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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Karen Lewis wins second term as CTU president

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has announced that she won a second term in Friday's election, garnering 80 percent of the votes in preliminary results.

The election was a referendum on how well Lewis' leadership and the Caucus of Rank and File Educators handled the fall's teacher strike and contract negotiations.

The opposition caucus, Coalition to Save Our Union, charged that Lewis put style and big-picture promises over substance and results.

But many teachers said that Lewis' leadership during the strike, when she went head-to-head with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, proved decisive in their decisions to vote for her.

“You need a force like Karen Lewis to get in the face of the mayor,” said Emily Rosenberg, director of DePaul University's Labor Education Center and a supporter of Lewis. “She can't be bullied.”

As the union's biggest battle yet over school closings drags on, Rosenberg says the election “gives a signal to the whole city that (teachers are) solidly behind her, and that there's going to be a struggle.”


Anonymous wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Congrats team

Standing up for the children and teachers is what the union does. Rahm needs to accept that and join us. I know... I am dreaming

George N. Schmidt wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Call it a landslide

While the final vote counts won't be known for a little while and the school-by-school results will be posted within a week on the union's website, the preliminary numbers of 12, 316 for Karen Lewis and CORE to 3,291 for Tanya Saunders-Wolffe and the "Coalition" means "landslide." Also worth noting in the news is that CORE candidates were elected to the union's Executive Board in every group within the CTU: high school teachers; elementary teachers; teacher assistants; school clerks; and other PSRPs. Karen Lewis's victory with CORE is the most decisive for an incumbent in the quarter century since the late 1980s and shows that the complaints of what many of us were calling the "Salvation" group (the pretentiously named "Coalition To Save Our Union") were not shared by the vast majority of the union's members.

America Olmedo wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Congratulations. Karen Lewis

Congratulations. Karen Lewis has shown great respect to our everyday struggles as educators and has been a leader with integrity and clarity. Fighting and advocating for our students within these socials realities is not easy, yet this team have empower us to have a voice to fight for our students, our rights, and public education.

steve wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

karen lewis reelection

Thank goodness Ms. Lewis won again. It shows that the teachers understand that the attacks on them and their profession is real.

Paul Hobart wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

A choice between two lousy

A choice between two lousy alternatives. Neither one has children's best interests at heart. But we can't fault them for that...the job of a Union boss is singular: protect members' jobs and benefits at all costs.


steve maras wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


Paul you miss the dynamic of the situation. Unless teachers cover their students in a tornado or shooting they (and their union) are "the problem". Given this public perception, teachers need a union and a strong union leader. Dilute the unions protective strength with comments such as yours and no person will want to be a public school teacher. The for profit corporations (charter schools) will make a lot of money and the public school system will be dismantled.

Paul Hobart wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Steve we disagree. Any

Steve we disagree. Any person who works with children would have protected them. I'm not taking ANYTHING away from those heroes - not at all - but that could have been a children's hospital with the kids covered up by nurses, or a counseling center with the kids sheltered by the bodies of their counselors. I praise any adult whose career is to serve children, Oklahoma teachers are no different.

Teachers are not the problem I don't think. But let's not argue over what Karen Lewis' job is: to protect CTU teachers' jobs and benefits. Note that she doesn't give a hoot about charter school teachers as, while they are Chicago Public Schools teachers, teaching the same students, they are not UNION members.

I have a big problem with that. And her race-baiting comments all through this closing saga were disingenuous and harmful to everyone involved. Except her. She got re-elected. (Of course her alternative was worse, thus my lamentation of two cruddy choices.)

Your dire warning is not supported by evidence, IMO.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


1. Apparently CTU members didn't think one of the choices was so "cruddy." CORE got 80% of the vote.

2. The CTU does care about charter school teachers and is trying to help unionize them even though, by law, they can not join the CTU.

3. And I'm sure a CEO or someone from the Broad group would use their body as a shield to protect a child. Or maybe not.

Paul Hobart wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

haha...the CTU cares about

haha...the CTU cares about charter school teachers. Incorrect. The CTU cares about getting as many dues-paying members as they possibly can. Unless and until...they don't give a damn about teachers at charters or anywhere else non-union. Come on, at least be honest!

What was the turnout in the election...the percentage of members who voted?

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

As I recall, Ms Lewis made

As I recall, Ms Lewis made several derogatory comments about charter schools and charter school teachers during the CTU strike (when about 350,000 public school kids were twiddling their thumbs and about 45,000 were in school learning). Along the lines of them not being "real" schools and teachers. Do you recall?

Not sure I agree with you, Ed, that that is evidence of her caring.

Either way, she got her re-election for better or worse. I have to echo Paul's question about CTU voter turnout.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Can you read?

I clearly stated that by law Charter teachers can not be members of the CTU, so your little theory sort of falls flat, doesn't it? The CTU does not collect dues from every teacher's union in the state, no matter what your paranoid delusions tell you. So charters would belong to their own union.

