Posts in category "Uncategorized"

What Chicago Public Schools teachers are fighting for

As I begin my 21st year as an educator, I can honestly say I’ve never before felt the need to defend my profession as I have the last few years.  When I started teaching at 22, I got lots of praise for choosing this career.  But these days, I’m always on the defensive against so... Read more »

Why Juan Gabriel's music matters to a brown girl in Chicago

Today, Mexican music legend Juan Gabriel passed away.  The 66-year-old singer and composer recorded over 35 albums during this forty-plus year career.  He was a Latino music icon.  This guest post is by Evelyn Hernandez, my former student who loves his music. It’s a sad day to be a brown girl with feelings. Specifically, it’s... Read more »

An open letter to the Chicago Teachers Union Bargaining Committee

Dear Committee: My salutation is vague because I, as a rank-and-file member of the CTU, don’t know who the forty of you are.  Still, this letter is directed to each one of you. We face difficult times where our livelihood, our careers, and our reputation hang in the balance of a complex situation that does... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools graduates start scholarship to remember deceased friend

My former students, now college grads, started the Dennis De La Rosa Scholarship Fund to carry on the memory of their friend Dennis, who passed away over two years ago due to heart problems.  He was in his mid-20s.  De La Rosa graduated from Jones College Prep, one of Chicago’s top high schools, and earned... Read more »

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board does NOT understand Chicago Public Schools Teachers

So let me get this straight: Kristen McQueary, a Chicago Tribune Editorial Board member, wants Chicago Public Schools teachers to pay our entire 9% pension instead of the 2% that the City and CTU agreed upon decades ago.  “No way should teachers pay such a small fraction toward their own retirements when they’re getting raises... Read more »

Why the Bernie Sanders speech at the DNC failed

Throughout his speech at the DNC last night, Bernie Sanders spoke from multiple perspectives—too many perspectives for the speech to function as a unifying, mobilizing moment for this former democratic candidate who endorsed Hillary Clinton earlier this month–and who wants to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. At the beginning of the speech,... Read more »

Four reasons Michelle Obama's 2016 DNC speech made a difference

1. It spoke of the familiar Anyone who has felt isolated, angered, disillusioned, or cynical during these political campaigns had something to connect to in Michelle Obama’s DNC speech last night.  Without mentioning names, Michelle Obama mentioned all of the deplorable acts that would endanger the future of our children with a Trump presidency—whether they... Read more »

Being a barber is about more than cutting hair

Fred Castillo knows that when a man walks out of a barbershop, “Most of the time, you feel like a million bucks.”  While Fred feels proud of his work, he also sees that it’s about more than cutting hair.  “It’s about building a friendship,” Fred explains.  “At the barbershop, you develop a bond with the... Read more »

Why the arts matter more when tragedies like the Orlando shooting happen

A few days ago, I wrote about what I say to my young son about the violence in Chicago, the city we live in.  This morning, we learned about the cruelty in an Orlando, Florida gay night club.  My 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son are unjustly growing up in a time when the life-damaging racism,... Read more »

What do I say to my young son about Chicago's gun violence?

My 11-year-old son has the responsibility of watering all of the plants the backyard, in pots on the deck, and in the front.  He complains each time.  But he does it.  Lately, he asks, “Who’s going to watch me in front?”  We’ve never let our kids be outside in front of our house by themselves. ... Read more »