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CTU Speaks!

News & Politics Podcasts

CTU Speaks! is a production of the Chicago Teachers Union.

CTU Speaks! is a production of the Chicago Teachers Union.


United States


CTU Speaks! is a production of the Chicago Teachers Union.






13: Black Teachers Matter

In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros grapple with the causes and consequences of the disappearance of Black educators from Chicago Public Schools. Jackson Potter, history teacher at Back of the Yards High School, and Gervaise Clay, teacher on leave and field rep at the Chicago Teachers Union, discuss the racist impact of school closings and turnarounds pursued by a host of Chicago mayors. Then, Jim talks with Jesse Hagopian, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter at...


12: Protest And Politics

In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with nine teachers who got arrested on Day 9 of the Chicago Teachers Union's recent strike. The CTU 9 were calling on mega developer Sterling Bay to return some of the $1.3 billion in taxpayer money they received to develop Lincoln Yards in order to help CPS settle the contract and end the strike. But instead of speaking to the nine teachers, Sterling Bay had them arrested for trespassing. Andrea and Jim also interview Jeanette...


11: Time To Ratify?

In this episode, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with bargaining team members Quentin Washington and Kirstin Roberts about what it was like to spend weeks (and even months!) at the negotiating table with Chicago Public Schools, how the wins in the contract came to be there, and what some of the strategic considerations are when striking to increase leverage at the bargaining table.


10: We're Back!

On this episode, Jim and Andrea review the last couple weeks, during which the Chicago Teachers Union has been on strike, with a number of guests, including CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson, President Jesse Sharkey, and Deputy General Counsel Thad Goodchild. Jen takes a step back to look at what we won and how, Jesse describes some of the negotiations he was a part of (and gets a surprise phone call from a special guest), and Thad goes on a deep dive about the class size provisions in the new...


09: On the Eve of Justice

On this episode, Jim and Andrea have the absolute joy and privilege to sit down with writer, scholar, and people's mayor of Chicago Dr. Eve L. Ewing. Eve talks about how the lessons of her book Ghosts in the Schoolyard, which deconstructs the 2013 CPS school closings, connect to the current strike, the impact of structural racism on our school system, and her experiences as a CPS teacher. Share your thoughts and questions with the CTU Speaks! team by emailing ctuspeaks@ctulocal1.org or...


08: Five Days Later

Five days into the CTU strike, Jim sits down with Cook County Commissioner CTU member, and former middle school teacher Brandon Johnson (Andrea caught a cold from striking so hard!). Brandon puts the strike in historical context and helps us understand it as a potential pivot point for the city, while also underscoring the ways that CTU has been impactful for labor and education across the country.


07: Tips for TIFs w/ Ben Joravsky

Andrea and Jim take a deep dive into the wildly inequitable world of TIFs with Chicago's resident gadfly and journalism legend Ben Joravsky. Ben breaks down how TIFs became a slush fund for the Mayor's office, why they continue to serve as such, and how this connects to the CTU strike. Subscribe to CTU Speaks and write a review on Apple Podcasts!: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ctu-speaks/id1476412067 Photo by Glitterguts from the Chicago Reader


06: Hit the Bricks

Fresh out of the Hall of Delegates meeting last night in which CTU voted unanimously to strike, Jim and Andrea break down what the next 24 hours will look like with CTU members Rachel Blundy and Linda Perales. They talk about the unreasonable conditions for special education teachers, the disparities between funding and staffing in the city versus neighboring suburbs, and get each other (and you) hyped to hit the bricks, starting today!


05: Episode Why

In Episode Why of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with Chicago Public Schools nurse Dennis Kosuth about what it's like to be a nurse in a public school in our city. But first, they discuss some honest questions posed by a parent who's a friend of Jim. She supports the Chicago Teachers Union's demands for smaller class sizes and full staffing, but doesn't understand some of the CTU's other demands, such as better policies to address homelessness.


04: We Have a Strike Date

In this episode of CTU Speaks!, co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros begin with a discussion of recent events in the struggle for a new contract. Then they interview CTU legislative deputy Kurt Hilgendorf and CTU legal counsel Thad Goodchild about how Illinois labor law is stacked against the CTU. Next, they bring in two parents — Julie Dworkin and Erica Clark — to discuss the concerns and issues that parents are grappling with at this moment. Finally, they interview CTU Vice President...


03: Episode Yes!

Chicago teachers are voting this week on whether to authorize a strike. This special episode of CTU Speaks!, which we are affectionately calling "Episode Yes," answers all your questions about this vote. Joining CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros are SEIU Local 73 members Antwon AJ Jennings and Luis Bhamundi as well as CTU members Jessica Rosenbaum and Paula Barajas.


02: Our Agenda for Education Justice

CTU Speaks! co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros begin this episode talking with Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey and Recording Secretary Christel Williams-Hayes about the status of contract negotiations. After a solidarity statement from Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Andrea and Jim talk with CTU Financial Secretary Maria Moreno and PSRP activist Lashawn Wallace about their experiences of the 2012 strike and what that can teach us about how...


01: Are We Striking?

Welcome to Episode 1 of CTU Speaks! After introducing co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros, there's an interview CTU Chief of Staff Jen Johnson about how negotiations for CTU's next contract are proceeding at the bargaining table. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you get alerts about future episodes, and share this episode on your favorite social media platforms.


00: CTU Speaks! a new podcast by the Chicago Teachers Union

The Chicago Teachers Union is launching a podcast called CTU Speaks!, which is hosted by rank-and-file CTU members Andrea Parker and Jim Staros. In it, we'll be regularly discussing our union, bargaining for a new contract, and our fight for the schools our children and educators deserve. Watch for our debut episode in the coming days!