Boy, you people just can't admit that Karen is really popular with CTU members. The turnout was normal for an election that occurs in our schools as we walk in. That is, very large compared to elections for political office. The actual numbers are still being tabulated by the impartial organization hired to count the ballots. You guys are a real hoot! She wins 80% of the vote and you are trying to find any measley little way you can to discount her huge victory. Sad, sad, sad.

And Mac, check your sources. She was not referring to charters in that quote. She was referring to the so-called "learning centers" set up by the CPS. Do you remember now? Or do you just selectively twist quotes hoping no one else can remember?

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Ed, sorry, but your

Ed, sorry, but your recollection is inaccurate. She said, public record: "Schools - real schools - will not open tomorrow."

I wonder what she meant by that?

She did also made downright despicable comments about learning centers and those who were staffing them (many volunteering).

Perhaps you can refresh my memory: what was it that CTU did to help out tens of thousands of school children and their parents during those days she led teachers out of the classroom? Excuse me, hundreds of thousands of students and parents (many of whom did not have the luxury of taking more than one work week off to care for their children).

Nothing. Not one thing (read: I care about dues-paying members of my union, no one else). Yet she was fine with digging at charter schools (which are 100% public schools educating 100% public school children) and at the District's efforts to contend with the strike.

I you, now, too?

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


If you want to be as oversensitive as a preteen girl about it, go ahead. She is just so bad isn't she? Bad, bad Karen. Yet, we in the CTU know she is tough, smart and not an oversensitive crybaby. So if you want to hate her, go ahead. you are convincing no one.

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Ouch, Ed! You bear your

Ouch, Ed! You bear your claws when proven wrong, I see. The mature response would have been, "well I guess you're right, but...."

Right, right, right.

Love, Oversensitive Preteen Girl

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


The mature response on your part would be to stop being a sore loser. Karen won. Deal with it. And I'm not sure why you and those other suburbanites, Paul and Don even care about Chicago public schools. Don't they have public schools in your suburbs?

Finally , you can stop with the phony concern for those poor, poor charter school teachers who Karen was supposedly so mean to. The vote at UNO indicates the vast majority of charter teachers would vote for a union in a heartbeat. And I would welcome them as union brothers and sisters, even though they are in a different union. We are all trying to do the same thing, educate the children. We just want to be fairly paid and fairly treated.

Don wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I think we need to implement

I think we need to implement the Noble demerit system for certain forum participants. I'm pretty sure that each of your moms owe Catalyst $5.

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I live in Chicago and I skin

I live in Chicago and I skin in the game.

I'm not a sore loser, I came into the conversation and simply said I don't think KL cares much about kids; at least they are most certainly not her first priority (if they were she would be negligent at her job, moreover kids' and teachers' needs only align part of the time, not all of the time).

You mis-remembered a quote of hers and I corrected you. I happen to agree with Paul, however, in both of the candidates were lousy choices. From my perspective of course. And I do not like KL one bit; I think she's a big part of the problem.

But I am not a teacher, though I have more than one stake in this.

I wasn't lamenting the plight of charter teachers at all...they choose to work where they do. As adults with advanced degrees, I trust them to make good decisions for themselves; otherwise they should not be teaching anywhere! I simply said KL doesn't care about them and denigrates their schools by calling them not "real schools".

You're okay with a person in her position of power and promience acting like that, cheers to you. We can disagree. What else can I say?

George N. Schmidt wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Futility of communicating with phantoms

No "Paul Hobart" works for CPS. As to some "Mac," there are thousands. As I read and re-read some discussions, I realize, once again, the futility of communicating with phantoms. It's why the pretenses of blogging are not only unsubstantial but on significant subjects, dangerous.

The votes on May 17 spoke for themselves, which is why I published the preliminaries when we had them, both here and at Substance.

The votes yesterday (May 22) at the Board meeting were equally clear, which is why I published a first report and will be in detail as time goes on. The justice that Barbara Byrd Bennett, Henry Bienen, Mahalia Hines, Jesse Ruiz, David Vitale, Andrea Zopp, and Carlos Azcoitia deserve will arrive in due time, and with biblical wonder.

Accountability works in a democracy. Sometimes it takes time, but unlike communicating with the spirits, it has more than metaphorical meaning.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


Right Roy. And what neighborhood do you live in? Oak Lawn?

Don wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Why Ed, everyone disagreeing

Why Ed, everyone disagreeing with CTU positions live in Winnetka. Don't you know that?

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


George, I guess "phantom," to me means "coward."

George N. Schmidt wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Ed's no phantom. The cowards here are clear...

Gee, Ed. We've been through a lot together. Yes, when I refer to these "anonymousers" as phantoms, I do mean, among other things, "cowards." (Also, hypocrites, double-dealers, etc., etc., etc).

