Silencing SDEA’s Karen Lewis

One of the changes being proposed by SDEA Presidnet Bill Freeman and the Bylaws Committee is to require SDEA Board approval before any SDEA member can put informational material in another member’s mailbox. While everyone has recently heard about the Chicago Teachers Union  (CTU) and their current President Karen Lewis, what many people don’t realize is that a couple of years ago, Lewis wasn’t part of her union’s “mainstream.” She was part of a reform caucus called Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators (CORE) within CTU. One of the ways CORE communicated with CTU members was its newsletter. Can you imagine what might have happened in Chicago if CORE members had been prevented from sharing informational materials?

CORE members are continuing to work to democratize and strengthen their union while holding their elected leaders accountable—including their own. There’s a great article in CORE’s March 2010 newsletter entitled, “Does Dissent Divide Our Union?” We encourage you to read it.  Here’s a short excerpt:

“There has to be room in the union to disagree and engage in a battle of ideas. Lately, our House of Delegates has seen so little constructive debate. We’ve been told that if we’re not with the President, we’re against her. Does this sound familiar?”

Well, does it?

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