2012 TSJ Curriculum Fair Photos

November 28, 2012 0 comments

(Click on slideshow to see photos from the fair.)

Much thanks to all of the exhibitors, workshop presenters, performers, speakers, attendees and wonderful volunteers who helped to make this year's Curriculum Fair successful, and the largest ever with 850-900 people! We hope you had an enjoyable & inspiring time creating this space with us once again, that you are recharged, reconnected, recommitted...and ready. To everyone working for social justice in education, thank you for the work you do and we'll plan to see you at an upcoming meeting or next year's fair! 

In solidarity,
TSJ Family

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2012 TSJ Curriculum Fair Program & Speakers

November 12, 2012 0 comments

The 2012 Teaching For Social Justice Curriculum Fair is only a few days away, and we are excited to announce the program schedule and keynote speakers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pre-register NOW if you haven't done so already. This will save you time Saturday morning as well as help us avoid a bottleneck during registration.
  • Please note the NEW LOCATION! Due to forces out of our control, we had to change the venue to Kenwood Academy H.S. at 5015 S. Blackstone. 
  • Take a look at the workshops so you can plan accordingly.
  • BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE. We will not be providing plastic bottles of water.
Here is the schedule for the day as well as the keynote speakers and program.

Schedule of the Day

10:00 - Registration, Curriculum Exhibitors, and Resource Tables**  Open

11:00am-12:00pm - Opening Program (auditorium, 1st floor)
  • Cuban Street Rumba—Yoruba Opening Salutation "Elegwa"
    • Carlos "Quinto" Equis-Aguila, Cuban Master Drummer
    • José Morales
  • Welcome and Introduction - Prudence Browne, TSJ
  • Brandon Johnson, Chicago Teachers Union
  • Lorena Jasso, Social Justice High School Parent  
  • Aquila Griffin, Dyett H.S. Student, Kenwood Oakland Community  Organization
  • Kuumba Lynx, “Arizona Poli Tricks."
12:30-1:45 pm - Workshops Session 1* and Organizing (school closings, elected school board)

1:00-2:30pm - Lunch (Cafeteria, 2nd floor)

2:30 - Curriculum Exhibitors and Resource Tables close

2:30-3:45pm - Workshops Session 2* and Organizing (school closings, elected school board)

Closing Program 4:00-4:30   (Auditorium)
Call to Action, Call to Organize
  • Karen Lewis, President, CTU
  •  Closing Song: Sound of Soul
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2012 TSJ Curriculum Fair Workshops Announced!

November 9, 2012 0 comments

The workshops for this year's TSJ Curriculum have been announced! Please share widely!

Session One:   12:30-1:45

1] Organizing Session Against School Closings and for the Elected Representative School Board [this will be repeated in Session 2] [TSJ and members of CTU, CTU Community Board, and Communities Organized for Democracy in Education (CODE)]. This organizing session will focus on educating and organizing against the school closings (for the moratorium) and for the elected, representative school board. We will have a brief panel discussion by activists working on these issues, then break into groups to plan how people can participate and also bring others into the struggle.

2] Adultism House Students from Jordan Community School [Project JAM After School Program/Howard Area Community Center] Adultism House - A project geered towards Educators and Community Members working with Youth. The goal of the project is to teach adults how to be good allies to youth. The Adultism House allows the adults to put themselves in the position of the youth, hear how adults talk down to youth and then assess and empathize. We wish to show adults the power of their words and how they use their position of power to affect the youth.

3] Beyond Tolerance: Integrating LGBTQ Content into Our Curriculum Melissa Tempel, Rachel Harper [Rethinking Schools] As social justice educators, we work to create supportive environments for all students, including those with LGBTQ family, who identify as LGBTQ, are questioning, and/or  are gay-baited. We want to go further to integrate studying sexism, gender, and sexuality into the curriculum. The workshop will emphasize collaborating on curriculum that can be implemented during the school year. We  hope that some participants will subsequently write about teaching LGBTQ curriculum for publication.  

