Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In the Mailbox

From Jennifer Johnson

Dear Public Education and Teacher Supporters,

Yesterday, we got some good news. Thanks largely to your thousands of signatures and comments has dropped both Jonah Edleman’s Stand for Children and Michelle Rhee’s Students First as clients.

You can read Huffington Post's coverage here: 

Though this is good news, we still need to be very realistic about and their willingness to repeatedly dupe signers into supporting petitions that appear to be progressive but are really backed by corporate and anti-labor organizations. While this is a great step, we still don't have a clear indication from on where they draw the line on anti-worker organizations and groups that advocate against collective bargaining or promote legislation written by ALEC, an extreme organization that you may recognize as the author of the 'Stand Your Ground' law in Florida and anti-worker legislation across the country. We should be heartened that our voices were heard in this instance, but warned about those that would call us allies in the struggle to support public education and those who educate our children. What is to stop from doing this again? What other media are acting like they are friends to teachers and workers, but they are really not? 

Because, as you know, us Chicago teachers are in contract negotiations and fighting for better schools for our students, I want to encourage you to stay engaged. We, and other educators, need the support that you demonstrated by signing our petition. These kinds of attacks on teachers as the nurturers of kids and as members of labor organizations won’t stop today. 

Please keep reading articles to stay informed, write a letter to the editor or make an online comment if you see teacher bashing, tell your friends and family while in line at the grocery store about how teachers are fighting for quality public education. Research whose lobbying and supporting your local representatives, because in many cases, they are connected and funded by the leaders of organizations like Stand for Children and Students First. Please continue to be a voice against the corporate influence of astroturf, neoliberal organizations that are trying to destroy public education as we know it and bust unions that fight back. 

One way to keep informed and involved is to follow the work of the unions that I’m in. As an active member of the Chicago Teachers Union, I’m proud to say that we are a more united and fighting union than ever. President Karen Lewis ( petition signer #262) and our members are pushing for research-supported education reform. To read the Chicago Teachers Union study called “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve” go to: You can download the whole thing, read and share widely! Have you ever seen a teachers union lead like this before? 

As a Chicago Teachers Union is Local 1 member, I am also a member of the American Federation of Teachers, who are stepping up nationally to fight well-funded, corporate attacks by groups like Stand for Children. President Randi Weingarten ( petition signer #520) wrote “Tell to stop union busting” on our petition. To get news and information from the AFT, go to: 

We remain committed to publicly funded public education and making sure that the voices of teachers, students and parents dominate the discussions and policies to make our schools better! 

Thanks again for your signature! Let’s keep up the great work!


1 comment:

  1. It is interesting that the thrust of Jen's letter is to alert teachers of faux organizations that pretend to befriend teachers.

    How is (AFT) Randi Weingarten NOT the face of faux teacher friend corporate controlled education?


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