Tim Furman notes a rare vote from House Speaker Madigan.
My state Representative Will Guzzardi’s testing opt out bill seemed to have more setbacks than last years Bears defense.
A week or so ago it seemed to be headed for a committee graveyard.
But parent and teacher activists didn’t give up.
Raise Your Hand and More Than a Score mobilized their activist base to call, email and travel to Springfield.
Did RYH’s Wendy Katten and MTS’s Cassie Creswell rent an apartment down there? It seemed like it.
Yesterday the House came through and voted overwhelmingly to pass HB 306 with both Democratic Party and Republican votes, sending the bill to the Senate side of the Capitol.
I watched the debate on live streaming. While some observers praised it as a genuine policy debate, I was once again shaking my head, listening to so many of these politicians display such total ignorance on a issue they were about to vote on.
It brought back memories of my discussions with them about pensions.
It is rare for so many to have the power to make decisions that impact people’s lives and know so little.
Outside of the U.S. Congress.
As someone who has spent a lot of time having face-to-face sessions in Springfield lobbying on a range of issues, this comes as no surprise.
To his credit, Will Guzzardi calmly repeated the same truth to the same repeated questions.
“No, this does not encourage parents to opt out. It simply codifies their rights.”
“No state has been penalized by the feds, and the feds have been less than forthcoming in saying whether they have the right to penalize a state.”
In the end the vote was 64 to 47 in favor of the Guzzardi bill. It was the first bill Guzzardi introduced after he was took office in January following his defeat of the incumbent Toni Berrios, daughter of the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios.
He ran for the Assembly seat promising to work for a progressive agenda.
Chicago’s Democratic Party African American legislators could be found on both sides of the issue.
Several took to the microphone to express concerns over how the confluence of over-testing and lack of funding, services and technology put their constituents’ children at a disadvantage.
The House Democratic majority’s leadership was also divided.
Hyde Park liberal Barbara Flynn-Currie, who is House Majority Leader, voted no.
Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan, who rarely votes on a bill at all, voted yes.
Teacher unions were also divided.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers supported the bill.
The Illinois Education Association, which voted to support the concept of opting out at our state Representative Assembly, took no position on the Guzzardi bill, but voiced concerns over threats to funding and threats to teachers who might face disciplinary measures for advocating for opting out.