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Lincoln Daily News
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Proposed law changes before the Illinois General Assembly could affect schools

New limits on state support; changes to collective bargaining rules and regulations; and education employee organizations propose education reform

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Dear Editor:

The Illinois General Assembly is considering changes in law that could alter our schools and communities dramatically in the future -- some changes for the worse and some for the better.

First, there is an ill-conceived effort called TABOR (the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights act), that could, among other things, severely limit the state's investment in our public schools. TABOR comes at a time when Illinois schools are already struggling to make ends meet. Passing TABOR would mean more cuts in programs and lost educational opportunities for students. It's not fair to them or to the community, especially at a time when quality schools should be topping our list of budgetary priorities.

Second, some legislators are proposing to repeal the very successful laws and regulations that govern collective bargaining in our schools. For more than 25 years, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act has been extremely effective in resolving disputes in schools, reducing the number of strikes in Illinois and in giving educators an effective voice in how schools operate for students. Changing it would be a step backward.

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Finally, the state's three leading education employee organizations have recently put forth a series of bold new proposals for education reform in Illinois called the "Accountability for All" initiative. Sponsored by the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers and Chicago Teachers Union, these progressive changes are focused solely on ensuring quality in our schools. They include revisions to tenure laws, streamlined dismissal procedures, improving professional development and mentoring, as well as a number of other improvements to ensure that every classroom in Illinois is staffed with a highly professional teacher and every school is staffed with quality administrators and support professionals.

Positive change in our schools is a goal to which we all aspire. Uninformed change is dangerous. Let's make the improvements we need and reject those proposals that will harm our schools and students.


Diane Bicknell
President of New Holland-Middletown Teacher's Association

[Posted January 07, 2011]

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