UPDATE: 44 comments including a Tribune editorial and an email from SFC founder Jonah Adelman
Del Valle Calls for Thorough Examination and Discussion of Bill, Rejection of Measures to Limit Collective Bargaining
CHICAGO (December 20, 2010)--Mayoral candidate and Chicago City Clerk Miguel del Valle made the following statement on Monday in response to the proposed Performance Counts Act of 2010, a draft of which has been commissioned by Stand for Children Illinois and Advance Illinois. The Performance Counts Act is likely to be fast-tracked to a vote in the General Assembly in early January 2011. The sweeping proposal includes measures regarding teacher tenure and dismissal, performance evaluations, collective bargaining, and strikes.
I strongly urge leaders in Springfield to reject any bill that limits teachers unions' right to bargain collectively.
The so-called Performance Counts Act of 2010 would limit teachers unions' right to strike in the State of Illinois. While there can be no doubt that a strike must always be an absolute last resort, a strike ban in effect impinges on teachers' bargaining rights, and therefore must be rejected.
As Ken Swanson, president of the Illinois Education Association, said recently, some of the proposals of this bill, if enacted, will "create a relationship that will turn collective bargaining into collective begging." Such a relationship will be harmful not only to our teachers, who are entitled to fight for a fair contract, but to our children.
Let's be clear. There has not been a work stoppage for teachers in the City of Chicago since 1987. To me, that says the current law regarding teacher strikes works, and that this proposal is unnecessary. We cannot allow a measure on the books which is not only unneeded, but is designed to effectively intimidate teachers away from fighting for a just contract.
The Illinois House Education Reform Committee wants final legislation within the next couple of weeks and ready to be enacted when the General Assembly convenes in Springfield in early January. This is simply not acceptable. There are several aspects of this proposed bill that merit much more discussion.
Any bill that substantively changes the way teachers are treated in the state of Illinois must be considered thoroughly and completely, not rushed through without full input from all stakeholders involved. This should not be forced through in the final days of the 96th General Assembly.
If the bill goes forward in this way, I will continue to voice my strong opposition to it, and as Mayor, I will work to see it changed.
Chicago is home to some of the finest teachers in the country. Now is not the time to scapegoat our teachers for the problems our schools are facing, but rather to work in collaboration with them to find the best, most effective solutions possible for our children.