AM News: House Approves Ed Bill - Now What?

image from webmedia.newseum.orgLawmakers Pass Education-Overhaul Bill, Despite Union Objections  WSJ: The measure is one of the most far-reaching overhauls of teacher tenure and bargaining rights in a state where Democrats control both the legislature and the governor's office... Illinois House approves education reforms but cuts school funds Tribune:  The wording is unclear whether employees who don't vote in union elections could be counted... State House sends school reform bill to governor's desk Sun Times:  In Chicago, no strikes could occur until as long as 120 days after the dispute goes to a special panel... Education overhaul sent to Quinn's desk WBEZ:  Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis helped write the bill, but she says unions essentially had a gun to their head... Sweeping education changes sent to Gov. Pat Quinn Clout Street:  Currie said she would push follow-up legislation to address CTU's concerns if there is an agreement reached among the various players... Illinois school reform passes and the kids win Tribune (editorial):  We wish it prohibited them from striking altogether -- it's hard to enact reforms when your so-called partners reserve the right to walk off the job -- but suddenly the strike language was a deal-breaker... Education reform comes to Illinois Sun Times (editorial): The bill will open the door toward improving the one thing schools can control: the quality of the teacher in every classroom. STAND FOR CHILDREN EMAILS BELOW

show details 7:21 PM (13 hours ago)
Performance Counts - A common sense solution to build better support for Illinois schools

Dear friend,

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: 


Contact: Kathy Roeder (202)

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:

Reforming tenure

  • 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 to learn more Stand for Children's advocacy efforts around the country.


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  • Ninth inning
    To read the papers the people of Illinois just won a sweeping victory for all
    the school children. There have always been two different school systems in
    Illinois and I am not sure mine has won anything.
    While it is nice to gloat over the misery of others this law will gut the Chicago
    Public Schools. Fifteen SPED students in instruction classes will condemn the
    teacher to no progress and the kids too little learning. What about the teachers who have paid
    for the cost of caring by burning out? Now they can just be dumped on the ash heap of life.
    Mark my words this bill will lead to rampage., ruin, and the final destruction of the
    hated Chicago Teachers Union. From these ashes will emerge new reforms because
    everything Springfield did yesterday will not help one kid get a better education. A longer
    school day will just mean more misery for those sentenced to a classroom at the top
    of Bowen on a hot day. A longer year only serves to keep the great unwashed out of
    the loop during the summer. Finally ,when the schools are used as holding pens to keep
    down the murder rate Chicago is in serious trouble.

  • here's what CTU is calling for:

    SB7 Passes: Call Your Representatives and Urge Them to Support Changes that Will Protect Our Bargaining Rights
    CTU engaged in negotiations over Senate Bill 7 in good faith. However, there were proposals on the table that would have eliminated our right to strike, imposing penalties from exorbitant fines to the decertification of CTU if we did so. President Karen Lewis was able to fight off this language.

    Although the most egregious language was taken out of the bill, two provisions need to be changed.

    Removing the amendment to section 12b. As currently written, this amendment would remove the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board

  • monique davis says the law won't make a difference

  • emanuel is already saying that this is a national model

  • You better believe we will remember these betrayals.

  • In reply to QuietObserver:

    We need the general Colin Powell

  • In reply to QuietObserver:

    Will there be a trailer bill for SB7?

  • In reply to chijas:

    RP, I want to know this too. The CTU website is just frustrating -- want us to call reps to support the changes, but no info on whether or not a trailer has actually been written or submitted.

  • In reply to chijas:

    nice to have mike klonsky mad at someone else for a change -- and he is *pissed off*

  • As to the thoughtful question about the IB middle and high school program helping poor kids. Providing access for low income students to programs like AP and IB seem to better prepare them for college are are a good idea if the IB and AP classes do not become a fraud and the students are given extra support. But other programs that attempt to prepare poor high school students like the Advancement Via Individual Determination program in Chicago discussed in the May 11 edition of Education Week seem not to have much of an impact.

    For students with ACT scores 16 and below regardless if these students experienced more difficult course work they need remedial support, meaning they have to take non credit course work once entering college. Most four year colleges are simply not interested in that. It seems that students with ACT scores from 17 to 20 benefit the most from basically knowing college expectations.

    IB and AP course work blows most students with disabilities out of the water, there are a few exceptions. So my impression is this more difficult course work is positive for those students graduating with a little better than CPS average ACT scores but below what is called the college ready benchmark of a composite ACT score of 20.

    As to CPS creating ghettoized self contained special education classrooms with teachers being overwhelmed. I have seen this happening at certain schools well before SB7, usually the principal of the school really does not put up much a fight for more support for these students and the special ed teachers in them when it does happen. There are some principals who wage war with the central office over these classes and get more services for the students and use their title 1 money to help the situation too. These good principals are sadly becoming fewer and fewer due to retirements. Unforunately there have always been principals that viewed these self contained rooms as out of sight and out of mind. Younger principals seem fearful of rocking the boat, but I am sure there are exceptions.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Mr.Estivan

    The example I gave of fifteen students in instructional classes is not a example of what will come.
    That is occurring right now. I shutter to think what will become of these SPED kids in the

  • For someone who doesn't care about Rep. Davis' opinions, you sure devote a lot of bandwith to discussing her. Yes, I'm laughing at you.

