My readers respond to NEA/IEA Mark Kirk love.


We learned Friday that the National Education Association and the Illinois Education Association awarded Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk an “A” grade.

I expressed my disagreement, of course.

As did many of this blog’s readers.

A sample:

Tim Furman wrote, “Kirk got the “Charter School Champion” award from the charter school lobby in 2014. (Durbin got it the year before.) The method of assigning grades based on key votes is absurd; it misses the major themes behind the work these people are actually doing. Mark Kirk is hardly the worst Republican, but any system that assigns an “A” to someone who is actively trying to privatize public education is missing some fundamental internal checks. You’ve already written about the bizarre, full-of-internal-contradiction IEA endorsements of Mark Kirk; this dumb grading system seems to be more of the same muddled thinking.”

Joan O’Malley. “Fred. The NEA & IEA sure didn’t ask my opinion. Kirk is the worst Senator in Illinois and he has been in power too long. His total conservative voting record shows no thought as to serving the people of Illinois. I hope Tammy Duckworth defeats him this time. His handicap is unfortunate but that is no reason to vote him into office again. I think he is a destructive influence in Congress.”

Anonymous. “Kirk also came out supporting Rauner and Rauner’s plan to destroy SEIU and AFSCME in negotiations with state employees. There seems to be 2 sides to the NEA, the “union” side and the “we are not a union, we are an association” side. This comes from many decades of teachers not being allowed collective bargaining in most states. In some states, it is still a criminal offence for a teacher to go on strike. If a teacher strikes, they are not only fired, they lose their certification and have an official misconduct record. This makes it very hard to get a teaching job anywhere. It is from this sort of history that the NEA “non-union” side tries to tread lightly. They probably did not even notice Kirk’s vicious attack on public sector unions. Meanwhile, the “union” members are sandbagged by this endorsement of someone that supports outlawing fair share and wants to eliminate meaningful representation of teachers and other public employees in Illinois. Sort of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. They either don’t know or they don’t care.”

Glen Brown. “About 4 ½ years ago, Illinois Senator, Mark Kirk, also agreed with Newt Gingrich and advocated for a law that would allow our state to declare bankruptcy, even though state bankruptcy would invariably rob public employees of their contractual right to an earned pension (”

9 Replies to “My readers respond to NEA/IEA Mark Kirk love.”

  1. so fred? you going to vote for tammy? i know she got shoved down our throat, but i would rather have her be our senator than kirk or anyone else running!

    Michael Gaylord James Do good in the world; the world needs all the good you do

    1. My dear pal Mike,
      I think you may be confusing two things. Who I vote for is one question we can discuss. I’m certainly not voting for Andrea Zopp. But the issue I posted about is who my union endorses and awards “A” grades to. Like when they endorsed the state chair of ALEC, justifying anything as right to stop Rauner, no matter how bad that “anything” might be.

  2. Perhaps this type of nonsense is why, to many of us, especially those of us from the Chicago Public Schools/CTU, the NEA/IEA are simply not relevant and have never been relevant. They fail to reflect or even consider the views of their members. Giving Mark Kirk a grade – how ridiculous to give grades much less seemingly endorse a Republican who votes the party line – on his body of work makes no sense. To me, the NEA/IEA lost its way decades ago.

    1. Barb,
      With 120,000 members state-wide and one of the largest political action bank accounts in the state, the IEA is wrong on most issues but very relevant. And the CTU makes up about a third of the IFT. Recall that the IFT, the IEA and the rest of the state’s public employee unions bought into Cullerton’s bill that would have cost current and retired teachers plenty and undermined the pension protection clause of the state’s constitution for Chicago teachers as well. Recall also that the IEA and the IFT both supported SB7 which changed the strike authorization threshold for the CTU to 75%. Chicago is no island when it comes to the damage that the IEA mis-leaders have caused.

      1. I agree with you, Fred. I think we are saying mostly the same thing, that the IEA is not a reflection of the majority of its members and that it has done more harm than good. And I think even Karen Lewis admits that supporting SB7, done when she was very new to the games in Illinois, was a huge mistake.

        I think that for suburban teachers, the IEA, IFT, etc. are more important day to day but in Chicago, the CTU rules that roost. So Chicago teachers are/were more aware of the CTU than of the statewide orgs. I know that the CTU is part of these organizations but it seemed that they did not affect our lives that much. Perhaps I am wrong about that point.

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