According to an article from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis has announced that the union is pursuing an effort to remove Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several other elected officials from office in light of the city's decision to move forward with closing down dozens of schools. CTU made the announcement at a press conference and said that it will be training political candidates and funding political campaigns through its action committee.
Here are some facts and details about the union's announcement and their plans to elicit political and educational change in Chicago:
* At the press conference, Lewis heavily criticized the mayor and said that the union will begin an aggressive campaign to seek a candidate capable of ousting Emanuel, noted the Chicago Sun-Times.
* She denied that she will personally run for the office of mayor and stated, "If the mayor and his handpicked corporate school board will not listen to us, then we must find those who will."
* Additionally, CTU said that they will be launching a new effort to get an additional 100,000 voters registered in time for the mayoral election in 2015. In order to achieve this goal, the union will ramp up door-to-door canvassing in neighborhoods.
* WBEZ noted that the district's proposal to shut down 54 schools is awaiting a school board vote, but that the CTU is still fiercely opposing and criticizing the plan.
* Union members are continuing to raise awareness regarding the issues around closing the schools, including safety concerns for children now traveling further between home and school.
* In the meantime, the district is holding community forums to address local concerns of the closings, but Lewis criticized the public hearings, saying that they are "most likely sham events."
* Along with efforts to remove the mayor from office, CTU will also be targeting Chicago aldermen and members of the General Assembly who they believe are not promoting a pro-education system agenda.
* The union's political action committee will directly donate to help fund the campaigns of pro-education candidates.
* An article from Crain's Chicago Business stated that Lewis also released a report concluding that the district is at fault for creating the poor conditions in the schools slated for closure.
* The report also emphasizes that the school closures are having an unequal impact on African-American students since 88 percent of students in the condemned schools are of this racial group.
* A spokeswoman for the mayor said that he supports the school closings 100 percent and that "this is simply not the time for politics."
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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