Sunday, March 15, 2009

CORE: Chicago Teacher Caucus Makes Waves

I spoke to Substance's George Schmidt briefly today and he tells me CORE (The Caucus of Rank and File Educators), a caucus in the Chicago Teachers Union, has had a galvanizing impact on the progressive educators in Chicago by leading the charge against the corporate, mayoral control-driven agenda. Their actions have even forced the regressive Marilyn Stewart Unity Caucus like CTU to join the parade. The mostly youthful CORE and the more senior Substance have established a close relationship, with some CORE members writing for Substance.

In NYC, the UFT holds a rally with supposedly 75,000 people and says - "Thank you, now go home and write letters to politicians." It's basically a one shot deal instead of building militancy and an activist network for further actions. The UFT leadership is afraid of activism because then questions might be raised as to how undemocratically the organization is run. Ed Notes and ICE believes in many of the positions of CORE in the CTU. Read these excerpts from the CORE newsletter in Chicago or click link below. See Ed Notes' previous post on LA Teacher Union action (Periodic Assessment Boycott by LA Teacher Union).

The parallel here in NYC (though we are years behind and have to deal with the monster Unity Caucus machine that is capable of cooptation and destroying of militancy) has been the recent activity on the part of ICE and NYCoRE (NY Collective of Radical Educators.)

The CORE Mission:

A group of dedicated teachers, Retirees, PSRPs and other champions of public education. We hope to democratize the Chicago Teacher's Union and turn it into an organization that fights on behalf of its members and the students we teach.

Angel Gonzalez sent this to ICE-Mail

Let's build our NYC militant grassroots organization so that we can unite with Chicago, LA, Puerto Rico, and other regions to fight the privatization of schooling with the onslaught of School Closings, Charter Schools, High Stakes Testing, Deskilling of Students & Teachers, Lowering of worker wages & benefits, teacher firings & harassments, loss of union rights, etc. etc. etc. Let's organize the local struggles so that we can mobilize for the global fight for public education.
- Angel Gonzalez, ASC-ICE, JNJT-NYCoRE

(excerpts below)

Protest February 25th at the Board of Education

As opposition grows city-wide against Mayor Daley's undemocratic “school reform”, the Chicago
Teachers Union, CORE, and the GEM coalition will show its growing strength at the next meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The last hearing saw over 500 protesters fill the streets around 125 South Clark Street and this month we hope for more.

Teachers should take a personal business day, if possible, and attend the Board meeting. Contact the Union to arrange buses from your school for the protest, which will begin at 3:30pm. Go to and join our e-mail list for updates on the opposition to Renaissance 2010!

Get Involved with CORE!
Visit to read about the hearings on closing schools and upcoming actions, to join our mailing list, and to become a supporting member. The fight for quality public education needs CORE and CORE needs you!

GEM Coalition Unites Teachers, Parents, Community Groups
Dubbing themselves the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) six parent, community, and education activist groups joined ranks with CORE and the Chicago Teachers Union to form a new coalition opposing Mayor Daley's attacks on quality public education. The groups first began organizing together in the run-up to CORE's January 10th community hearing at Malcolm X College.

Friendly relations turned to energetic collaboration in preparation for the January 28th demonstration outside the Chicago Board of Education meeting that drew over 500 protesters.

GEM's web site has fact sheets, alert bulletins, and links to coalition groups: Blocks Together, CTU, CORE, Chicago Youth Initiating Change (CYIC), Designs for Change, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Pilsen Alliance, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), South Side United, Local School Council Federation, South
West Youth Collaborative, Substance News and Teachers for Social Justice.

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