaining around issues of pay and benefits, Chicago teachers are demanding investments to uplift public education in the face of austerity and privatization.
Today, Rebecca Burns reported for In These Times on the strategy being employed by the Chicago Teachers Union of “bargaining for the common good” and the promise it holds for unions across the country that are seeking to win gains for not just their members, but the entire working class.  
Throughout the lead up to the strike—and during it, should it take place—In These Times will be providing an inside, on-the-ground perspective with analysis and reporting from the viewpoint of rank-and-file teachers, organizers and working-class Chicagoans. 
For background on the issues at play in the strike and its national implications, check out our earlier reporting on why presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is standing with Chicago teachers, as well as Kari Lydersen on the tensions between teachers and the newly elected Chicago mayor who ran on a progressive agenda.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

California Will Close Private Immigrant Detention Centers

LOS ANGELES, CA. – On Friday California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 32, a piece of legislation that effectively phases out the use of private prisons in the state beginning on January 1, 2020. Freedom for Immigrants applauds Gov. Newsom for putting people over profits and continuing to make California a model state in the movement to abolish immigration detention.
AB 32 is one of the most progressive and far-reaching bills on immigration detention ever made in the United States. It prevents private prison companies from directly contracting with ICE to perpetuate a profit-driven and abuse-ridden system of mass incarceration. Under the law, California will not be able to enter into new contracts with private prisons for criminal custody nor modify or extend them. It also prohibits ICE from contracting, modifying, or extending a current contract with a private prison. 
Under AB 32, all four of the remaining detention facilities in California could close as early as 2020. This includes Mesa Verde, Otay, Calexico, and Adelanto, the latter of which the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has described as having a complete “disregard for detainee health and safety” in a scathing 2018 report. All four of those contracts will expire by the end of next year, with the final one, Calexico, set to end in September 2020. 
The Yuba County Jail will hold the last remaining contract with ICE in the state, but due to a state budget provision spearheaded by Freedom for Immigrants in 2017, it cannot be expanded.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

: Governor: Sign the Bill. AB 32

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Governor: Sign the Bill. AB 32: ·           ·           ·           ·           Currently awaiting Governor Newsom’s signature  or veto by an Octob...

The Governor Signed this important legislation. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Join Us. Close the Camps

From the day he took office, Donald Trump escalated a failed and cruel immigration policy into an all-out war against immigrants, banning Muslims, slamming the door on refugees, and tearing children from their parents’ arms.
In this context, DSA has endorsed a national weekend of action to #ClosetheCamps on Indigenous People’s Day weekend, Oct 11-14. Our national Immigrant Rights Working Group has helped initiate and lead this action, in partnership with other organizations (including the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps and the indigenous socialist group The Red Nation). Right now, DSAers as far apart as Texas, California, Minnesota, and Georgia are organizing actions.There’s still time for your chapter to participate! You can find guidelines on the website.And the DSA Immigrant Rights Working Group is happy to help you figure out how to begin building your coalition, choosing a strategic target, and organizing your action.  A list of actions are on the website above. These actions are a step toward ongoing campaigns for immigrant rights that will build the base for larger national actions.
Contact the DSA national immigrant rights working group at for more information or to get plugged in to the working group.
National Immigrants Rights Working Group


Monday, October 07, 2019



Wednesday, October 02, 2019

DACA- Home is Here

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of the November 12 U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in three consolidated cases regarding President Trump’s unlawful termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, DACA recipients and a broad coalition of immigrants’ rights organizations today launched the Home Is Here campaign to highlight what is at stake for 700,000 DACA recipients, their families (including 256,000 U.S. citizen children), our communities, the economy, and our country if the Court overturns the lower court rulings currently allowing DACA renewals to continue.
“For the past seven years, DACA has been an incredibly successful program, providing temporary protection from deportation and peace of mind to nearly 800,000 young people who have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives. These Dreamers are part of the fabric of our country, but their futures are once again hanging by a thread as DACA heads to the Supreme Court,” said Karen Tumlin, Director and Founder of the Justice Action Center, manager of the Home is Here Campaign, and part of the counsel team for McAleenan v. Batalla Vidal.
“Ending DACA was both immoral and unlawful, as multiple courts across the country have found. We will continue to fight for DACA recipients and their families whose home is here, in the United States,” Tumlin added.

Organizations participating in the campaign include CASA, the Center for American Progress, Community Change/FIRM, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA),, Justice Action Center, Make the Road New York, NAKASEC, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and United We Dream (UWD).
The Home Is Here campaign tells the stories of and commits to protect DACA recipients who arrived in the United States as children and their families. Over the past seven years, more than 700,000 immigrant youth have been able to work, attend school, better support their families, and make even greater contributions to our communities and our country because of the temporary protection from deportation granted by the DACA program. If DACA ends, DACA recipients would be added to the list of those targeted in the deportation dragnet and threatened with deportation to a country that they may not remember, and where they may not even speak the language, sparking a new wave of family separation crises nationwide. Their homes are here in the United States.
The campaign will underscore why DACA is legal, constitutional and highly successful through events across the country over the next six weeks, including DACA renewal clinics and other efforts to encourage DACA recipients to renew their protections as soon as possible, digital storytelling, paid advertising, organizing, and rallies at the Supreme Court and in multiple cities across the country on November 12.
On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in McAleenan v. Batalla VidalDepartment of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, and Trump v. NAACP. The lower courts in each of these cases ruled that the Trump Administration’s September 2017 termination of the DACA program was unlawful. Nationwide injunctions and other orders in place have allowed DACA renewals to continue since early 2018; however, no new applications have been considered or granted since the attempted termination. A decision from the Supreme Court is expected between January and June 2020.
The Deputy Solicitor General of California Michael Mongan and noted Supreme Court advocate Ted Olson, Solicitor General of the United States under the George W. Bush Administration, will argue on behalf of a number of individual DACA recipients and the other plaintiffs in these cases, including the Regents of the University of California, Microsoft, Princeton University, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Current DACA recipients are encouraged to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to consider their renewal options. More information is available at Americans can also contribute to a DACA recipient in need of the $495 renewal fee by visiting
Key DACA Facts:
  • DACA recipients, on average, arrived in the United States at the age of 7, and have lived here for 20 years. More than a third arrived before age 5. They are our classmates, our coworkers, and our friends. Most know no other country as home.
  • DACA recipients are parents to nearly 256,000 U.S. citizen children, and nearly every DACA recipient is part of a mixed-status family. Ending DACA would rip apart hundreds of thousands of families.
  • DACA recipients contribute significant federal, state, and local tax revenues that help provide important benefits to millions of Americans.
    • DACA recipients and their households pay $5.7 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes annually.
    • DACA recipients boost Social Security and Medicare through payroll taxes.
    • DACA recipients own 59,000 homes and are directly responsible for $613.8 million in annual mortgage payments.
    • DACA recipients pay $2.3 billion in rent to their landlords each year.
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