Friday, January 31, 2014

Questions my media friends need to be asking

President Obama -- You've often called education, "the civil rights issue of our time." Where do you stand on Civil Rights Movement hero James Meredith's call for an American Child’s Education Bill of Rights?

IFT & IEA leaders join in applause for passage of SB7
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel -- You're standing up with Colorado teachers in fighting back against SB191, a bill which makes teacher evaluations based mainly of student test scores and has led to the firing of 100 teachers without due process.

But when nearly identical legislation in the form of SB7 was passed in Illiinois, again with support from Dems who took Stand For Children money, you along with IEA Pres. Ken Swanson, hailed its passage as a national model of collaboration. Explain please?

Barbara Byrd-Bennett -- How's your threats and intimidation strategy against parents and students working for you?

Mike Madigan -- How can you reconcile your latest $1.5 billion gift to the corporations with your support for cutting the pensions of state retirees?

Donnita Travis -- We understand that God revealed his vision to you for starting the By Your Hand Club. Did he [she] also advise you to apply for your By Your Hand Charter School?


  1. Just to point out that CURRENT IFT President Dan Montgomery on the left is also applauding SB7 - and lobbied for it. Swanson is gone, but current IEA President Cinda Klickna also supported and supports the bill. IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin (along with Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman wrote the law. They ALL have a lot to answer for.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out Fred. I should have also mentioned, that's Robin Steans in the center. The Steans family heiress is the head of Advance Illinois, the group that actually crafted SB7. Steans went on to heap praise on the IEA and IFT leadership for their "collaboration" on the bill and then attacked Karen Lewis and the CTU for withdrawing its support for SB7.

  3. oh, by the way -- the NEA says that your comparison between IL and CO is incorrect, which is why they still support the IL and are opposing the CO


  4. Thanks to education gadfly Alexander Russo for pointing out the inconsistency in the NEA's position and for carrying water for the NEA leadership as they try to defend the indefensible.

    Russo tries, in his own clumsy way, to piss on the fire set when IEA leaders helped write and pass SB7. After all, he blogs, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." He actually bungles Emerson's quote which goes, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

    But he's only wetting his own pants. I'm certainly not a statesman, philosopher (well maybe) or a diviner. I'm not asking the NEA for consistency. In fact, that has been the problem all along. Van Roekel has been consistent in his defense of legislation and contracts which base teacher evaluation mainly on student test scores. This is precisely the part of those union-backed agreements that is being used to fire teachers in Colorado, D.C., California, New Jersey and elsewhere.

    I'm especially thankful to Russo to getting NEA lawyer O'Brien to reaffirm the leadership's continued support for SB7, the union-busting bill that was passed in IL with lots of big-money backing from Stand For Children and union-hating billionaire candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner. It's been very difficult to get current IEA leaders to talk about SB7, for obvious reasons.

    No, Russo, there's nothing foolish or "small minded" about the consistency of rank-and-file teachers' hatred of SB7 or SB191. Atty. O'Brien should suing them both. Her statement merely point out a distinction without a difference.

  5. As a delegate to the 2012 IEA state convention (Representative Assembly), I was there when Executive Director and co-author of SB7 Audrey Soglin was directed by an overwhelming vote of the delegates to make a report to the 2013 RA on the "negative impact on teachers" of SB7. While Soglin did make a report, what it was based on was a mystery to most. And no recommendations came out of it. That reports remains buried in some dusty closet at the Springfield HQ of the IEA. But the vote of the delegates in 2012 spoke volumes as to what Illinois classroom teachers thought. And nothing about that has changed (in fact, it has only gotten worse), including the IEA leaderships attachment to SB7.

    - Fred Klonsky

  6. I don't get Russo's point. Is he saying, it's wrong to compare the two bills? That's absurd. They may not be identical, but they certainly have a lot in common. But why is he even speaking for the NEA?


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