By 10/25: All Chicago-Area Educational Researchers are invited to sign the statement in support of the Chicago Teachers Union (scroll down to sign)
Public education in a democratic society is based on the principle that every child is of equal and incalculable value. Schools in a democracy aim to prepare the next generation to be knowledgeable and informed citizens and residents; to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers; to be prepared to contribute positively to communities, workplaces, and societies that are characterized by diversity and inequities; and to be healthy, happy, and able to support the well-being of others with compassion and courage.  The children and youth of Chicago deserve no less.

A group of Chicago-based researchers formed Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE) in 2011 to vindicate the belief that education is a human right, not a commodity to be bought and sold according to market forces. This network of scholars joined forces to address the gap between cherished public education values and educational policy and practices. At the time, the prevailing “common sense” was that public education was failing, teachers were bad, unions were corrupt and only market-based competition and metrics could provide effective solutions. In short, the best way to fix public schools would be to “privatize them” by creating competition through charter schools, diverting public school resources to private schools through voucher programs, assessing school and teacher performance based on high-stakes test scores, and closing “underutilized” (i.e., “unprofitable”) schools while simultaneously expanding charter and online education. This privatizing approach to “school reform” was so dominant just ten years ago that Republican and Democratic policies on school reform had little differentiation.

As we take stock of the political moment in 2019, we again note that research supports the demands of the Chicago Teachers Union as they make the difficult decision to potentially strike. We approach the issues raised by the looming strike based on our knowledge of the existing research which leads us to the inevitable conclusion—that good teaching conditions are good learning conditions. The academic literature confirms what students, parents and teachers already know: students learn better when supported by smaller class sizes, in schools that are staffed with enough librarians, psychologists, nurses and social workers to create environments that enable all students to flourish. Teachers can focus on teaching and learning when schools have necessary support services for students and their families.  Research also illustrates that restorative practices in schools are key interventions to stem the school to prison pipeline. With almost 80% of the students in CPS living at or below the federal poverty level, the need for consistent and quality support services is essential. 

Like all workers, school employees should be fairly compensated, including all the paraprofessionals in schools who currently do not make a living wage. Building and supporting the quality schools our communities deserve is not just about teacher pay. For these reasons, we, the undersigned researchers and advocates applaud the CTU for authorizing a strike to demand a reprioritization of our values so that Chicago’s schoolchildren have the learning environment they need to succeed. 

Therese Quinn, Associate Professor of Museum and Exhibition Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
Martha Wilkins, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, Lewis University
Erica R. Meiners, Professor, Education and Gender & Women's Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Sumi Cho, Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law
David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired), University of Illinois at Chicago
Sarah E. Dennis, Clinical Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Nicole Nguyen, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago
Elizabeth A. Skinner, Associate Professor, Illinois State University
Sepehr Vakil, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University
Karyn Sandlos, Associate Professor of Art & Education, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Stephanie Farmer, Associate Professor of Sociology, Roosevelt University
Leticia Villarreal Sosa, Professor, Dominican University
Isaura Pulido, Associate Professor and Chair, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Josh Radinsky, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Valerie C. Johnson, Associate Professor and Chair, Depaul University
Erin Mackinney, Assistant Professor of Bilingual/ESL Education, Roosevelt University
Amina Chaudhri, Associate Professor, Northeastern Illinois University
Francesca Gaiba, Associate Director, Northwestern University
L. Boyd Bellinger, UIC Doctoral Student, Policy Studies in Urban Education
Adam Greteman, Assistant Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Elizabeth Meadows, Associate Professor, Roosevelt University
Judith Gouwens, Professor of Elementary Education, Roosevelt University
Jung Kim, Associate Professor of Literacy, Lewis Univeristy
Simeon Stumme, Associate Professor of Education, Chicago State Iniversity
William Boerman-Cornell, Professor of Education, Trinity Christian College
Emilia Chico, Adjunct Professor
Diane Horwitz, Coordinator, Education Issues Forums, DePaul College of Education
Eve L. Ewing, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
Leslie Rebecca Bloom, Professor, Education and Women's and Gender Studies, Roosevelt University
Kathleen McInerney, Professor, St. Xavier University
Amira Proweller, Associate Professor, DePaul University
Raja Bhattar, Independent Consultant and Researcher
Valentina Gamboa-Turner, Adjunct Faculty, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight, Professor, SXU and DePaul
Kay Fujiyoshi, Instructor, University of Chicago, Urban Teacher Education Program
Dana Cole, Faculty, Harold Washington College

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