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IEA, Race to the Top and the Illinois budget crisis.

January 12, 2011

Both Arne Duncan and the IEA leadership have some responsibility for the current budget crisis in Illinois and its impact on school funding. The increase in the state income tax doesn’t really address this part of the problem.

When Pat Quinn established a committee to write Illinois’ application for Duncan’s Race to the Top grant, a committee that was chaired by IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin, it included a number of programs that came with a cost. In addition, the proposal made statewide changes in the way teachers would be evaluated, linking our evaluation to test scores.

While the state did not receive the Race to the Top grant, the programs were adopted by the legislature and the bill has come due.

Any money that might have gone to other education programs must now compete with the ones Arne Duncan demanded and the Illinois committee led by the IEA proposed and got adopted.

Jim Broadway addresses this in his State School News.

Education “reforms” with high fiscal impact were enacted last spring to bolster the state’s application for a federal RTTT grant. The grant didn’t happen, and the cigarette tax aimed at generating $375 million to pay for the new programs also failed.
But the reforms remain to compete with existing programs for limited funds.

You won’t read about this in IEA President, Ken Swanson’s description of the last days of the 96th General Assembly.

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