Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children.
I warned them.
But they didn’t listen.
Early on I said that Senate Bill 7 would lead to no good end.
Ken Swanson, then President of the IEA, and Audrey Soglin, who still to this day goes around claiming Senate Bill 7 is teacher led reform, pronounced it as a national model.
I said, “no, no, no.”
Senate Bill 7 was the work of Jonah Edelman, his corporate reform group Stand for Children, and all those who wanted to bust teacher unions.
But it was designed and targeted for states like Illinois.
These union busters knew that folks like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and their Tea Party Republican allies in the state legislatures could take care of business with a frontal assault on collective bargaining.
But Jonah and those in groups like Democrats for Education Reform needed a special union busting pill for states like Illinois and Massachusetts with Democrats in power.
Senate Bill 7 was the pill for Illinois.
And the IEA and the IFT swallowed that pill with a glass of corporate reform kool-aid.
Why are collective bargaining rights a good idea?
Because collective bargaining works.
Oh sure, sometimes you have a board of education that has their own separate agenda and it leads to a strike. That happened to us in Park Ridge back in 2003.
If both sides are willing to engage in the give-and-take that is collective bargaining, then it works.
If you take away collective bargaining rights, you inevitably create problems. There is no way to work out your differences.
So, when Senate Bill 7 created a new threshold for strike authorization and limited the right to strike to salary and benefits, it didn’t take being a genius to have predicted a strike in Chicago.
Both sides even say that they are close to an agreement on money issues. But the problem is that if the CTU leadership says okay to the salary and benefits that the board has offered then negotiations are over because the board can refuse to discuss evaluations, job assignments or class size. That’s the law.
So Jonah Edelman, the smart-ass boastful corporate school reformer, who thinks collective bargaining is the problem, created the very conditions that provoked a strike.
For a quarter of a century there hasn’t been a strike in Chicago.
Now we have Senate Bill 7 and we have a strike.
And really some credit has to go to Ken and Audrey too.