Thursday, March 27, 2014

A retired educator speaks out. Quinn steps up.

No vote was taken yesterday on the bill to abolish the state's ALEC-initiated Charter Commission. Maybe today. Word is that we need 3 more votes. Still time to call senators: Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin) - (847) 214-8864 Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) - (773) 463-0720 Senator Dan Biss (D-Skokie) - (847) 568-1250

Thanks go out to John J. Garvey, a retired Chicago public school teacher and administrator, for his powerful piece in Tuesday's Sun-Times, "Is this how we thank our teachers." I doubt that the pension busters in Springfield including Gov. Quinn (certainly not his billionaire political opponent Bruce Rauner) will even bother to read it. But I will share it with my students so they can enter the teaching profession, if they still choose to do so, with open eyes and a heart for struggle.

Quinn's budget speech
SPEAKING OF QUINN, of course I'm still pissed at him for signing SB1 but I liked his budget speech yesterday, calling for a spending proposal that would make permanent the 67% state income tax increase set to expire in 2015 and couple it with property tax relief for homeowners. The plan will hopefully generate enough revenue to increase badly-needed school funding. Quinn offers no real long-term solution to the budget crisis -- like a progressive taxing structure that makes the wealthiest and the corporations pay their fair share and shifting away from reliance on property taxes to pay for education -- but even this short-term patch should help keep schools open and save some teaching jobs.
"You've got to give the governor kudos for having the political courage ... to put the tax issue front and center in an election year when he knows his opponent is going to be screaming from the rafters the opposite message," said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. "
As expected, Quinn's the speech was savaged by .01%er Rauner. But for me, the most interesting attack on Quinn's budget proposal came from Sen. Kirk Dillard who, in an interview last night with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight, tried to outdo Rauner in opposing any tax increases and demanding that schools "live within their means" as a solution to the state's budget crisis. Dillard is calling for a billion-dollar cut in Chicago's education budget and for the "scrubbing of Medicaid rolls".

Remember, this is the guy, the man from ALEC, who narrowly lost to Rauner in the Republican primary due in large part to the help he received from the state's unions. They stuffed $3 million into Dillard's war chest and urged union members to cross over and vote for him. He's also the guy that IEA leaders are still calling a "friend of education." What?

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