PSAT for Tuesday, 12-21-10: Call for slowdown in teacher rules changes

Make the callThere isn’t even a bill number assigned to this mess, but a new committee of our Illinois House members made it clear in Aurora last week that they plan to push through some major legislation by January 11 that will create new work rules for all teachers in the state.

What’s the hurry? Speaker Madigan apparently thinks there has to be tough “accountability” measures in place to appease the Republicans so that they can then almost immediately enact some funding reform. So, teachers’ tenure, right to strike, and other job protections are the price legislators are extorting in order to do what they should have done a long time ago but have been too concerned about their own job protections to do.

Legislators are home now and no doubt would appreciate a phone call from you to explain that it’s unfair and irresponsible to rush a vote on a still-unofficial legislative proposal with questionable educational merit. Last Tuesday I asked you to e-mail the committee members – this week, it’s important to call your own state rep to make sure they do not and will not support the anti-teacher Performance Counts bill.

That proposal was commissioned by Advance Illinois, a front group for local corporate interests, and Stand for Children, a front group for Bill Gates, which has just moved into Illinois with its carpet bags and a huge election war chest. Not so surprisingly, it contributed generously to the campaigns of several members of the new House Ed Reform Committee, which I guess is what bought them that special seat next to AI’s Robin Steans at the Education Reform Panel table.

Of special interest is that mayoral candidate and Advance Illinois board member Miguel del Valle has rejected the Performance Counts agenda.

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
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