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July Advocate

July Advocate

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Published by: Illinois Education Association on Apr 12, 2010
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See President Ken Swanson’s personal message, p.3 View photos from your efforts, pgs.12-13
|July 2009
, Volume 5, Issue 4,July2009
is published five times annually by the IllinoisEducation Association-NEA. Send correspondence to:iealistens
ieanea.org or IEA Department of Communi-cations,100 East Edwards Street,Springfield,IL 62704-1999.The IEA-NEA 
(ISSN #1540-482X) is theofficial publication of the Illinois Education Association-NEA as a benefit of membership. A non-member sub-scriptionisavailableat$10peryear.Periodicalspostagepaid at Springfield,IL.
The Illinois Education AssociationNEA’s mission is to effect excellence and equity in public education and to be THE advocacy organization for all public education employees.
Ken Swanson
Robert Blade
Vice President
Cinda Klickna
Jo Anderson
Executive Director
Charles McBarron
Director of Communications
Bonnie Booth
Interim Media RelationsDirector
Sarah Antonacci
Communications Specialist
Mark Ritterbusch
Graphic Designer
Denise Ward
Administrative Assistant
Linda Rice
Christina Williams
Postmaster:Send address corrections to Illinois Education Association, attn: membership processing, 100East Edwards, Springfield, IL 62704-1999
Use your membershipcard to save $$
Just log on to the IEA website at
,scrolldownandclick on the membership card iconto begin saving today!
Use your membershipcard to save $$
apologizes for inad-vertentlyleavingthenameofKatherineCummingsof the Wilmette School District off the list in theFebruary Advocate of the teachers who attainedNational Board Certification in 2008. Congratula-tions, Katherine, on your hard work!
In this issue 
Technology in the classroom
Educators across the state have come up with innovative ways to use today’s technology toinspire their students and each other.
New Trier ESP service project
Educational Support Professionals in New Trier decided to do something different for their serviceproject this year and opted to collect pajamas and flip-flops for U.S. troops and school supplies fora needy school in Chicago.
Collaboration was key
The Springfield Education Association worked hand-in-hand with both its members and the district to come upwith a plan for a seven-period school day at the high schools, a project that got overwhelming support.
Teacher retires after 55 years
ArceliaWatsonspentmorethanfivedecadesteachingandnowsheplanstoembarkonanewcareer.Read more about this inspirational woman.
A victory in Hinsdale
Score one for the IEA legal team and retirees of the Hinsdale schools. An arbitrator ruled this springthat the district could not reduce, or cut off, retirees’ insurance benefits.
Lobby Days
Like never before, IEA members turned out in droves not only to the official May 6 Lobby Day inSpringfield, but to their legislators’ offices and e-mail inboxes to make their messages clear.
Jo Anderson bids farewell to IEA
Before Anderson left his position as executive director of the association to head to Washington to join Obama’seducation team, he listened to concerns of some IEA members.
The association is losing decades of experience as of June 30 when several dedicated staff members leave.
You’ve got a friend
Southern Illinois has a thriving new teacher induction program and is hoping to see it grow.
Mentor/Mentee Program
The program that pairs future teachers with retirees celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
It’s a wrap
The155thIEARepresentativeAssemblywasheldinMarchinRosemontandthe1,500inattendanceplayed host to a variety of homegrown politicians.
Beyond Illinois’ borders
For the first time ever, an IEA chapter is starting outside the state. A group of retirees has organized in Floridaproviding a home away from home for IEA members.
In every issue 
Ken’s Commentary
IEA President Ken Swanson reflects on this year’s legislative session, how IEA members worked together to makethings happen and contemplates what still may come.
IEA sponsors Lincoln hat. Scholarship winners announced. SIUE educator wins award. Illinois teacher wins topNEAaward.TeutopolisESPsorganize.Helpforcopingwithtraumaintheclassroom.Region12holdslogocontest.Update on Bloom High School teacher.
www.ieanea.org |
 I’m writing this just days