  • You're right. Glad I'm not an old teacher, good or bad. It's all about the money for sure...and I am about to clean up.

  • Dear Anonymous 1:50

    Please put down the crack pipe for a minute and get a grip on reality.
    You are assuming that the Chicago Board of Education has only the best
    Interests of children in mind. That is a false presumption based on the extremely
    Effective propaganda put forth by the Boards information bureau, and the near
    criminal compliance by Chicago

  • I think the argument that no one will go into teaching now, or that only the lowest common denominator wil, is simply not true. (and besides, given that a large portion of teachers come from the bottom third of their graduating class, how much lower can we go????) There will always be people willing to go into teaching. Always. Young women, and a handful of men, hoping to make a difference in the world will do so. However, I do think many will not stay. Presently we have about a 50% retention rate. I could see that becoming a 35-40% retention rate.
    We will have people who will stay and continue to teach simply because there are no other jobs. Why would someone leave a 70K a year job (and I am not saying that is a LOT of money, it is an adequate amount of money to raise a family on) to go work at starbucks, if one can even get a job there part time at $11 an hour?
    I am planning to go teach in the suburbs or to a private school as soon as I can, even if it takes 5+ years to do it. Biding my time. I am not willing to chance it that my kids may not get into one of the 5-6 high schools in Chicago that I find acceptable. I don't have a problem with the teachers in the other 90% of CPS high schools, but I do have a problem with the students there and their unsupportive and checked out families.
    I am only willing to send my children to a high school where respect for authority is required (and those who do not follow the rules are removed) and where the great majority of students are either headed to university, trade school or some other successful life path. CPS seems unable to provide this at the high school level unless you happen to have a perfect entrance score and or live in the "right" tier and can get a spot at one of the top 5 schools. I am not betting my kids' future on CPS. Nor am I going to put them under the pressure to be flawless. As soon as we have the chance, we are leaving.

  • There is no way you can be a teacher in CPS...what the hell do you think we believe and work towards daily if not student growth? This lowering of the vast majority of good teachers into the lowest denominator of the ineffective minority is such a tiresome and misleading rant. So come up with a better plan to get rid of the few who should not be teaching, but don't pretend that this legislation is not about getting rid of more senior (more expensive) teachers. In the real world of schools, it is those who are protected by tenure who are free to advocate for students. That is about to be lost and students will suffer for it.

  • Correct
    The worst schools have the true pro

  • I am sitting here in Springfield having coming up from the bar watching the Bulls game with other lobbyists and several members of the General Assembly. Right now getting ready for bed because I have to be at the capital at 8am. I read through every post and the first thing that struck me was I saw there where teachers who were ready to hang it up, yet for what ever reason still refused to use their real names in their posts, I find that odd. If you are really packing it in I think it makes a much more powerful statement to use your real names. In that situation you have nothing to fear but fear it self.

    I have to actually talk to members of the Assembly, they know who I am and the ones who know about education, and particularly about special ed, know pretty much what I think. I try never to personally trash members of the legislature no matter how much I disagree with them, what is the point really? Mike Klonsky can tell the GA in mass to F off, he really does not have to deal with this reality. I can also tell you all most members of the GA are tired of hearing about CPS, their endless problems, etc, etc. If Mr. Emanuel will deal with the place then God bless him is the general opinion here from non- Chicago members of the Assembly and from some members in the city.

    As to the special education teachers who are experiencing very little support for their students in self contained settings and who apparently are learning very little because of these conditions have the families call me, I will be happy to get a lawyer for them. But here is what I have to say to these teachers if a case from your room goes to hearing you have to testify to the truth, you have to admit on the witness stand these children are not receiving a free appropriate public education. Most CPS special education teachers even if critical of CPS privately are evasive on the witness stand out of fear for their jobs. Any one can find me at Access Living and some of you have referred cases to me, in most situations CPS comes to a settlement agreement with the family with litigation, but occasionally things will go to hearing that is when special education teachers really do need to suck it up and put themselves on the line. We cannot win cases for these children if teachers become part of the machine. I have always protected the names of principals and teachers who have gotten families to contact me at Access Living that is a guarantee

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    FEAR- False evidence appears real!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    There are cuts to early childhood non-special education in both the House and Senate budgets, there are also cuts to general state aid. The cuts to be honest are less than expected, the two versions no have to go to conference to split the baby in half. CPS has not been down here fighting against the cuts, and the CTU has been focusing on SB7 and pension issues. There are also pending bills that could change teacher certification to a process called Licensure starting in 2013. This bill is house amendment 2 to SB 1799, which was a shell bill. I did not read it until today it is 238 pages long and to be honest even I do not fully under what all the implications of it are.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    We (the Raise Your Hand Coalition - a parent group made up of parents from over 400 CPS schools) have been attemping to fight the cuts. If anyone wants to send an email via our campaign, just go to We are also having a rally to oppose the cuts at the Thompson Center on May 24th at 4pm.

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