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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Dec 6, 2013

UIC Faculty Union Votes To Authorize Strike; Contract Negotiations Continue

Union members of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) voted this week to authorize a strike. Union officials, however, say they will continue contract negotiations with the university's administration through early January, with the help of a federal mediator, in an effort to avoid a walkout.

"We will only take strike action once every other avenue of influence has been exhausted and the bargaining team believes there is no other way to make members’ views clear," the union wrote on its website before the strike authorization vote, which occurred Monday through Thursday of this week.

About 79 percent of the union's 800 members participated in the vote this week, with over 95 percent saying they backed the option to strike, if necessary, for a fair contract, union leaders said.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
Mon Dec 2, 2013

CPS Parents Host Fair To Promote, Support Neighborhood Schools

As Chicago’s public schools continue to struggle in the face of budget cuts, overcrowding and a city government that seems to prefer to invest in charter schools, a group of parents hosted what they say was the first fair ever to showcase public education in neighborhood schools. Calling themselves BAM, short for “Bad Ass Moms,” the group put together a “Neighborhood Schools Fair” last month as a way to connect Chicago Public Schools families with one another and highlight the accomplishments of their children’s schools.

“What better way to defend public education then by showcasing what we have to offer,” said Rousemary Vega, a CPS parent and resident of Humboldt Park. Vega, one of the founding members of BAM, said the group formed over the summer during a backyard barbeque where CPS parents discussed the massive CPS school closures and budget cuts.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Nov 22, 2013

Chicago Education Activists Launch Coalition To Revitalize Bronzeville's Dyett High School

A broad coalition of educators, parents and South Side community leaders are urging Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider closing Walter H. Dyett High School and instead keep it open as a "Global Leadership and Green Technology" neighborhood high school.

In 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout Dyett on the South Side due to poor academic performance. Dyett is expected to close completely in 2015.

Those with the newly-formed "Coalition to Revitalize Dyett" argue that closing the high school entirely would expand the "school desert" in Bronzeville, a historic African-American neighborhood.

The coalition's members want to see global leadership and green technology curriculum offered at Dyett, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. The proposed Global Leadership and Green Technology High School would be open to all students in the community.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the mayor need to "do right by the families of this historic, proud community," stressed Jitu Brown with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), one of the groups with the new coalition.