afterthecon-clusionofthespringlegislativesession.As I reflect on the last few months I amamazed, appalled and inspired by allthathappenedbetweenGov.PatQuinn’smid-March budget address and theMay 31 adjournment of the GeneralAssembly.In the budget address, Quinn an-nouncedthatallStateUniversitiesRetire-ment System and Teachers’ RetirementSystem participants would be asked topay 2 percent more of their salaries to-ward pension contributions and futureparticipants would receive lower bene-fits. In addition, he proposed the pen-sionsystemsbeunderfunded(again)bybillions of dollars.IEA went on the offensive immedi-ately to stop those proposals, but weknew our chance for success was slim.Afterall,inadifficulteconomy,thepub-lic is unlikely to come out strongly insupport of education employee pen-sions.Thiswasafightwewouldhavetowage on our own.What the governor and key legisla-tors didn’t count on was how you, themenandwomenwhoaretheIEA,wouldrespond. This spring brought about anunprecedented mobilization of mem-bers, leaders and staff in a coordinatedstrategiccampaigntoachieveclearlyar-ticulated goals which were to:
Preventadditionalcontributionsfrom active members,
Stop a two-tiered benefit plan,
Pass a budget with a tax hikesufficienttofundeducationandother essential state govern-ment services to prevent anever-ending struggle over toolittle revenue.Thousandsofyoulobbiedlegislatorsat home during their spring break. Youcontinued to make a difference. Youwere getting their attention. Your mes-sages to the governor’s office were be-ing heard.
By Lobby Day on May 6, IEA mem-bers had generated sufficient pressureto cause Quinn to announce he waspullingthe2percentaddedcontributionoff the table.However, he also restated his com-mitment to a two-tiered pension plan,saying: “There
be a two-tiered pen-sionplan.”Meanwhile,thousandsofyouwhocouldnotbeinSpringfieldthatdaydelivered messages back home.We then hit the airwaves with astrategically targeted message regard-ingourinabilitytoreceivefullSocialSe-curitybenefitsandremindingIllinoisansthat we have always made our pensioncontributions.Youcontinuedtorespondto the call to engage your legislators.The growing numbers of IEA membersanswering the call to action were beingheard.When I testified in committee in op-position to the two-tier proposal, eventhe sponsor acknowledged in subse-quent debate the irresponsible under-funding of pensions “which we arehearing about every day on the radio.”Meanwhile, the thousands andthou-sands of messages you sent continuedtoimpactlegislators.Itbecamecleartoleaders their caucuses WOULD NOTsupport a two-tier pension bill thisspring. So, the issue was shifted to a“pension modernization commission”forfurtherstudywithrecommendationsdue in the fall.Finally, the budget. The Senate ap-proved HB174 also known as 750. Thiswas an historic move forward for sys-temic school funding reform and ade-quatestaterevenue.Itincludedpropertytaxreliefintheformofadoublingofthepropertytaxexemption.Alas,theHousefailedtovoteonthisbillafterrejectingaless comprehensive tax increase pro-posal.Thiswasagreatdisappointment.Legislators waited until the finalweekend of regular session on May 30-31tovoteonabudgetthathasbeende-scribed as a disaster for the state. Asbad as that budget is, public educationavoided Draconian cuts and PENSIONSARE FULLY FUNDED.During the legislative session, IEA,workingwithIFTandotherlabororgan-izations, prevailed in every goal exceptthe tax increase. But, that battle is notover.AsIwritethistomeetourpublica-tion deadline, the conversations be-tween the governor and legislativeleaders continue and may yet lead to atax increase and budget that is right forthe state. At this point, it also appearsthat the efforts to impose a two-tieredsystem on future education employeesare still alive.Regardless of what happens in thecloseddoornegotiationsduringthesum-mer,youhaverewrittenthebookonhowIEA responds to a legislative challenge.The cooperation and collaborative ef-forts between and among departments,fieldandheadquarters,governanceandstaff, leaders and members, is unprece-dented.And,Ibelieve,it’sablueprintforhow we move forward. I’ll have more tosay about that in our next edition.This took the best of all of us work-ing together for our common good,which sounds remarkably like what aunionissupposedtodo.IfanyoneisstillwonderingwhatIEAisdoingabouttheseissues, the answer is pretty clear. YOUare the IEA and YOU made victory pos-sible.Ihaveneverbeenproudertoserveas your president and have never beenmoreexcitedabouthowwecanbuildonour success.

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