Update: Reformers Swing At Springfield (Again)

11oped_1-articleInlineWhile we're all focused on a handful of consolidations and whether kids should be allowed to bring their own lunch to school there are big things going on statewide that might be more important.  First and foremost among these is the effort to revamp the state evaluation and tenure process for teachers, and the possibility of a strike ban being adopted (and a longer day for CPS) - a mixed bag of improvements and pet issues whose ultimate form is not known.  There was premature word of an agreement on Friday (see Jim Broadway here) -- angering Kimberly Lightfoot (she called them "immature").  This could go either way, it seems, and the deadline is Friday.  Lots more resources below.

There was a pro-labor protest over the weekend in which Stand's role in vilifying teachers was highlighted (PI).  
The NW Times describes the meetings and players that are currently battling behind the scenes (Education reform plan could come soon). 
Progress Illinois describes the issues and objections from teachers groups and the issue of cost (Anti-Strike Language A Key Pivot Point).
Want to know more about Stand For Children?  Watch this Fox Chicago interview from Sunday with boyish Jonah Edelman, Josh's younger brother.   
Stand For Children's IL PAC brought in $3.5 million in the last quarter of 2010, setting it up for even more influence in the upcoming months (School "reforms" on horizon). 
Substance describes a meeting at which Stand's Chicago director Etoy Ridgnal seemed to be stuck for answers (Stand for Children loses debate)
For the full staff of SFC IL see here.

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  • Delgado speaks out against proposed pilot school voucher program

    SPRINGFIELD, IL-Illinois State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) is
    urging his colleagues to vote against Senate Bill 1932, a pilot program
    that would allow the State Board of Education to hand out school
    vouchers.

    "There have been recent articles concerning a similar program in place
    in Milwaukee, Wisconsin," said Senator Delgado, Chairman of the Senate
    Public Health Committee. "After being in place for 21 years, their
    program has not produced any better results than that of public
    schools."

    According to the Journal Sentinel, "Students in Milwaukee's school
    choice program performed worse than or about the same as students in
    Public Schools in math and reading on their most recent state-wide test.
    This was the first time an achievement comparison had been done between
    public and individual voucher schools."

    Under the pilot-program proposed in the Senate, parents could request a
    voucher from the State Board of Education, which could be redeemed at
    participating non-public schools. The voucher would be redeemable for
    the cost of tuition up to the amount that CPS receives per student in
    General State Aid. This program would only cover youth in the Chicago
    Public School System and then only those in the lowest-performing 10%
    and most overcrowded 5% of Chicago Public elementary Schools.

  • Here are some of the ideas for further pension reform that legislators are discussing in Springfield, that would impact current CPS employees: 1. Reduce the multiplier for pensions (i.e.currently 2.2%) to a lesser number. 2. Increase retirement ages or tie retirement age to an outside indicator, such as social security (i.e.62 years old or higher). 3. Eliminate early retirement options (i.e.55 years old). 4. Eliminate retiree health care programs. 5. Create an actuarial formula for survivors pensions (reducing the survivor retirement proportionately the longer the member lives).

  • At one time the pension was funded entirely by money with held from teachers' paychecks: I believe it was 7 1/2% of salary. When Jane Byrne was mayor and the teacher contract was up for renewal, Mayor Byrne and the CTU (Jackie Vaughn)agreed to an have the city replace with city funds most of the contributions that teachers were making. This arrangement was phased in over several years in place of a raise. This arrangement continued until Mayor Daley took control of the public schools and declared a "Pension Holiday" and the city did not make it's contribution. In effect the Mayor placed an IOU in the pension fund, since these funds were in actuality a negotiated raise. This practice has continued until the present. Now the Mayor claims that the teachers are selfish and are trying to bankrupt the city when they ask for those IOU's to be honored. We should have just continued to fund our own pension and kept the city out of it.

  • Dear retired h.s., THANK YOU!

  • Retirement

    Well it is not all that it is cracked up to be. I miss the kids and my fellow teachers
    But will adjust to this. What I am not willing to adjust to is all the drama about my
    pension. I earned every penny in my pension. When did people suddenly decide
    That pensions ate going to bankrupt the state. Was it when the city went on pension
    holiday 16 years ago? Or perhaps when the state failed to put in their share of
    the money ? I know for 41 hard years my pension contribution was deducted from my
    Check. if the powers to be back out of the deal now the bitterness and feeling of
    abandonment felt by retirees will be chilling. I would also like to know which politicians
    are prepared to serve jail time like the Enron people, or Mr.Madeoff. Because it is beginning
    to seem like the pension was one big Ponzi Scheme.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Bob, I agree!

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