Teachers for Social Justice Statement on Obama’s Gun Control Plans

January 29, 2013 0 comments

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the Obama administration proposed a series of gun control recommendations and policies. His four-point plan includes "making schools safer" and "increasing access to mental health services." The plan states "We need to make our schools safer, not only by enhancing their physical security... but also by creating safer and more nurturing school climates that help prevent school violence. Putting school resource officers (specially trained police officers) and mental health professionals in schools can help prevent school crime and student-on-student violence." 
Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ) is an organization of educators who are committed to education for social justice. We fight for classrooms and schools that are anti-racist, multicultural, multilingual, academically rigorous curriculum that is both caring and critical, and grounded in the experience of our students. We believe that schools should indeed be a safe space for students, families, teachers, and all community members. 

While TSJ supports the call to "make schools safer,” we must question what makes our schools "safe." We do not support the idea that police in our schools, and the criminalization of our students, creates a “nurturing school climate.” The increased reliance of law enforcement and school resource officers often translates school discipline into police records for students – indeed an average of 25 CPS students per day are arrested on school grounds.  These arrests and out-of-school suspensions disproportionately affect students of color, primarily African American and Latino students, and greatly increase the chance that these young people will enter the criminal justice system. Although most of the publicized school shootings have been by white shooters in mostly white suburban neighborhoods, the proposed increase of police in schools will only continue to criminalize African American and Latino city schools. These close ties between schools and police work directly to strengthen the school-to-prison pipeline.

Obama’s plan calls to “put up to 1,000 more school resource officers and counselors in schools.” TSJ believes we must act now to ensure that these thousand, and more, are all counselors, not police. We know schools are safer without cops in them. We know schools are safer when they have enough counselors, mental health workers, supportive and supported teachers, and relevant and engaging curriculum. We know we must fight for the “nurturing school climate” all teachers and students deserve—a climate that dismantles the school-to-prison pipeline by saying No to Cops and Yes to Counselors.
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Sat. Jan 19th - City-wide Community Outreach to Save Our Schools

January 14, 2013 0 comments


Join the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), parents, students, educators, and community organizations across Chicago in community canvassing on Saturday, Jan. 19th in the morning and early afternoon hours!

The Mayor and Board of Education have closed or taken over dozens of schools every year, targeting Black and Latino neighborhoods. These closings take resources that students deserve, destabilize our neighborhoods, and increase racial inequality in the schools. The Board of Ed is now planning to close dozens more schools, taking even more from the communities that have lost the most. They plan to close schools in part to pay for corporate handouts and more privatized charter schools controlled by the Mayor's supporters--taking our community's schools, jobs, and VOICE.

Join us in spending a few hours of the Marting Luter King, Jr. Day weekend fighting for our communities, our students and our schools.

For details on locations and times throughout the city, please click here for the flier.

With Northside Action for Justice
Stockton Elementary School
4420 N. Beacon St
11:00am - 1:00 pm

With Albany Park Neighborhood Council
APNC Office
4749 N. Kedzie, 2nd Floor
11:00 am - 2:00 pm

With Blocks Together
BT Office
3455 W. North Ave
10:00am - 1:00 pm

With Action Now
Lewis Elementary
1431 N. Leamington Ave
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

With Kenwood Oakland Community Organization
KOCO Office
4242 S. Cottage Grove
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

With Action NOW
Ruggles Elementary
7831 S. Prairie Ave
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Fenger High School
11220 S. Wallace Street
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

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Upcoming TSJ Events

Teachers for Social Justice and CORE will be having two joint events in the coming month, both related to the work of Lois Weiner, a life-long union activist, educator, and scholar on urban education and teachers unions.

The first will be a discussion of Weiner's new book, The Future of Our Schools: Teachers Unions and Social Justice. This is an important, short, very readable book. You can buy it from Haymarket Books (they'll send it right out) or via email (julie [-at-] haymarketbooks[-dot-]org). We will be discussing Part 1, pp. 3-81 and Chapter 12.
Here are details and a link to RSVP:

TSJ/CORE Book Discussion
Sat., Jan 26th
1:00-3:00 pm
UIC College of Education, Room 3233
RSVP here

Here is what Karen Lewis of the CTU had to say about Lois Weiner's new book:
"Lois Weiner's book should be a wake-up call for all of us who work in K-12 schools. Her analysis of the current political climate is clear, sharp and desperately needed. The Future of Our Schools provides a template for rank and file members to be pro-active in their unions and a nudge to union leadership to open the process to defeat the corporate agenda." --Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union
The second event will be a public forum with Lois Weiner on Friday, February 8th. The exact time and location are TBD, so please stay tuned!

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