Keeping retirement weird.
Former IEA President Ken Swanson. He owns Senate Bill 7.
The truth is that I don’t like losing. It is a family trait. We are competitive.
For years my brother and I and other family members would play an annual Scrabble game after Thanksgiving dinner. It was as cut-throat and trash-talking a game as any game played in the NFL or NBA.
One year I played the word clafouti.
It’s a French fruit and custard dessert.
I had used all seven of my tiles for 50 bonus points.
But the abuse I had to take.
“Challenge me, then!’
Every year at least one member of the Klonsky family will bring up the word clafouti with a sneer.
I decided that my first attempt to run as a delegate to the IEA RA as a retiree state-wide should be meaningful. I don’t need a weekend in the Loop. A hotel room at the Hilton. There are serious issues facing teachers and retirees.
As a local union leader, I was always elected. But Retirees run state-wide.
Taking nothing away from some of the good people who ran and won, these elections are usually without substance. Or turnout.
IEA-Retired is small. 9,000 members. Remember that the IEA itself has over 100,000 members and the Illinois Retired Teachers Association has over 30,000 members.
The election turnout was around 20%.
Frankly, I think the leadership likes it small.
They do very little to build the Retired group. You can’t even join online. You have to down-load a paper application and send it in with a check by mail. Like it’s 1985. All that has changed is you don’t have to pull off the perforated sprockets from the paper when you print the membership application out.
I ran as an opponent of the leadership. That’s because I oppose them. Not just one or two things they do, but their approach to the fight. Their defensive posture. The willingness to concede too easily. Their desire to be at the table at all cost. I could go on.
And I will.
But right now running against the leadership is no way to win a state-wide election as RA delegate.
And I didn’t.
Frankly we need more young retirees to join and create new chapters like our Skokie Organization of Retired Educators IEA-R.
I even lost to former IEA President Ken Swanson.
But Swanson’s legacy is Senate Bill 7. That’s the law that took away our tenure rights and seniority rights. It tied our performance evaluation to individual student test scores and forced the CTU to get a 75% approval vote to strike. It was written by Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children along with the IEA’s Executive Director Audrey Soglin under the direction of Ken Swanson.
SB7 is his. He owns it.
And current IEA President Cinda Klickna too. She was on the leadership team at the time.
That I got fewer votes than Swanson does piss me off.
Almost as much as I pissed off my family with the word, clafouti.