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Chicago charter school educators demand safe reopening

By staff |
March 6, 2021
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CTU stands up for safe schools.
CTU stands up for safe schools. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Chicago, IL - It was a chilly morning. The temperature was in the low 30s as the educators from Chicago’s Passages Charter School gathered for their press conference, March 5. They were all wearing masks. They all were socially distanced. “We care about our students, we care about their families,” said paraprofessional educator Ann Stella Taylor.

Passages Charter School is as arrogant as they come. First they announced metrics for reopening such as deaths per 100,000 and test positivity rate. They said that they want to use the metrics of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Chicago Teachers Union agreed. The union members knew there was risk, but using these scientific measurements made sense. The risk would be calculated.

Then Passages announced that they were suddenly reopening. They said that the measurements had been met. But they had not. After the union proved that the employer’s math was wrong. Passages then said that they wanted new measurements.

After a long struggle, the union finally agreed. But then Passages said they would not agree to their own proposal. That they would not sign an agreement obligating them to any kind of safety protocols for students, staff or anyone else.

This is especially outrageous because Passages’ parent organization, Asian Human Services, runs healthcare facilities. Its board of rich people seems to care little about the health and safety of anyone. The students at Passages are approximately half African American, 30% Asian and 15% Latino.

The members of the Chicago Teachers Union are fighting back. Despite being ordered into the building yesterday, union members refused. After punching in remotely they attempted to do their work, but the employer shut them out of remote computer access. Those who did lesson plans or other work found out today that they were receiving discipline for serving their students.

The union has vowed to fight the discipline. “We will not go into the building until we have a signed agreement,” said middle school teacher Tessa Simonds.

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