Seeing Green: Chicago Teachers Union pushes climate demands in CPS negotiations

Union wants retro-fitted buildings, solar panels, electric school buses and carbon-neutral programs.

Published: June 22, 2024 9:32pm

(The Center Square) -

The Chicago Teachers Union is pushing its Green Schools Campaign in negotiations with Chicago Public Schools.

The union wants retro-fitted buildings, solar panels, electric school buses and carbon-neutral programs, in addition to major increases in pay and staffing levels.

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said it was students who pushed the union to bargain about things not immediately connected to reading, writing and arithmetic.

“The young people in this city have been very vocal about the responsibility and the accountability that grown-ups have in sustaining our Earth,” Gates said.

Jeff Fiedler of the Chicago Republican Party said CTU leaders want to change the narrative.

“They don’t want to talk about how the kids are failing in Chicago Public Schools, how minority kids are failing, how people are leaving,” Fiedler said.

CPS enrollment is down about 20% since 2010. Taxpayer funding of CPS has increased more than 50% during the same period.

Fiedler explained that the climate demands are CTU’s Green New Deal.

“How is any of this going to solve the immediate problem that most of the children, who are Chicago children, cannot read, cannot write, and cannot compute?” Fiedler asked.

Both Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union negotiators focused on the union’s Green Schools Campaign during their first public negotiating session.

Fiedler said it is a disgrace that the Chicago mayor and teachers union boss are focused on green schools 15-to-20 years down the road.

“Are the kids in Chicago Public Schools right now throwaway kids Brandon Johnson? Are those throwaway kids Stacy Davis Gates? Do those kids matter? They matter a lot,” Fiedler said.

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