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When it comes to unions and Fair Share, Governor Private Equity brings out that don’t-tell-me-what-to-do spirit.

March 29, 2015

Bruce Almighty

When I was the President of the teachers local of the IEA I would get a half an hour out of new teacher orientation to sign up new teachers to union membership.

I would give a little history of teacher unions and of the IEA’s long 125-year history.

I would discuss member benefits.

Most importantly I would talk about union solidarity and the spirit of we-are-all-in-this-together.

All that was missing would be me breaking out my ukulele and singing a chorus of Solidarity Forever.

And I would have if I thought it would help.

Union membership is voluntary. If a teacher wants to be a member of the IEA than they have to sign up and agree to dues deduction.

If they don’t want to join they don’t have to.

But according to Illinois law they have to pay an agency fee. It is what is known as Fair Share.

Because whatever benefits they have – from salary to health insurance to working hours – they have them because we in the union bargained it for all of us.

Fair Share is a pretty good name for it.

Governor Private Equity hates unions.

It’s not just me who says so. Read Rich Miller in Crains.

Get him on the topic of unions and he becomes a fanatic.

Rauner particularly hates government employee unions. He never misses a chance to poke those unions in the eye. 

He doesn’t listen to advice or reason. Just days after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan declared his local “right to work” plan illegal, the governor asked local governments throughout the state to pass a resolution supporting his proposal to allow those governments to strip teachers, firefighters, police and other employees of the right to bargain for wages and benefits.

Back to my union recruitment story.

Most years everybody signs the membership form.

But every once in a while you come across one person who says no thank you.

“You have to pay an agency fee,” I would tell them. “If you join you get to vote for local leadership and for our bargaining team. But not if you’re Fair Share.”

Nothing would change their mind.

Some folks are just like that. God bless ‘em.


But thanks to Governor Private Equity those folks are joining the union like crazy.

Rich Miller:

When Rauner issued his executive order to seize fair share fees on Feb. 9, there were about 36,000 state employees in AFSCME’s bargaining units, the union says. About 3,700 state employees paid fair share fees.

Wanna guess what happened after Rauner went on the attack?

Well, between Feb. 9 and March 20, as he was making speech after speech attacking unions, more than 1,400 state employees joined AFSCME, union spokesman Anders Lindall says. Over a thousand of those new members were fair share payers before Rauner launched his assault, Lindall adds. 

So the governor’s rigid ideology and constant attacks backfired when a thousand people decided to side with the union instead of the governor who claimed to be their champion. 

Ever “unfriend” somebody on Facebook because of their constant goofy rants? That’s kind of what happened here, only it’s the governor we’re talking about and the stakes are much higher. 

Governor Private Equity.

Best union organizer we could ask for.

Chicago 10th Ward debate.

March 29, 2015


Sunday posts, pics and tweets.

March 29, 2015


The crowd outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office as parents, teachers, and students rallied for public education. (Photo: United Federation of Teachers/ Facebook)

The oligarchs who run Chicago don’t want to consider the unthinkable — at least not publicly.

When the results of Pearson high stakes tests determine which schools are shut, which teachers and administrators are fired, which teachers and admins will receive their certifications, defines the students that are “college and career ready”…  the content on of those tests becomes a priority in schools.  As the stakes for Pearson’s standardized tests rise, so does its stock price.   It will not matter if curricula is aligned to the Common Core, all that will matter is the curricula is aligned to Pearson. LacetotheTop


Setting aside a psychological examination of why Alderman Fioretti felt it necessary to tear into two students about a bus shelter, there are at least two disturbing “take aways” from this story. First, it’s a bit disheartening that an alderman elected to undo the unresponsive tradition of politics in the 2nd Ward felt free enough from consequences to treat any constituent or citizen so unprofessionally. Is the real reason that things haven’t changed all that much in Chicago after the 2007 elections not the strength of the political machine but the complacency of those who worked so hard to elect and then neglect supposedly independent aldermen? Second, if there ever was an argument against the gigantic white elephant that is the 2016 Olympic bid then it has to be the fact that we’re putting up $500 million of public money for it while we have a $400 million dollar budget deficit and six bus shelters would break an alderman’s budget. And by the way, that $500 million isn’t even close to how much it will cost to even run the games: estimates range from $2 billion to $3 billion just for the two week event and London’s already shelled out $1 billion for security for the games in 2012. Setting aside ideological battles over the free market, it does seem somewhat ridiculous that the students were encouraged to raise private money to build the shelter. Does this mean we’re moving towards a municipal order in which University of Chicago undergraduate students get a bus shelter before their dorm is even completed while the poor and working class are condemned to wait in the rain and snow because, well, they just couldn’t find the right foundation to support them?

It seems we’re all being fiorettied and still standing agape at the sight. Gapers Block

I’m a New York City art teacher whose “effective” rating last year dropped to “developing” because of student standardized test scores — in math, a subject I don’t teach.

Yes, New York City takes Common Core math and English Language Arts test scores and attributes them to teachers who teach different subjects, even though they are not certified to teach those subjects, and even though they may never have met the tested students. Tens of thousands of teachers of science, social studies, all the arts, physical education, foreign language, technology and other subjects have at least 20 percent of their evaluation based on math or English Language Arts test results. (Because I am now required to have an “improvement plan,” I am curious to hear how teachers can improve the scores of kids we don’t teach.)
Another set of “local” tests, also out-of-subject, count for another 20 percent in thousands more cases, doubling the impact.

