show details 7:21 PM (13 hours ago)
Today, kids in Illinois have won!
Through seven months of intense talks, negotiations, coalition building, grassroots activism and endless hours of keeping faith that together we could build a piece of legislation that would help children in Illinois - we did it.
The Illinois House of Representatives passed SB7 by a vote of 112-1 putting this historic bill onto the Governor's desk for signature.
With the implementation of this law, two million Illinois students will receive a boost as well as hardworking, skilled Illinois teachers whose strong performance will finally factor into decisions about their retention and promotion. Everyone wins in this legislation and Illinois is now a national model for how stakeholders can work together for a common cause...our children.
Take a moment to urge Governor Quinn to sign this historic piece of legislation.
The passage of SB7 is an instrumental first step to building better schools in Illinois, but the job is not done until we make sure every child has access to a great education that will allow him or her to succeed in a 21st century economy.
I have been honored to work with you on this campaign and am looking forward to continuing to build off of this success. We have shown that working together we can achieve real progress.
Thank you and here's to building better schools in Illinois!
P.S. Please forward this message to your friends and family, post on Facebook, tweet about it - we need any and all to get involved in this campaign to build better schools!
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Friends and Supporters:
A few hours ago the Illinois House of Representatives approved sweeping education changes by a vote of 112-1-1. The same legislation passed the Illinois Senate unanimously last month and the bill is now headed to Governor Pat Quinn for his signature. A comment by Secretary Arne Duncan and Stand for Children's press release is below.
Many thanks for all you do for children,
Statement by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "Illinois has done something truly remarkable and every state committed to education reform should take notice. Business, unions, educators, advocates and elected officials all came together around a plan that puts children ahead of adults and paves the way for meaningful education reform. For some time now I have been saying that tough-minded collaboration is more productive than confrontation and this is the proof. I respectfully urge Governor Quinn to sign this quickly so that Illinois can put these landmark reforms to work in the classroom."
Stand for Children Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kathy Roeder (202) 331-0069, Kathy@BlueEngineMedia.com
Sweeping Education Legislation Promoted by Stand for Children Passes Illinois House 112-1-1
Moves to Governor Quinn's Office for Signature
SPRINGFIELD--May 12, 2011--Sweeping changes to public education in Illinois- which includes the nation's third largest public school system - were approved today by the Illinois House. The Illinois Senate unanimously approved the legislation in April.
The comprehensive package of educational reforms, known as Performance Counts, was developed and promoted by Stand for Children in collaboration with Advance Illinois and other education advocates. SB 7 was the product of months of negotiations among education advocacy groups, education management, the Illinois State Board of Education and the state's teachers unions.
"SB 7 provides a boost to Illinois students and hardworking, skilled Illinois teachers whose strong performance will finally factor into decisions about their retention and promotion This legislation puts Illinois at the head of the class nationally, and will set a standard for other states to follow," said Jonah Edelman, founder and CEO of Stand for Children.
Overwhelming legislative support for the Illinois Performance Counts agenda is among thehighlights of Stand for Children's productive legislative work all around the country. Stand for Children played a major role in developing policy and building support for teacher performance evaluation and compensation legislation in Indiana, which was signed into law at the end of April. Stand for Children is also working on teacher performance evaluation legislation in Texas, as well as education related policies in many other states. Last year, Stand for Children was instrumental in passage of significant education legislation in Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
Highlights of the Illinois legislation include:
- Ensuring tenure decisions will be based on performance evaluations by requiring teachers to earn two proficient or excellent ratings in years two through four of the probationary period, with a proficient or excellent rating in the fourth year. No longer will teachers automatically receive tenure after four years in the classroom regardless of performance.
- Providing fair and efficient dismissals of tenured teachers by streamlining the dismissal process of tenured teachers in situations related to conduct and performance dismissal decisions.
Making performance count,rather than seniority
- Allowing districts across the state to make layoff decisions based on performance before seniority. Allows districts to match teachers' qualifications to the positions they will hold and ensures that teachers with poor performance evaluations are laid-off prior to more effective teachers.
- Currently seniority is used as the primary criterion for filling new and vacant positions across the state (with the exception of Chicago PublicSchools, which already fills positions based on merit and ability). Under SB 7 school districts will now be allowed to fill positions based on certifications, qualifications, performance, merit, ability and relevant experience with seniority only used as a tie-breaker.
- If a teacher receives two unsatisfactory ratings within a seven-year period, the State Superintendent will have the authority to revoke a certificate or require professional developments.
Putting student well-being at the center of contract negotiations
- Where contract negotiations in any district outside of Chicago hit an impasse, SB7 requires that any unsuccessful mediation be followed with publication of the parties' last best offers - a move that lets the public understand what the unresolved issues are and the positions taken by each side. This transparency should help encourage good-faith discussions and let the public's views play a role in dispute resolution.
- This legislation will provide more safeguards before a strike can occur in Chicago. At the end of unsuccessful mediation, SB7 lets either party opt into a 90-day fact-finding process. An independent fact-finding panel (chosen by the parties) would evaluate the unresolved issues and render an impartial finding of fact privately to the parties. If they do not still resolve the issues, the disputes and fact-finding conclusions will be made public during a 30-day window. If impasse persists, the Chicago Teachers Union can vote to strike, and may do so only with a 75% vote of the entire membership.
Please visit www.stand.org to learn more Stand for Children's advocacy efforts around the country.