Illinois Education Association leadership is neutral on parent opt out bill HB306.
Dear Cinda Klickna,
On Wednesday, March 25th I will be representing our S.O.R.E. IEA/R chapter at a Lobby Day in Springfield for HB306 organized by the parent groups Raise Your Hand and More than a Score.
As you know, HB306 is authored by my State Representative Will Guzzardi. It is aligned with the position of the NEA as adopted at last year’s Representative Assembly in Denver.
It supports and clarifies parental rights as they apply to opting out of the PARCC and other high stakes tests that are misused to evaluate teachers and students.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia has traveled the country speaking eloquently about toxic testing.
I have been in contact with Jim Reed who has informed me that the IEA has moved from a position of opposition to HB306 to a position of neutrality.
Would it be possible for you, Cinda, or someone you designate, to meet with me and some parents to discuss why HB306 should be supported?
We are taking Amtrak and should arrive in Springfield around 10:30 AM and we are returning on the 4:00 train to Chicago. We are flexible as to a time that is convenient to you.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
– Fred Klonsky
President, Skokie Organization of Retired Educators IEA/R
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately, I will not be in Springfield on the 25th. I will be in DC representing IEA at the NEA Foundation meeting. The Foundation has provided IEA with significant monetary grants in the last few years.
Thank you for scheduling meetings with legislators. I hope that the issues of funding, pensions, etc., will also be addressed.
Regarding the opt-out issue, the NBI passed at the Representative Assembly was partly due to two provisions that are applicable to many states, but not to Illinois:
* The standardized test is used for the majority (or even all) of a teacher’s evaluation
* The student/school test scores under NCLB are used as punitive measures for the school
Again, the difference is that neither of these provisions is applicable to Illinois.
In Illinois, the standardized test cannot be mandated to be used in an evaluation unless the joint committee agrees to it.
In addition, the test in Illinois, due to the waiver from the Dept. of Education, cannot be used to bring punitive measures against schools.
Opt out is a tricky issue. It is important to remember that parental rights are cited with regard to many controversial issues in addition to testing. For example, Gov. Rauner and other proponents of charter schools and vouchers also cite these parental opt-out rights from public schools.
We believe the best course at the present time is to remain officially neutral on this particular proposal. Many legislators understand that is our view.
Instead of taking a position on opt-out, we have pushed for relief in another way. I hope you are aware of House Joint Resolution 0054. We were involved with the drafting of the resolution, which ends with this:
“…for the 2014-2015 school year, through the 2017-2018 school year, we encourage school districts to not use results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test as a determining factor for making decisions about a student’s educational opportunities, the evaluation of educators, and the allocation of resources based on educational achievement on this assessment.
I believe this is in committee this week.
I hope I have answered your questions. See you in Rosemont.