I understand the retirees’ frustration with the IEA. That frustration ought to be shared by all active members because some day, they too will be retirees.
Besides, many of today’s retirees are also active in the fight to save public education from the school reform grifters. They may not be in a classroom anymore, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve severed all ties with their former careers.
Doesn’t IEA’s leadership understand that there is strength in numbers? It’s simple math: All actives + All retirees = greater strength. What I don’t understand is the IEA leadership’s siege mentality and shortsightedness.
The organization’s stubborn support for Cullerton’s SB 2404, even when it was clear that it was setting a terrible precedent, that it was unconstitutional, that it was “DOA,” that a majority of Illinois’ lawmakers were untrustworthy, more than boggles the mind. Was the IEA leadership so overwhelmed by John Cullerton’s threats and intimidation? If that were the case, the leaders could have learned a valuable lesson from the IRTA.
The IEA’s support for Kirk Dillard, the Republican candidate and Illinois’ leader of ALEC, against Rauner in the Republican gubernatorial primary was very poor strategy which even outdid its support of SB 2404 on the stupidity scale. This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking. At the time, a number of us were very critical of IEA’s support for Dillard. The IEA threw $4 million precious Dollars down Dillard’s rathole that could have been used to fight Madigan’s SB 1 or to support non-Madigan Democratic candidates for the General Assembly. The $4 million could have been used productively instead of wasting it on a character like Dillard who wouldn’t have done things much differently than Rauner.
I don’t write this to disparage the existence of the IEA. On the contrary, an organization like the IEA is absolutely necessary as a countervailing force against today’s moneyed interests that seek to harm public education and as an advocate for the interests of teachers (active & retired) and students. The IEA leadership would be far more effective if it would overcome its siege mentality and shortsightedness to lead us in the fight against those who want to wreck public education and destroy our retirement security.