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Former Chicago Teachers Union Leader Karen Lewis Dies at 67

HeadlineFeb 09, 2021

In Chicago, the former president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, has died. She was 67 years old. Lewis had been battling brain cancer since 2014. She stepped down from her position at CTU due to her health four years later. This is Karen Lewis in a 2010 interview with Democracy Now!

Karen Lewis: “I don’t think anybody will argue with that, that the system is broken. It has not basically changed since the 1900s — 1800s, for that matter. And as a result, it has never been able to absorb real innovation. And the problem is it’s just a lot easier to test, test, test children. Our curriculum has narrowed in Chicago. If you look at the average day for an elementary school kid, it’s reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, reading, math, math, math, reading, reading, reading, reading, math. I mean, kids are bored to tears. They’re hating school at an early age. There’s no joy. There’s no passion. And the results show that.”

Karen Lewis’s death comes as some 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union vote today on whether to approve a plan to return to in-person learning during the pandemic. Union members have been on the cusp of striking over coronavirus safety concerns. Click here to see our interviews with Karen Lewis.

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