Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicago Teachers Union Takes on Issue of Money Diverted to Wealthy

We reported on this story last night (Chicago Teachers Union Member Arrested After Leading Protest Over Tax Issues). 

I'm following up below with the more in depth report from George Schmidt and Substance. A member of Chicago's CORE is expected to be at the GEM meeting today. (Next GEM Meeting March 21: From Wisconsin to Puerto Rico to New York).

When the staff director of a major teacher union is arrested protesting the shifting of money intended to go to poor communities into the hands of wealthy businesses that is news. I mean it is not news that massive amounts of money go to the wealthy - it is news that a union is taking this issue head on.

Actually, this gets to the heart of why the UFT appears so toothless. Other than recently when Mulgrew called for taxes on Wall St., the UFT has kept a line drawn between where the money really goes and the money for public services. Wisconsin and other attacks seems to be pushing even the reluctant warriors into action.

The rally at City Hall and march to Wall St. this Thursday (Mar. 24) at 5PM ought to make a splash.

I guess I am stoked a bit from spending all day Saturday at the Left Forum, especially enjoying the response to Leo Casey's presentation - and redefinition of public schools to suit UFT policy. I'm waiting to process the video before commenting further.


Two protest leaders arrested at Grossinger Cadillac after peaceful protest... Chicago Teachers Union and allies launch campaign to return TIF money to schools

More than 250 people, from teachers and hotel workers to community activists and public school students, rallied and marched on March 19, 2011, protesting the fact that Chicago's TIF money has been going primarily to the city's wealthiest corporations, taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the public schools (and other millions from other public institutions).

At the time Barack Obama appointed Arne Duncan to export the Chicago Plan for corporate education reform to the entire USA, Chicago had more than 160 public schools without libraries for the children. The cost of testing during one of the last year's of Duncan's regime could have equipped every Chicago public schools with a library and expanded libraries in every existing schools. Above, the sign listing CPS schools without libraries in 2011 couldn't hold the names of all the schools. In the background in the above photo, Jen Johnson of CORE leads chants using the bullhorn while Al Ramirez takes a brief break from the videotape of the event as it moves north on Clybourn Ave. Substance photo by Garth Liebhaber.For more than a quarter century, under two mayors, Chicago has generated hundreds of millions of dollars from "Tax Increment Financing" (TIF) programs that were supposed to benefit blighted communities — but most of the dollars went to some of the city's most powerful corporations, leaving the inner city communities further behind as the national and local economy weakened. The March 19 protests were aimed at bringing the truth about the TIFs to the corporate centers where the TIF dollars were directed, according to CTU sources.

In a surprise, near the end of the two-hour peaceful rally and march, Chicago police arrested two of the leaders of the march, disability rights activist Amber Smock of ADAPT and Chicago Teachers Union Staff Coordinator Jackson Potter. Both spent four hours in the 18th District police lockup two blocks from the Jenner school before they were released on their own recognizance late in the afternoon.


NOTE: COMING WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23: co-blogger M.A.B.on talking to charter school parents


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