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CORE Wins Big in Chicago

Susan Notes:

Hardworking, idealistic teachers have shown that even within the AFT, change is possible. They may show us that revolution is possible.

From the CORE web site:

We support:

ΓΆ€ΒΆ Capping CTU officer and staff salaries to the average teacher salary prorated over 12 months.

ΓΆ€ΒΆ Limit standardized tests. Ban using test results to punish, label or denigrate schools, students or teachers.

ΓΆ€ΒΆ Repeal mayoral control of schools and restore our right to collectively bargain class sizes, counselor loads and stop school closings and reconstitutions.

ΓΆ€ΒΆ Lead legislation to fund all schools equitably and return all TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds to each school taxing district.

CORE ran a smart, idealistic, grassroots campaign. If they can stick to their principles, they will have a powerful impact on public schools across the country.

For starters, let's hope they can take this spirit to the upcoming AFT convention in Seattle.

Let's hope Randi Weingarten is shaking in her shoes. And NEA is watching.

by George N. Schmidt

Karen Lewis has been elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and CORE has won the leadership of the 30,000-member CTU by a landslide. Lewis, a Martin Luther King Jr. High School Chemistry teacher, headed the slate of candidates from the caucus called CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) and won a landslide victory on June 11, 2010, in the hotly contested Chicago Teachers Union runoff election. CORE not only won the top four offices in the union, but the other nine citywide offices, and all of the vice presidencies for high schools (six) and elementary schools (17). By the time the final vote counts were announced in the early hours of June 12, it was clear that CORE had completely defeated the United Progressive Caucus (UPC) and the six-year CTU president Marilyn Stewart.

The CORE victory, the size of which became clear early in the evening during the counting of the votes at the headquarters of the American Arbitration Association at 225 N. Michigan in Chicago, was a landslide. Karen Lewis defeated Marilyn Stewart by a vote of 12,080 to 8,326, with the other three CORE candidates for officers in the 30,000-member union each receiving more than 12,000 votes to fewer than 8,300 for each of CORE's opponents. The final vote tallies were certified by the American Arbitration Association at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of June 12, 2010.

Senn High School history teacher Jesse Sharkey was elected vice president by a vote of 12,000 (to 8,233 cast for his UPC opponent Mark Ochoa).

Displaced elementary teacher Michael Brunson was elected recording secretary by a vote of 12,016 (to 8,200 cast for his UPC opponent Mary Orr).

Eberhart Elementary School Special Education teacher Kristine Mayle was elected financial secretary by a vote of 12,032 (to 8,191 cast for her UPC opponent Keith VanderMeulen).

All six CORE candidates for trustee were elected. They are: Jackson Potter, Jay Rehak, Lois Ashford, Eric Skalinder, Sara Echevarria, and Albert Ramirez. Their margins over their opponents' were roughly 11,900 to 8,000.

The three CORE candidates for area vice president were elected. The are Carol Caref (Area A), Jennifer Johnson (Area B), and Norine Gutekants (Area C).

All 17 CORE candidates for elementary functional vice president were also elected. They are: Beverly Allebach; Jeffrey Blackwell, Brenda Chandler, Susanne Dunn, Nathan Goldbaum, Alexandra Gonzalez, Francine Greenberg-Reizen, Lara Krejca, Garth Liebhaber, Joseph Linehan, Cielo Munoz, Annette Rizzo, Wade Tillett, Kevin Triplett, James Vail, Cassandra Vaughn, and Terri Wilford.

The acrimonious campaign saw Marilyn Stewart's supporters in the union's United Progressive Caucus spending in excess of a quarter million dollars (if one includes union staff time that was used to try and re-elect Stewart), but the CORE slate won handily.

— George N. Schmidt



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