4] Boal’s Newspaper Theatre across the Curriculum Teresa Rende, Elizabeth Rice [Goodman Theater] Augusto Boal’s newspaper theatre form transforms daily news items, or any other non-dramatic material, into theatrical performance. In our Boal’s Newspaper Theatre Across the Curriculum we will introduce the 10 different methods of newspaper theatre, present an original crossed reading to participants (focused on the CTU strike), and offer practical classroom applications of Boal’s newpaper theatre form. Because this form focuses on non-dramatic text, practical classroom applications will include both humanities and STEM applications.
5] Building Grassroots Curriculum Movements Together: CGCT Releases & Workshops Urban Renewal or Urban Removal and the Grassroots Curriculum Toolkit David Stovall, Isaura Pulido, Lindsay Smith, Anton Miglietta [Chicago Grassroots Curriculum TaskForce] We'll release and workshop our two new publications (URUR? and Grassroots Curriculum Toolkit) by breaking into groups based on participant interest/grade levels after an initial interactive and creative introduction to both. Participants will become familiar with both publications, engage their content, offer initial feedback/critiques, and leave with practical guides for classroom or community implementation. Free giveaways, engaging facilitators, and avenues for involvement in CGCT are provided - including all new Parent and Student opportunities.

6] Education for Liberation: Pedagogy of the Oppressed in a Social Studies Classroom J. Cyriac Mathew [Uplift Community High School] Education in general is designed to reproduce our society. But what if we believe that our society needs to be fundamentally changed? This workshop will present a social studies teacher’s on-going experiment in developing a US History class based on Paulo Freire’s ideas of liberatory education.  The presentation is based on a 10th grade US History class, but the ideas will be applicable to social studies classes at any grade level.
7] Reading Rhythm Warriors Amira M. Davis [Educational Consultant] This curriculum is for an 8-week Saturday literacy and arts project for African American males, grades 3 – 6 as a collaboration between an artist-educator and a community organization. Youth engage in reading, discussion and playing African-inspired drum and percussion rhythms. Readings include Africana folktales/fables, biographies, poems, comics, and current events that are directly related to the boys’ lived experiences. The curriculum is thematically constructed and designed to enhance reading fluency, comprehension and personal development.
8] Report-back from the Journey for Justice: Taking the School Closings Fight National [Kenwood Oakland Community Organization] Students and parents with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization report on the historic Journey for Justice to Washington DC on Sept. 20-21, 2012. Over 1000 students and parents from 13 cities raised their voices for a national moratorium on school closings and for community-driven school improvement.  As more cities gear up for a federal hearing on school closings, see how you can be involved in this movement.

Session Two: 2:30-3:45

9] Organizing Session Against School Closings and for the Elected Representative School Board [this is a repeat workshop]  [TSJ and members of CTU, CTU Community Board], and Communities Organized for Democracy in Education (CODE)]. This organizing session will focus on educating and organizing against the school closings (for the moratorium) and for the elected, representative school board. We will have a brief panel discussion by activists working on these issues, then break into groups to plan how people can participate and also bring others into the struggle.

10] Cross-Pollinating the Grassroots Tyler, Kate, and Steve [Beehive Design Collective] We will demonstrate some of the diverse applications of our story-telling graphics by walking participants through a few hands-on workshops emphasizing collaboration, exploration, and the power of art as an educational tool.  At this year’s curriculum fair, we are excited to show our work-in-progress "Mesoamerica Resiste!"

11] Improving Community Relations at Your School Gabriel A. Cortez [Northeastern Illinois University] This workshop will provide information on how schools can create a positive culture and improve relationships among students, teachers, parents, and community members. A checklist of community relations items will be shared and explained with the goal of identifying key resources located inside the school and the surrounding area of the school. This includes identifying particular groups that represent all stakeholders and initiating a channel of a 2-way communication with them.

