Sanctuary provision included in new Acero teacher contract
A provision in a tentative contract reached between the Acero charter school network and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will prohibit the school from collecting and distributing information about the immigration status of students, teachers and families, and restricts access by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to schools except by court order, a CTU lawyer told the Associated Press. The contract, which ended a four-day strike, also includes raises for teachers and staff annually over the next four years and a shorter school year and school day.
Helena Stangle, an Acero spokesperson, told Chicago City Wire that the sanctuary provision in the contract “further memorialized” a policy first implemented by Acero in February 2017.
“The contract also includes leave provisions for colleagues managing personal immigration matters,” she wrote in an email.
Stangle did not respond to a request to elaborate on the specific terms in the contract, including the size of the raises and additional details in the sanctuary provision.
Acero CEO Richard Rodriquez said in a statement that Acero agreed to CTU’s request to shorten the school year to more closely align with Chicago Public Schools. In addition, the teachers' work day will be reduced, he said.
“However, through changes in the way the school day is structured, Acero Schools was able to preserve the amount of instructional time for students,” Rodriquez said.
With the tentative agreement, Acero and CTU withdrew filings with the Illinois Labor Relations Board and the National Labor Relations Board. Acero said on Saturday that it filed the labor charges “to prohibit the CTU from continuing its illegal and politically motivated strike.”
Acero said that charter schools are subject to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, which is “designed to ensure that the unions and the schools exhaust bargaining efforts prior to putting a child’s education at risk due to a strike.”
A series of analysis conducted a year ago by Chicago City Wire showed that the vast majority of Acero students fail rudimentary language and math tests.
In one analysis, 85 percent of Acero Charter School Network-Roberto Clemente Campus students failed English/language arts.
In another, 67 percent of Acero Charter School Network-Spc Daniel Zizumbo Campus students failed math.
Acero has 15 charter schools that serve predominantly Latino students from low-income families. The strike involved more than 500 teachers and affected about 7,500 students.
A spokesperson for CTU said that that it was working on scheduling but expected a vote on the contract by union members some time this week.
CTU has scheduled a press conference and rally at 1 p.m. at CTU headquarters, 1901 W. Carroll on Chicago’s West Side.