Having covered yesterday's Board meeting, and watched the massive courage of everyone who demanded that the people be heard, even risking manhandling and arrest, I am even less likely to respect these people who hide behind bloggers' nonsense.

Just one example:

Yesterday, May 22, 2013, nine aldermen, from all the various corners of "diversity" spoke publicly at a public meeting of the Chicago Board of Education against the school closings, not only as listed in their wards but also against the closings in general. Some were more eloquent than others, but all stood for democracy, with courage. Meanwhile, I was photographing the six members of the Board, and the six-figure paid executives (almost all from out of town), who were either ignoring the aldermen or (in the case of Vitale) nodding out half asleep.

My patience with people who hide being anonymous blogging is almost as short today as my patience with the aldermen who did not show up, allowing their consituents to be screwed undefended in public by them. Nicely, those cowards and sycophants are arranged in diversity's rainbow as well: Howard Brookins Jr. and Carrie Austin, Pat O'Connor and John Pope, Danny Solis and Roberto Maldonago -- those will do for now. Today CTU and others begin a massive voter registration drive to end mayoral control, and ultimately this mayor's office here.

I remember the last time this town had a massive voter registration drive, and at that time, too, the issue was the public schools and justice. And as a result, by 1983 we had elected Chicago's first African American Mayor.

As Karen said: these cowards are on the wrong side of history. The company they keep will haunt them and shame their families forever.

But we also have to strip them of their power.

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Put a lid on your feigned

Put a lid on your feigned disgust, George. So if everyone here used an NSA-approved identity checking mechanism you would suddenly have respect for their differing opinions? Yeah, right. It's no different than saying CPS didn't REALLY listen to us! In your estimation they only way it could have been proved they "listened" would been to have their decision align with what YOU personally happen to think is right.

We will see which side is on the wrong side of history. NO ONE - not CPS, not CTU, not the Mayor's office, not Springfield - has made intelligent decisions over the past decades. This is an attempt to make things better. Maybe it will work maybe it won't. But if you think the teacher's union is the main force for kids you have no clue what a union does and who it serves.

But you're good at being all indignant when you don't get your way.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


Since I actually went to three of these meetings and did not see Emanuel, Byrd-Bennett or any Board members there, and the very bored apparatchiks from CPS seemed to be not listening at all, I think I can state my opinion with more behind it than an anonymous blogger from the suburbs who attended zero of the closing hearings.

Paul Hobart wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Karen Lewis as mayor? Oh

Karen Lewis as mayor? Oh golly. If you want to see population declines in the city, that would put the current Census numbers to shame.

Roy Mac wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Ed I have attended two of the

Ed I have attended two of the closing hearings (I didn't see any of those folks there either) and have been to several Board meetings and have testified more than once before that body. I don't live in the suburbs.

Does that give me standing in your eyes, now? Probably not, but that's okay.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


Standing is not a word I would use, since I would assume you don't care much what I think. I am confused, however, at how you could have heard the testimony at two hearings, seen those overpaid schlubs from the board ignoring the very heartfelt testimony from parents, teachers, principals and students and say they actually "listened." On the South Side, where I grew up we would have called that a "boat race." The decision was already made far in advance and they just went through the motions.

What did you testify on? It seems you think Emanuel is doing a swell job. I don't think he needs encouragement. He has made his mind up that closing schools is the answer, but is completely ignoring the fact that if kids start getting hurt or worse in these soon to be overcrowded schools it will be on him.

George N. Schmidt wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Which hearings, Mac?

With so much false flagging going on, the next question for these guys (if they are guys; on the 'Net, Ed, you never know...) has to be "Which hearings?" Long ago, reporters were taught to ask that one last question, like to the "CPS parent" who turned out to be a "Stand for Children" shill ("Where does you child go to school?" etc.). Not that it matters, because except for the keyboarding exercises, communicating with on line cowardly pontificators who hide behind pseudonyms is only sport when there is little or nothing else to do.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


Yes. Sorry Roy, that all sounds a little fishy. An Emanuel supporter went to not one, but two of the closing hearings?! And after seeing the Board do their customary cluster**** walked away thinking, "Yes, I trust these people, who just managed to ignore a roomful of parents, to safely move 30,000 students, many of them special needs." No way.

Which meetings did you go to? And what magic did those soul-less order followers from the Board manage to use to convince you that they had any idea of what they are doing?

Don wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago


What's consistently missing in these arguments that parent have chosen to not enroll their children in these schools. Some families went to charters, some have left these areas.

But it's still not a good idea to close 50 school in a year. But we know why it can't be done in an orderly manner. Anyone running a district is going to want to close low enrollment schools. Doesn't Rahm's hand picked board include some former teachers?

We put you in charge, Ed, and in a year you would be wanting to close low enrollment schools. It's easy to criticize when your not responsible for maximizing the use of resources.

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