12] Making  Justice Drum David Stoker [Illinois Artist in Residence] Two sessions of 35 minutes, back to back.  Participants will learn how to make a simple, amazing drum. Can be a classroom or picket line project.  Quick, cheap, anyone can do it.  We will decorate the drum with colors and a slogan for justice.  Free drum materials included, for 25 people per session. Starts promptly. Adult/child participants welcome.

13] More Sh!t Chief Keef Don't Like—Workshopping Youth, Violence, and the Legacy of Racism in Chicago Kevin Coval, Mariah Neuroth [Young Chicago Authors] Chief Keef rhymes the experiences of so many Chicago youth. Facilitators Mariah Neuroth and Kevin Coval, author of More Sh!t Chief Keef Don’t Like, will provide curriculum and context to address the controversy surrounding the young rapper in classrooms and youth programs. Mariah Neuroth and Kevin Coval will provide curriculum and activities that engage youth in a critical conversation around the issues spoken about and faced by Chief Keef and so many other young people in Chicago.

14] Theater as a Weapon/Forum Theater on Bullying Je Nepomuceno/Nara Movement Project [Howard Area Community Center] Breaking the 4th wall, participants will watch a scene performed by youth, posing the problem of bullying. Participants will then be asked what they would do in this situation and how could they be an ally to the protagonist. However, instead of saying the solution, participants become Spect-actors and will be asked to be part of the scene. The session will start with a quick theater game.

15] “There could be a girlish boy or a boyish girl.  You will never know how things go around”: Challenging Gender Norms with Elementary Students Anne Elsener [Dominican University] In this workshop the presenter will guide you through a unit that can be used to provide students in grades 1 – 6 opportunities to develop and use literacy strategies to identify and question author’s message about gender norms in visuals, poems, and picture books. Participants will engage in reading and questioning of texts using literacy strategies and then have an opportunity to discuss how the entire unit plan can be implemented at different grade levels.

16] Understanding and Addressing Student Homelessness Rene Heybach, Brian Dunlop, Sherri Dabney-Parker, Lakeisha Brandon [Chicago Coalition for the Homeless] This workshop will be a collaboration between an attorney, a homeless parent, a school-based "homeless liaison," and a homeless student. It will include a compelling video and a short but basic presentation on the legal rights of homeless students and the correlative legal obligations of schools. The parent and student will then participate with the audience in a discussion on how these rights may be realized and how student homelessness itself can be challenged.

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*NEW LOCATION* 2012 Teaching For Social Justice Curriculum Fair

People we need your help! We had to move the Curriculum Fair, last minute (NOT our choice), but it will be nearby. 

NEW LOCATION: Kenwood Academy HS, 5015 S. Blackstone. 

Please email, forward, download, print, copy and SHARE these new E-Flyers (color and B&W) for the Curriculum Fair with the NEW location. Help spread the word!

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10 Arrested in City Hall Sit-in Against School Closings

November 4, 2012 0 comments

On Friday, November 2, a spirited crowd of 100 parents, teachers, students, and community members held a rally and press conference at City Hall demanding a moratorium-of at least two years-on all school closings, turnarounds, consolidations, and phase-outs. After the rally we sat in at the Mayor's office, refusing to leave until we had a meeting scheduled with the Mayor (no surrogates). That never happened, as one of his staff claimed she "couldn't do that." Outside supporters held a candlelight vigil. At 10PM the police threatened all those remaining. Ten parents, teachers, and community members were arrested and charged with trespassing. They spent the night in the police lock up (those arrested were CTU teachers and retired teachers, and members of KOCO, STOP, and TSJ, including LSC members), while a group waited for them all night at police headquarters.

This is just the opening move to make it clear to the Mayor and the powers-that-be in the city that people will no longer play by CPS rules just to have, in the end, another round of devastating closings and privatization of public schools.

CPS has talked about closing up to 100 public schools this year. At the same time CPS committed to the Gates Foundation to open 60 new charter schools and 40 new contract and turnaround schools in the next 5 years.

No more!

See photos from the sit-in here.

Video links of the arrests here  and here.

