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You are the secret weapon

You are the secret weapon

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Please take a look at this publication, which will also be mailed to your homes, and videos to see how your efforts paid off.
Please take a look at this publication, which will also be mailed to your homes, and videos to see how your efforts paid off.

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Published by: Illinois Education Association on Jul 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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    G  e  t   a  c  t  i  v  e   !
 I l l i  n  o i  s  E  d  u  c  a  t i  o  n   A  s  s  o  c i  a  t i  o  n  -   N  E   A
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  i   e   a   n   e   a .   o  r   g  t   o   s  t   a   y   i   n  f   o  r    m   e   d   o   n  i    m   p   o  r  t   a   n  t   p   o  l  i  t  i   c   a  l  i   s   s   u   e   s  t   h   a  t   a  f  f   e   c  t   y   o   u   a   n   d   y   o   u  r   s  t   u   d   e   n  t   s .
   Y   o   u  a  r  e  t   h  e   S  E  C   R  E  T    W  E   A   P   O   N  !
   P  a   g   e   2
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   I   n  s  i     d   e
Get active! 
ave you ever thought your one little voice doesn’tmake a difference? This spring’s legislative sessionshould put that idea to rest.IEA members came together to make phone calls, sende-mails, fill out postcards, to personally speak with legisla-tors and those efforts turned what looked like it could be ableak time for education and educators in this state intosome significant wins.In January, the IEA asked you to call and send letters tolegislators asking them to oppose TABOR, a proposal thatwould have cut education funding; to refuse any reductionin collective bargaining rights; and to support educationreform in the form of Accountability for All, a proposaldeveloped by IEA, IFT and Chicago Teachers Union to giveeducators a voice in any changes.And, thousands of you responded. Each of those battleswas won.In March, we asked you to contact legislators and askthem not to support a voucher bill. It died.In May, in response to an attack by the Civic Committeeof the Commercial Club of Chicago and others on workingpeople’s pensions, you sent 15,000 postcards to legisla-tors, crafted 45,000 e-mail messages to legislators and, inconjunction with members of other members of the WeAre One labor coalition, made 90,000 phone calls to lawmakers.You won that battle, too. And that was no easy battle towin.Check out an article from the May 23 Springfield StateJournal-Register:
“But Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, an opponent of charging more for benefits, said the bill faces serious prob- lems among Republican members.‘I think Representative (Raymond) Poe had the best com- ment on that. He says, ‘If you don’t have any teachers in your district, then go ahead and vote for change,’” Brauer said. “To change somebody’s pension after they’re hired iswrong.” 
Your hard work, in combination with the hard work ofIEA’s Government Relations and other staff members,made a huge impact on this session.“I think the best thing (about working the pension issueat the Capitol) is when a legislator says to you that yourmembers have been calling him nonstop and starts men-tioning names and you think, I know that person,” said WillLovett, IEA lobbyist.“There is power in numbers. If they are seeing this levelof intensity about a certain legislative issue, they expectthat intensity on the political side, too. As (state Rep.) BillMitchell (R-Forsyth) said: ‘Will the public remember in 2012that we reformed pensions, or will the 2,000 teachers in mydistrict remember that wereformed pensions andshow up at the polls?’”Kent Redfield, profes-sor emeritus at theUniversity of Illinois atSpringfield, said the factthat the IEA buddied upwith other labor unions,including AFSCME, IFTand others on variousissues this legislative ses-sion was helpful, too,because the organizationswere able to poolresources for ad cam-paigns, expertise, supportand other useful items.But, he said, one of themain reasons IEA was sosuccessful this legislativesession was because ofits members and theirvocalness.“Every one of thosephone calls and personal letters and conversations is avote,” Redfield said. “You can’t accomplish any legislativegoal you have personally unless you get elected. Effectivegrassroots, that’s something that lawmakers really takeinto account.”Jim Reed, IEA’s director of Government Relations, saidhe understands that it’s easy for people to put out of theirheads what happens in Springfield. It often seems distant,unrelated to what people are doing in their daily lives.In reality though, he said, what happens in Springfielddirectly impacts IEA members’ lives.“There are things, for instance, education reform andthe pension issue, that directly impact you and your life,”he said. “These are important issues. They impact the workyou do in your classroom, who you work with, how teach-ers get dismissed.”Reed said he’s proud of IEA members and the collectivestrength they showed this session. And, hesaid, that collective voice will be neede
din the months to come because educa-tion has become a key issue everysession in recent years.“Continue doing what you’redoing. Expand your personal con-tact with legislators because it has,can and does make a difference.”
15,000 po
stcards • 45,000 e-mail messages • 90,000 phone calls
Exclusive at
JULY 2011
he IEA, Illinois Federation of Teachers and theChicago Teachers’ Union joined forces this year tohelp craft education reform in Illinois that promis-es to do more for students while protecting educa-tors’ rights.The result: SB7, which contains the most significant,bold and comprehensive reforms in education in morethan 40 years.First, here’s a little history. Last fall, an Oregon-basedgroup called Stand for Children came to Illinois, pumped abunch of money into political campaigns, raised evenmore money and vowed to reform education in this state,coming up with a proposal that would have eliminated col-lective bargaining rights and the right to strike, amongother things.House Speaker Mike Madigan deemed the proposal allbut passed. This work was being done during theDecember holiday break, when it was assumed educatorsweren’t paying attention.But there were a couple major flaws with that plan.One, it didn’t include any educators’ ideas, opinions orexperience. Two, educators were paying attention.IEA, IFT and CTU refused to go down without a fight.They partnered together and using ideas the IEA had longago come up with as a format for changing education inIllinois as a basis, came up with an independent plan forreform, “Accountability for All.”The introduction of “Accountability for All” slowed theprocess down. The state legislature appointed a commit-tee, led by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), whereall the entities involved in public education were able tocome together and hash out a plan that better serves students, takes educators’ experience into consideration,will keep the best teachers in the classroom and ensureteachers’ voices remain strong at the bargaining table.Highlights of the legislation include:
The retention of collective bargaining rights, includingthe right for teachers to negotiate with their employersover issues of class size, curriculum and other areas thatimpact student learning and success.
Maintaining the right to strike for both Chicago anddownstate teachers.
Consideration of teachers’ years of experience when mak-ing decisions to fill vacancies.
Establishment of new RIF procedures for teachers out-side Chicago that establish a “performance tier” systemdesigned to keep the most effective teachers in the class-room.
Changes in tenure to ensure the best new teachers aregranted tenure within a reasonable timeframe.
Tenure portability.
A streamlined dismissal process while maintaining dueprocess rights.
Training to improve school board member performance.
A teaching and learning conditions survey to provide educator input in every building.
Action on teacher certificates for chronically low-per-forming educators and administrators.All of these are very important to IEA members andtheir work in the classroom. There is much more detailedinformation on the IEA website, including several videos at
.You can also login to the “Members Only”section of the website at
where you will be able to find detailedQuestion and Answer documents and otheritems that further explain the changes.
IEA, IFT and CTU refused to go down without afight. They partnered together and using ideas theIEA had long ago come up with as a format forchanging education in Illinois as a basis, came upwith an independent plan for reform,“Accountability for All.”
Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Kimberly Lightford and IEA President Ken Swansonapplaud the signing of SB7.

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