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Chicago Teachers Union board exec tells teachers not to go back to work while she vacations in Caribbean

A Chicago Teachers Union board executive posted selfies of her Caribbean vacation, and also issued tweets telling teachers not to return to school amid the pandemic.

Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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A Chicago Teachers Union board executive posted selfies of her Caribbean vacation, and also issued tweets telling teachers not to return to school, claiming it's unsafe for them to go back to school amid the pandemic.

Sarah Chambers is on the union's executive board, an area vice president and a socialist activist, and is now facing backlash for vacationing in the Caribbean while claiming it’s unsafe for teachers to return to the classroom and threatening a strike.

On Thursday, she tweeted to rally special education teachers not to return to work Monday because it’s unsafe while on her trip.

Just a few hours earlier, Chambers posted a picture on Instagram that appears to show her pool side in Puerto Rico and talking about going to Old San Juan for seafood.

The post also mentions she previously had COVID, got a negative test result and consulted her doctor before traveling. It's unclear why testing and precautions couldn't be taken in Chicago schools.

Chicago Public Schools closed in March due to coronavirus inspired fears and students and teachers are yet to return to the classroom. At every step of the way, the school system has been hindered by the union. They have refused to return to school until their numerous demands are met.

As CPS began to create a plan to get Chicago's kids back in school, the unions have said that they will not go. It's so extreme that CPS has had to hire in-classroom helpers so that kids will be monitored as they sit in classrooms but are taught virtually by teachers.

While Chambers is on vacation, the union is threatening to strike over Chicago Public Schools' asking them to return to work, they simply don't want to go unless their terms are met. These terms do not include allowing students to return to the classroom to be properly taught. CPS is making plans to open schools with or without teachers.

After the 11-day teachers strike ended in 2019, Chambers said that the fight was not over. She said the union would continue "fighting for justice."

She spoke about her interest in "participating in continuing the fight for our Black and Latino students and continuing the fight for Black liberation overall." It's unclear how vacationing in Puerto Rico while denying black and minority students an education is liberating for anyone other than Chambers.

Chambers has a long history with the more activist elements of the union, including the #RedforEd movement, which has socialist roots, and advocates for a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states blue, using the the education system.

In 2019, Chambers traveled to Venezuela on behalf of CTU, to provide support for the socialist regime of dictator Nicolas Maduro.

Chambers was part of "A delegation of members from the Chicago Teachers Union" who traveled to Caracas, Venezuela. "Their goals were to learn what they could from Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, exchange views on effective education and to show solidarity with the students, teachers and social movements of Venezuela."

That "delegation sat down with Vladimir Castillo, the Venezuelan Director of International Affairs. They learned that Chavez started to talk about socialism in 2005, at the World Social Forum in Brazil, and that a few years after 2007 and 2008, community councils emerged as a result."

Richard Berg, one of the other CTU delegates, said in an interview with The Orinoco Tribune that "We are interested in show solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the Venezuelan people and at the same time we want to interact with Venezuelan labor union leaders with focus on teacher unions to learn from them how they have counter US sanctions and to inform them about our recent victories in the US, like the recent strike CTU organized in Chicago."

In March, the Chicago Teachers Union passed a resolution to oppose US intervention in Venezuela. The Marxist-Leninism Today provided the details of that resolution.

Local Chicago network WGN reached out to both Chambers and the Chicago Teachers Union. Neither responded to WGN’s request for comment about the vacation, but Chambers has limited her social media settings.

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