Here is a playlist of videos taken inside the sit-in, including interviews with CPS parent and LSC member Jeanette Taylor Smith and CPS teachers Carrene Beverly-Bass and Lillian Kass, as well as footage of CTU members leading folks in Ella's Song. 

Suntimes article here.

And check out our FB page for more! 

And PLZ! pre-register for the Curriculum Fair! Make everyone's life easier!
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Rally for Immediate Moratorium on School Closures and Charter Expansion

October 27, 2012 0 comments


Save our Schools!

Immediate Moratorium on School Closures & Charter Expansion!
Friday, Nov 2nd
4pm Rally/4:30pm Press Conference
City Hall 
LaSalle between Washington & Randolph Streets

CPS plans to close up to 100 schools in our neighborhoods while finding cash to open 60 more politically-connected charter schools. Our students deserve small class sizes, more arts, computer technology, and physical education. Join hundreds of parents, educators, and community activists as we tell the mayor to put our students before his political supporters!

For more information, please contact organizing@ctulocal1.com or call 312.329.6227.

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Urgent Action: ERSB Advisory Referendum on Ballots

The advisory referendum for an Elected Representative School Board is on the ballot in 327 precincts around the city. Vote Yes!
  • Go to this list to see if your precinct is one of them or view a sample ballot for your precinct based on street address here. You may have to go to the end of the ballot to find the referendum. Vote Yes!
  • Tell your friends and neighbors! Download and post this flyer/palm card.
  • Let voters know. Review the attached list and contact one of the TSJ community partners to distribute flyers and take a shift at a polling place on election day (Nov 6th) so voters know to VOTE YES! for an Elected Representative School Board.

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TSJ 2012 Curriculum Fair: Call for Curriculum Exhibitors, Workshops, and Resource Tables & Volunteer Opportunities

October 4, 2012 0 comments

  • Are you interested in exhibiting your curriculum (planned or taught) at the 2012 TSJ Curriculum Fair, Saturday, Nov 17th at Kenwood Academy at 5015 S. Blackstone in Chicago? 
  • Do you have curriculum resources that you would like to share at the Curriculum Fair? 
  • Or do you want to do a workshop at the Fair? 
If so...please fill out one (or more) of the following forms and PLZ note the deadlines for ALL THREE is October 31...sharp! And if you are not clear about the differences between these three, please read this form.
Does your curriculum have to be a finished, perfect product to exhibit?
Is there such a thing? The whole point of the CF is to recognize that teachers collectively produce knowledge about, for example, how to teach for social justice, and that we have much to learn from each other. There are no blueprints here, and we can learn from our mutual experiences. We strongly encourage teachers to share work "in progress" and to give and get feedback from others in order to further develop our collective understanding of what teaching for social justice means in theory and practice. Sometimes people may feel that their work is somehow not yet "there," and our view is that the CF is as good a place as any to strengthen it. It has been our shared experience that both exhibitors and non-exhibiting attendees have learned much from participating in the fair. 
Workshop Application Form

Curriculum Fair-Online Registration Open!

Click here to register for the 12th Annual Chicago-AreaTeaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair. That's Saturday, November 17th, from 10AM to 5PM.

Can you help volunteer for the Fair? Help us with outreach, media, making merchandise to sell (TSJ t-shirts), setup, cleanup, childcare, food serving, or more? Check out the CF committees here and email Stephanie, our volunteer coordinator. 

Please help spread the word! Add this notice to your face book page, send to list serves you are on, download (and copy like crazy) the  flyer (color and B&W) and put up in your school, coffee shop, library, nearby teacher store and pass out to friends and co-workers. Thanx!
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The Strike and Where Do We Go From Here

September 22, 2012 0 comments

Chicago Teachers Union teachers, paraprofessionals, and clinicians, through their courage and militancy, have shifted the ground on education reform and teacher unionism in Chicago and nationally. With the support of parents, students, and community members, they have shown not only that it is possible to stand up the neoliberal, corporate education agenda but that there is an alternative. This is a huge victory for all of us, one that goes beyond what was won in the contract. But there is a long battle in front of us. Rahm promises to close anywhere from 80-200 schools and privatize half the system.

