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CTU year in review: $9.25 million settlement for displaced Black teachers

While the money will not undo the harm these teachers, their students and their school communities have suffered, this settlement is an important first step toward closure and accountability.

Board approves $9.25 million settlement for black CTU teachers, PSRPs, and employees displaced by 2012-2014

In December, we reached a historic $9.25 million settlement for two racial discrimination cases our union has fought on behalf of displaced black teachers who have been expelled from the district for the past 15 years.

The cases, filed a decade ago, were our union’s response to the “shift” model of school management and the systematic attack on black experienced teachers by former Chicago mayors and CPS and CPS principals. The lawsuits were one of the first actions taken by our beloved President Emerita Karen Lewis, who said at the time, “The sole purpose of firing and replacing staff as part of the ‘transformation’ appears to be to discriminate against experienced, expensive teachers, especially teachers of color.”

We just wish Karen lived to see the end of this fight.

CPS has fought lawsuits, even though district-specific evidence acknowledged that layoffs and budget shifts — in which the school’s entire teaching force was removed and replaced — had a disproportionate impact on black teachers and professional assistants. These racial policies remained in place until this year, and contributed to the dramatic reduction of black teachers in Cincinnati public schools, which has fallen from 40 percent in 2000 to barely 20 percent today.

Research shows that having one black teacher improves educational outcomes for black children, but this is a fact that few CPS students experience. So our union thanks the many veteran black teachers who have stood with us in this fight, sharing heartbreaking stories of derailed careers, financial hardship and emotional trauma in the wake of these wrongful layoffs. It is our hope that their sacrifice, and programs like Grown Your Own and Our We Care, will create more opportunities for black educators in the future.

While the money will not undo the harm these teachers, their students and their school communities have suffered, this settlement is an important first step toward closure and accountability. We are grateful to the legal team and, most importantly, we are indebted to the black educators and professional assistants who have seen this case through. Their fortitude, commitment and solidarity is the core of our strength as a union and a community.

Previously in the year CTU under review:
Bargaining for a safe return to our schools
New part-time medical jobs 2021-2022
CTU Negotiation Units are organized in two rented campuses
CPS finally agreed to start paying $25 million in sports funding
Making history in Springfield
Decrease REACH . rating
We care about new teachers and doctors of color
Organizing summer and providing vaccinations to communities
Carnegie Elementary School unites and fights for safety

We have updated the information at ctulocal1.org so please check Important updates on the safety campaign in our school communities For the latest information regarding the safe return, including a proposed reopening in front of the CPS and Tele-town hall for all members on Sunday.

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