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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.
[to top of second column in this letter]
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
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.
President of New Holland-Middletown Teacher's Association
January 07, 2011]
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