Come to a special TSJ meeting to share reflections and discuss the implications of the strike and where we go from here.

Saturday, Sept 29
11:00 AM-1:00 PM
UIC College of Education 
1040 W. Harrison St.
Room 3233 (Commons)

 All are welcome.
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TSJ's Stephanie Hicks on the CTU Strike: Interview by Kevin Powell

September 20, 2012 0 comments

TSJ's own Stephanie Hicks was interviewed on writer and public speaker Kevin Powell's blog regarding the CTU strike. Here is an excerpt:
How do you respond to those who say teachers are asking for too much?
To those who say that teachers are asking for too much, I’d say that the conditions under which teachers teach, and students learn, make a world of difference in the educational process. If teachers aren’t compensated fairly, if they don’t have adequate affordable healthcare, and time to attend to their families, or the resources they need in the classroom to teach effectively, their students are going to suffer. Just as students should be able to go to school in healthy, safe, supportive environments, teachers should be able to work in them.
How do you respond to those who say teachers’ strike is affecting the children?
I’d say that the strike is affecting them in the best way possible: they’re learning the most valuable lessons out there on the picket lines! I’ve been at two of the big rallies in the past week, and student and parents are out there in solidarity with teachers. High school marching bands provided the background music to the chants. First graders were waving hand-made signs calling for lower class sizes and showing support for their teachers. Many parents understand that teachers aren’t striking to hurt kids. They’re not striking because they’re lazy. They’re striking because they’ve have had enough of the disinvestment and want better for their students.
Please read the entire post on Kevin Powell's site (Stephanie's answers are in the first part of the post):
http://www.kevinpowell.net/blog/2012/09/chicago-teachers-strike-2-educators-speak/ Read the Full Story

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September 16, 2012 0 comments

It's not over yet-democracy in is action in the CTU, as the House of Delegates decides how to proceed with the tentative agreement (see below for the CTU website release on the HoD meeting today). Let's get back on those picket lines at the schools Monday morning and do other strike support as well. Watch the CTU & TSJ website for updates, and don't necessarily believe what you hear in the news! Solidarity!!

From CTU Website:

House of Delegates Votes to Continue Strike


Some 800 delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union duly elected from each school and workplace convened Sunday afternoon to discuss the framework established during negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education. Officers presented a 23 page document outlining the most important points of the agreement whose outline has been worked out between the two parties. That tentative agreement is expected to number over 180 pages.
After a civil and frank discussion, the House of Delegates voted NOT to suspend the strike, but to allow two more days for delegates to take the information back to the picket lines and hold discussions with the union’s more than 26,000 members throughout Chicago. Teachers and school staff will return to the picket lines of the schools at which they teach at 7:30 a.m. Monday and, after picketing together, will meet to share and discuss the proposal. Citywide members will picket at the Chicago Public Schools Headquarters, 125 South Clark, at 7:30 a.m. and will meet thereafter at a downtown location.
“This union is a democratic institution, which values the opportunity for all members to make decisions together. The officers of this union follow the lead of our members,” President Lewis said. She continued, “the issues raised in this contract were too important, had consequences too profound for the future of our public education system and for educational fairness for our students, parents and members for us to simply take a quick vote based on a short discussion. Therefore, a clear majority voted to take this time and we are unified in this decision.”
The delegates voted to reconvene on Tuesday afternoon.


CHICAGO - The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)'s ruling body will decide whether or not to call off its strike against the Chicago Public Schools during a 3 p.m. House of Delegates meeting tomorrow at Operating Engineers Hall, 2260 Grove Street.  The Bargaining Team is expected to share new details about proposed contract language which includes a number of victories for teachers, paraprofessionals, clinicians, and students. 

