Mixed Feelings About Lightford

The guy at School Tech Connect has a couple of posts about Senator Lightford and some video illustrating his (and many others') mixed feelings about the legislator who was central to the enactment of SB7.

In the first post (Meanwhile, Down In Springfield) he admires Lightford (and Steans, who follows) for fighting for a restoration of education funding. "I'm sure I'll be ripping them next week when they're gutting my retirement, but tonight, well done."   See video embedded to get what he's talking about.

The followup post (Following Up With Senator Lightford) describes the downside of SB7, from his perspective: "Schooling is about to be transformed into a full-time testing endeavor as a result of "reforms" written by Sen. Lightford and her colleagues with the weird smiling-despite-gun-to-head encouragement of the teachers' unions."

So where do you end up about Lightford?  Love her, hate her?  Hope she gets primaried as punishment for pushing reforms so hard, or elevated and protected because of the hard, contentious work that she did?  If you're a teacher I probably guess that it's the former.  But it's not really super simple.  I wonder what the IEA and IFT and fixing to do.

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  • Because this blog focuses on the Chicago Public Schools we need to recognize that Sen Lightford represents primarily south suburban African American school districts that are on the verge of fiscal collapse so she is particularly passionate about the actual GSA payments to school districts. The small industrial economic employment base for some of these communities has dried up. Now that public sector employment is contracting many African American high school graduates and those with non-competitive college degrees who became part of the public sector clerical work force are being cut in significant numbers. The African-American suburban dream of home ownership in safe culturally homogenous communities in the southern and near western suburban areas is in deep trouble.

    But the reality is Sen Lightford and other Democrats have done nothing effective on the revenue side other than to propose more gaming (were tax receipts are just spreading out geographically but overall not increasing much), tobacco taxes (which always fail to meet revenue projections), and funds sweeps (which take money not spent and have the effect of causing various agencies to more rapidly spend future appropriations for fear of losing the money). Moreover, even to keep education funding levels where they are at currently the bulk of cuts have come down on human services. No one wants to take on the Illinois Constitution provisions that mandate a flat as opposed to a graduated state income tax.

    I spent some time in Springfield this session, but honestly I am deeply conflicted because the not for profit I work for has interests in funding for disabled children and adults. With the current limited pot of funds we are simply shifting cuts from pensions, to human services, to education k-12, to Medicaid, to prisons, and so on. Most thoughtful members of the Assembly are depressed about the situation and even some Republicans who ideologically support deeper cuts to Medicaid, education, and human services fear social consequences to larger society if their districts are not in very high-income areas.

    The Republicans, from those relatively isolated higher income suburban bedroom communities are happily oblivious and generally lack introspection, whereas rural Republicans do have to live with real poverty and see growing social problems in smaller communities in their districts. But Republicans are so ideologically driven that they appear to be commissars for extreme free market principles that they just argue that in the end after the market creatively destroys the old the new growth will take hold and we all will get rich. Good luck with that.

    We are in real trouble folks; SB7, charter schools, or even vouchers do not solve our state’s education and human services funding problems. Big states like Illinois, California, and New York where Alexander is holding up are in very deep trouble, but because Illinois legally prohibits a graduated income tax we are probably in the most trouble because really even if there was the will here the idea of taxing the rich is close to impossible. Welcome to the brave new world of economic decline.

    Rod Estvan

  • Call the number ASAP -follow the prompts-very simple to do...save the teacher pensions

    New post on Fred Klonsky

    888-412-6570
    by Fred Klonsky
    Word is there is deal making going on today in Springfield between GOP House Leader Tom Cross and Democratic Party Chairman and Speaker Michael Madigan over the pension bill.

    If Cross doesn't get something then he won't support the Democrat's pension bill.

    Reminder: The Democrats pension bill will force teachers to choose between a cost of living adjustment in their retirement plan and health insurance.

    Madigan believes that providing this choice makes the bill constitutional.

    No it doesn't.

    If Madigan and Cross can come to an agreement, the bill will emerge tomorrow with a number attached.

    Even that doesn't guarantee passage.

    Not all Republicans will go with it. Some Democrats will show courage and say no. Although courageous Democrat appears to be an oxymoron.

    What gives a Democrat spine is lots of voters calling them.

    1 888 412 6570. Follow the prompts.

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