CMSA Teachers Unionize


Word from the AFT is that the 54 teachers and counselors at CMSA have voted to unionize. Check out the full press release below. 

Teachers at Chicago Math and Science Academy Form Union


at the highly regarded Chicago Math and Science Academy notified school
leaders Wednesday that they have organized into a union and filed for
recognition with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to help
make an already great school even better.


"Ensuring continued student and teacher success involves creating an environment in which teachers feel secure enough to raise concerns and offer ideas," said Brian Chelmecki, chair of the school's math department. "Chicago
Math and Science Academy teachers need a strong voice in developing and
implementing policies that are good for kids and fair to teachers."


of the teaching staff--well over the majority required by law--signed
union authorization cards to be represented by the Chicago Alliance of
Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS), an affiliate of the Illinois
Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. Chicago
ACTS also represents teachers at eight other charter schools in the


Simpson, former Chicago alderman and current chairman of University of
Illinois-Chicago's political science department, said this is an
important step to moving the already high-achieving school to the next
level. "The teachers at this school care about their students and are
deeply invested in their success. When teachers and administrators team
up to solve problems, students benefit," Simpson said.


Teachers at the school said some of their larger concerns were about teacher turnover. "Having a union will help us better recruit and, importantly, retain qualified and experienced teachers," said Rhonda Rae Hartwell, a middle school language arts teacher.
"We are committed to working collaboratively with the school
administration to ensure the future success of our students and school."


Chicago Math and Science Academy has nearly 600 students and about 54
teachers and counselors. Once the Illinois Educational Labor Relations
Board certifies the union, Chicago ACTS can begin collective bargaining
negotiations with school officials.


103,000 members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers welcome CMSA
teachers to our union," said IFT President Ed Geppert Jr. "We pledge to
work with them to enhance their careers as professionals and to promote
the best interests of their school and students."


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  • way to go CMSA teachers!

  • more power for workers!!! let's move the discussion away from what union is facing "destruction" and towards what group of workers are standing up for their rights. everyone deserves the right to join or form a union. we need to support these teachers and NOT throw blame on them for the woes of the CTU.

  • Congratualtions CSMA.........Daley will be coming after you next!!

  • They are free to resign and apply for a job at a non-union school. I'm sure there is also some sort of agency-fee option - where they pay nearly equivalent dues to their legally recognized collective bargaining unit but are not union members.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but can teacher's at CMSA join CTU? When I asked some time ago at a union meeting why CTU doesn't do more to organize charter schools, the answer given (by an IFT representative) was CTU could not. Why, I do not recall. However, the IFT could provide support. Please add information if you know more.

  • CMSA is part of the 97 US Charter Schools in the Gulen Movement. They have their own numerous foundations and institutions - for the Chicago schools it is Concept Schools-Niagara Foundations, Niagara Ed. Services, Inc., Fetullah Gulen is described as the most dangerous Islamic Imman in the world, he has over 600 schools worldwide.
    In the USA they are locked in with many politicians and Turkish Lobbyists up to the mother of all Gulen's groups RUMI forum. The politicians get free trips to Turkey when the American Students go for the Turkish Olympaid where they sing, dance,perform in Turkish. Gulen OWNS all the contests that the students get high awards and honors in: Math Matters, Science Olympaid and more. Gulen also owns media Zaman, ERBU TV, Fountain to cover his propaganda.
    All the principals of these schools are young Turkish men, about 60% of the staff is brought in from Turkey under HB-1 Visas that the "foundations" pay for. The indoctrination of the children to Turkish language and culture is the main focus of the Gulen Schools worldwide. You may look at their 990 IRS tax returns for free at, they put out more money for the promotion of the Charter Schools (trips, fundraisers, awards, etc) then they do in textbooks and lab.
    The fact they might have voted themselves into a UNION should be interesting as they will now have to share their bookkeeping. Charter schools are public schools that are outsourced to a management company. The government pays less per student for reimbursement to charter schools. But a union is of no benefit to them, they will now have to pay union dues. DO YOUR RESEARCH ON THE GULEN MOVEMENT AND MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT TAQIYYA IS:

  • As a CICS/Civitas teacher and member of C/ACTS, I can guarantee that you don't know what you're talking about.

    It's been over a year since we unionized, and our students continue to succeed (in fact, this most recent class of juniors experienced higher ACT growth than the one that came before), our teachers continue to put in long hours working to hone their craft, and the quality of education we provide is as just as good if not better than it ever was. The difference is we now have work rules created jointly by the teachers and the administration and a system for holding our administration accountable to the teachers, just as they hold us accountable.

    We know how we're going to be evaluated; we have better PD; we're no longer are paid random amounts totally unconnected to our degree, performance, and years of experience; we're protected from arbitrary disciplinary actions; we have guaranteed prep periods; and we no longer have to fear, as we did before the union, that one day our CEO is going to show up and announce that our teaching load is going up 20%, which is what prompted us to unionize in the first place. Only someone totally blinded by anti-union hysteria would think that would produce "worse results for kids."

  • I am happy for the Gulen Movement teachers at CMSA. It is fantastic that the teachers union will accept membership from unlicensed Teachers from Turkey who do not have American Citizenship but working under HB-1 Visas. Lets hope the teachers at CMSA get a fair shake and not just pay dues for no representation.

  • here here!

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