So I was stunned to read Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent oped in Newsday, where he seems not to know how many teachers’ evaluations hinge on state test scores, even when they teach non-tested subjects. The governor wrote:

“Interestingly, whatever percent is assigned to standardized testing will only affect a small minority of teacher evaluations as only 20 percent of teachers are in subjects and grades that have state testing.”

In New York City (and presumably most everywhere else) out-of-test-subject teachers are the majority. New York State’s district policies are all different, but New York City alone accounts for thousands of cases of teachers who don’t teach math or English but are judged by them anyway. In middle schools, it’s been estimated that over 60 percent of New York City teacher evaluations are out-of-subject. Valerie Strauss. Washington Post

My dinner with Rahm.

March 28, 2015

Fred Klonsky:

In 2012 I had dinner with Rahm. It wasn’t planned. It just sort of happened. This was before the teachers strike. I wrote this post after it happened. I thought this might be a good moment to repost it. Those who are sensitive about such things should know that I drop the F bomb in the post.

Originally posted on Fred Klonsky:

Nothing captures the change that has taken place in my neighborhood over the past four decades more than the restaurant Lula.

We  think of it as our neighborhood place. You can get the world’s best BLT there for lunch and it won’t require you to take out a mortgage to do it.

Dinner is a little different. Lula has a cafe menu of regular items and constantly changing specials that can set you back twenty bucks for an entrée. Not cheap, but not crazy expensive either. It is one of those local food, sustainable, organic places that are easy to make fun of, but Lula actually makes really good food.

Living in the neighborhood means that you don’t quite notice that Lula is not a neighborhood place anymore. It is what they call a destination restaurant. It draws customers from around the city.

Including the Mayor.

Last night we…

View original 444 more words

What some think this election is about.

March 28, 2015


Is the Hinsdale board now investigating high school senior Marissa Dupont

March 28, 2015


The Chicago Tribune editorial board praised Hinsdale South senior Marissa Dupont.

We hope the members of the Hinsdale South Class of 2015 will learn from the example of their student council president — not from the adults who tried to silence her.

Who tried to silence Marissa?

Hinsdale Tea Party District 86 board member Claudia Manley.

Manley verbally assaulted Marissa who was handing out flyers for opposition board candidates outside a school event.

Bob Bland, a wealthy funder and campaign manager for the incumbent board members who are up for election on April 7th went to the internet and the media and labeled Marissa “a tart.”

He later claimed he meant it in the Shakespearean sense. Or a baked treat.

This would all be somewhat funny if not for three things.

Marissa Dupont, a student, was verbally assaulted by a sitting board member.

Students are now forbidden from handing out anything during or after school. Even in front of the school.

District 86 Superintendent Bruce Law has hired an investigator.

The investigator will look only at whether board policy regarding on-campus behavior by an individual was violated, Law said Monday.

An individual?

What individual? If the individual whose bad behavior is being investigated is board member Claudia Manley then why not say so?

I’m concerned it might be Hinsdale senior Marissa Dupont who is being investigated.

“Obviously the complicating factor here is the parent also happens to be a board member and the board is my employer, so I am in a very difficult situation,” Law said at Monday night’s board meeting.

The person Law is talking about is Claudia Manley.

When Claudia Manley assaulted Marissa Dupont she wasn’t acting as a Hinsdale parent. She was acting as a board member.

If the board is paying for this investigation  then it isn’t independent. The investigator is working for the board. It is the board investigating itself.

This is what I see:

A right-wing board member verbally assaulted a student who was legally handing out flyers for an election.

Then the Hinsdale board invented new policies that violate students constitutional rights of free speech.

Then the Hinsdale superintendent hires a firm to investigate whether an unnamed individual violated school district policy.

I smell a rat.

The individual being investigated may be Hinsdale senior Marissa Dupont for all we know.

Man. Politics in the City ain’t nothin’ compared to this stuff.

I am a candidate for IEA Retired delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly.

March 27, 2015


I am a candidate for IEA Retired delegate to the National Education Association Representative Assembly. It will be held in lovely Orlando, Florida the first humid week of July.

To be elected I must come in no less than tenth out of 30 good folks who are also running.

To vote you must be a current member of IEA Retired.

It is not enough to be an Illinois retired teacher or a member of another retired teacher organization.

Only current IEA Retired members will receive a mailed ballot.

I received mine today. They are mailed bulk, so the date you get it may vary a bit.

The completed ballot must be received in Springfield no later than April 22nd to be counted April 24th.

If you are a current member of IEA Retired and do not receive your ballot by April 10th, contact the Springfield office.

IEA Retired members will also receive a ballot for Member-at-Large to the Council of Retirees.

It comes separately and must be mailed back separately.

I recommend our S.O.R.E. chapter member Jack Tucker.

If you are a current member of IEA Retired and you want someone to represent you at the national convention of the NEA and you support my views of what schools and our union should look like, I would appreciate your vote.

And the votes of everybody you know.

Otherwise, no hard feelings.


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