March 31, 2016

Educators 4 Excellence-Chicago hosts town hall with teachers, elected officials, and experts on school funding

Ahead of 1-Day Strike, Panel of Budget Experts and Education Stakeholders Lead Discussion and Q&A with Educators on CPS Budget

March 31, 2016 (Chicago) – A group of Chicago teachers, joined by education, civic, and elected leaders, gathered today to discuss the future of Chicago Public Schools’ finances. The event, at William H. Brown Elementary School on the Near West Side, allowed teachers the opportunity to engage more deeply in budget conversations and work to amplify their voices ahead of tomorrow’s 1-day strike.

“Teachers are deeply concerned by the unsettled nature of the district’s finances. They want to know what’s going to happen, and what they can do about it,” said Acasia Wilson Feinberg, executive director of Educators 4 Excellence-Chicago, who organized the event. “I want to thank these teachers for coming together to make their voices heard, and also thank our elected officials and advocates for coming to hear what classroom educators have to say about this issue.”

Stephanie Banchero, Joyce Foundation Education Program Director and former WSJ National Education Reporter, moderated a conversation between the panelists and a Q&A session with Chicago teachers.  Teachers engaged Will Guzzardi, Illinois State Representative, House District 39; Ameya Pawar, Alderman, 47th Ward; Dr. Janice Jackson, chief education officer, CPS; Ginger Ostro, executive director, Advance Illinois; and Chad Aldeman, associate partner, Bellwether Education Partners, with questions about the future of education funding in Chicago and Illinois.  They also shared their unique perspectives with the city and state leaders about how funding challenges impact their students and their profession.

"I am an arts educator and unfortunately, arts funding is often one of the first resources to be cut even though the city's cultural plan is linked to arts education. It is necessary for me to write grants and seek alternative funding to properly supply my students with a quality arts education," said Jennifer Hall, a CPS teacher at Park Manor Elementary School. "I am here because I am concerned about the future of our students and our schools," she added.

“Concern about our budget is real,” Wilson Feinberg added. “Policymakers and stakeholders need to listen to teachers, the people who see the rubber meet the road when it comes to spending. I want to thank everyone for joining us at this important event today, and all of the teachers who spoke from their own experience in Chicago Public Schools.”