Real World, CTU -- An Update

For those of you who can't bear to read through all the latest comments about the Chicago Teachers Union, here's a little attempt at a summary and update: First of all, apropos of May Day, a "new" coalition of CTU members, calling itself ... The Coalition ... is supposed to be meeting at The Parthenon restaurant in Greektown to discuss what happens next.

This is, if I understand correctly, a splinter group of the "old" UPC that includes Ted Dallas and Linda Porter, two CTU officials who have seemingly had a falling out with Marilyn Stewart. They're gathering ideas and preparing for a showdown at the delegates' meeting on Wednesday.

In the meantime, accusations are flying back and forth about how much current CTU officers are making, how much of a deficit the current CTU has rung up, and whether John Ostenburg, the chief of staff, is really a union member or not. Ostenburg recently came on the blog himself and made some comments. Maybe Marilyn should do the same?

Things I don't quite understand: Is Ted Dallas still showing up at the Mart every day, or has he left the office and returned to a school? Can CTU members withhold dues or PAC contributions without endangering their membership? How many probationary teachers have been let go so far this spring? How big the CPS excess pool is? Did the CTU really fail to rally against the charter expansion legislation that's now going through the legislature?

May you live in interesting times.

UPDATE: My raw notes are below.

WHAT’S GOING ON ABOUT CTU?

CTU one of the most

conflicted, colorful organizations out there – having their dirty laundry aired

on District 299.

Drama and infighting is

better than anything on reality TV – “Real World, CTU” – but about a serious

issue.

Happy May Day – appropriate

and timely for this discussion

WHAT”S BEEN HAPPENING

Scads of comments this winter

and spring about what’s going on inside the teachers union.

Makes sense – there are tens

of thousands of Chicago teachers, as well as teachers in training and parents

with kids in CPS schools – directly affected by what happens in CPS and within

the CTU.

Most recently: Letter sent to me in which Stewart complains

about being treated rudely by her own Secretary (Linda Porter), elected on a

slate with MS last spring.

Second letter that has come

to light – probably through Stewart opponents – that is embarrassing. December version was to Arne Duncan,

effectively renouncing Ted Dallas, another slate member.

WHAT’RE THEY TALKING ABOUT?

Substance of the complaints

include school closures/job loss, a contract provision that allows probationary

teachers to be fired every spring without any real process, budget deficits

within the CTU, and personnel conflicts with Dallas and Porter.

Turns out the new contract

that Stewart negotiated doesn’t do all that much to address concerns about her

predecessor’s contract in terms of protecting probationary teachers.

No real way to remove Stewart

from office until the next election, short of some sort of criminal misdeeds.

It seems like she had her VP

Ted Dallas, who many considered the kingmaker in her administration,

removed. NOT CONFIRMED.

A current flashpoint is John

Ostenburg, who is now Chief of Staff to Stewart and who some critics don’t

think is a help to the situation.

Osterburg recently came onto

the site and made the claim that he was a loyal union guy – no sightings of

Stewart or Dallas (or Dunan for that matter).

WHAT NEXT?

UPC Meeting at the Parthenon

this afternoon – all welcome (4:30 p.m. 319 S Halsted) – new coalition called

The Coalition

Talk of withholding dues

($800 a year) or PAC fund contributions, or planned sickouts.

Trying to fight off expansion

of charters from current 30 to as many as 100.

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