The earliest teachers and other school personnel could return to their schools could be Monday; however, no decision has been made to do so. Delegates, the elected leaders of their schools, have the authority to suspend or lengthen the strike. They could also ask for at least 24-hours to talk to individual members in their schools before making a decision on what to do next. The 29,000-member CTU has been on strike since Sept. 10.
"We are a democratic body and therefore we want to ensure all of our members have had the chance to weigh-in on what we were able to win," said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. "We believe this is a good contract, however, no contract will solve all of the inequities in our District. Our fair contract fight has always been about returning dignity and respect to our members and ensuring resources and a quality school day for our students and their families."
The new proposed CTU/CPS contract will:
  • Secure Raises & Ensure Fair Compensation:  The CTU wants a three-year contract.  It will secure a 3% raise  in the first year, 2% raise in the second and 2% raise in the third, with the option to extend to a 4th year by mutual agreement at another 3% raise.
  • Defeat Merit Pay: The CTU successfully fought the star of national misguided school reform policies. The Board agreed to move away from "Differentiated Compensation," which would have allowed them to pay one set of teachers (based on unknown criteria) one set of pay versus another set of pay for others.
  • Preserve Steps & Lanes:  The new contract will preserve the full value of teachers and paraprofessionals career ladder (steps); and, it will increased the value of the highest steps (14, 15 and 16)
  • Provide A Better School Day: The Board will hire over 600 additional 'special' teachers in art, music, physical education, world languages and other classes to ensure students receive a better school day, a demand thousands of parents have called for since last year
  • Ensures Job Security: Creates a "CPS Hiring Pool," which demands that one-half of all of CPS hires must be displaced (laid-off) members.
  • Adds An Anti-Bullying Provision: No more bullying by principals and managerial personnel.  The new language will curtail some of the abusive practices that have run rampant in many neighborhood schools.
  • Paraprofessional & Clinicians Prep Time: The new contract will guarantee preps for clinicians.
  • Racial Diversity: The CTU continues to fight the District on its lay-off policies that has led to a record number of African American educators being laid off and eventually terminated by the District.  The new contract will ensure that CPS recruits a racially diverse teaching force.
  • New Recall Rights & Tackling  School Closings:  Acknowledging, the CTU will continue its ongoing legal and legislative fight for a moratorium on all school closings, turnarounds and phase-outs, the new contract requires teachers to "follow their students" in all school actions. This will reduce instability among students and educators.  The contract will also have 10 months of "true recall" to the same school if a position opens.
  • Fairer Evaluation Procedures:  The new contract will limit CPS to 70% "teacher practice," 30% "student growth" (or test scores)-which is the minimum by state law.  It also secures in the first year of implementation of the new evaluation procedures there will be "no harmful consequences" for tenured teachers. It also secures a new right-the right to appeal a rating.
  • Reimbursement for School Supplies: The contract will require the District to reimburse educators for the purchase of school supplies up to $250.
  • Additional Wrap-Around Services:  The Board agrees to commit to hire nurses, social workers and school counselors if it gets new revenue. Over the past several months, the CTU has identified several sources of new revenue, including the Tax Increment Financing program.
  • Books on Day One: For the first time, the new contract will guarantee all CPS students and educators have textbooks on day one and will not have to wait up to six weeks for learning materials.
  • Unified School Calendar:  The new contract will improve language on a unified calendar. The District will have one calendar for the entire school district and get rid of Track E and Track R schools.  All students and teaching personnel will begin on the same schedule.
  • Reduced Paperwork: The new contract ensures the new paperwork requirements are balanced against reduction of previous requirements.
"This Union has proven the Chicago labor movement is neither dormant nor dead," Lewis continued. "Our members are on the line because we all believe there is an assault on our profession and public education in general.  We will always do what is in the best interest of our students and our own children, many of whom attend these schools. We showed our solidarity and our strength, and with this new contract we have solidified our political power and captured the imagination of the nation. No one will ever look upon a teacher and think of him or her as a passive, person to be bullied and walked on ever again."
The union is not on strike over matters governed exclusively by IELRA Section 4.5 and 12(b).
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve.  The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois.  For more information please visit CTU's website at www.ctunet.com.
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