“I have observed unfortunate things.”

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IEA’s President Cinda Klickna championed Senate Bill 7.

Dear Fred,

I have observed unfortunate things happening to long time friends who are still employed as teachers. One of them is the (in my opinion) criminal abuse of evaluation by some administrators Evaluation being used not as a tool to improve instruction, but as an instrument of social control within a school.

My friends must comply or face unemployment. There is no discussion or appeal. It is “My way or the highway”. Whatever happened to shared governance?

These evaluations have become a bludgeon used to compel compliance. Compliance to the instructional dictates and management practices of some building administrators who care little about ill effects those dictates and practices might bring. How sad.

Evaluation as a weapon can be linked in large part to the sellout of tenure in Senate Bill 7. Senate Bill 7 was championed by the I.E.A., as I remember, to show that teacher “unions” were willing to go along with “improving the profession” through the removal of tenure.

I never understood how removal of due process could be considered an improvement, but those wanting to “reform” education did, and the I.E.A. went along and actually supported adoption of this bill.

Now the I.E.A. hails the arrival of E.S.S.A. as another great accomplishment, even though it does nothing to fix this evaluation sellout of Illinois teachers. A sellout the I.E.A. supported so they could climb on the “reform bandwagon”.

No attempt to try to fix their mistake is evident in this federal legislation. Are these organizations missing the boat again? Dues paying I.E.A. members should expect better from their leadership. Ignoring the obvious will not help. These leaders need to be put to pasture.

-Hugh

6 thoughts on ““I have observed unfortunate things.”

  1. Still waiting for the IEA presidential preference survey results…Bob? Charlie? Cinda? “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”

  2. Shared governance? That has been gone for so long I am not sure I even remember it. After you castigate teachers, convincing the public that we are a bunch of nutters that need to be controlled in every way, then the instrument of control is put in place – charters, administrators, the wealthy with their educational policy think tanks, etc. Teachers are ignored because they have been found lacking by the PR dept.s of the rich. So, shared governance? No more.

  3. “Unfortunate things” is a drastic understatement!! “Getting rid of” good teachers via phony “evaluations” is downright criminal. SB7 as it was originally passed called for 2 consecutive “needs improvement” evaluations to throw teachers under the bus. It did not define a time frame for “2 consecutive”. An outstanding art teacher who had taught for decades and was a couple years away from retirement found herself suddenly targeted. A new, rabid pit-bull principal saw her as an expense that he could eliminate. He chose her only because she was at the top pay scale, no other reason. Near the end of the school year, he barged into her classroom for an unannounced observation/evaluation, giving her bad marks. Then, just days later, he repeated his actions, giving her another phony bad evaluation. He then sent out the yearly layoff notices to everyone, and later when the recall notices were sent, she did not get one. The IEA filed grievances and lost. This teacher has been financially devastated ever since, burning through her 403b and home equity to pay her bills and medical insurance. When she finally is able to retire, her pension will be lower then it would have been, forever. In addition to the lower pension and depleted 403b, she will have decades of payments on her previously paid-off house. The remaining teachers get a clear message from the school board. “Look at what we did to one of the best teachers, with decades of seniority, with no just cause. The union couldn’t protect her, they can’t protect you either. You will play along to get along, or you too will be gone.” The high price of “a seat at the table for the IEA”.

    Speaking of “unfortunate things”, while the IEA/NEA is busy backing Clinton, Rauner is trying to cut the state contributions to the retired TRS teachers health insurance, saying “these people never really worked for the state”. If Rauner gets away with this, it is estimated the cost to retirees will DOUBLE! The unions need to fight this starting right now!

    http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/retired-teachers-oppose-rauner-insurance-plan/article_0cf7068e-0410-5fa7-954c-1f84e2f2cf05.html

  4. Dear Anonymous,
    Don’t expect any real help from unions regarding teacher evaluations or retiree benefits. If the past is any example, there is no help coming. Look at those poor teamster retirees getting their pensions cut in half. See unions doing anything? Do you want that to be our future?

    Some would argue that Senate Bill 1 (supported by the I.E.A. and other labor organizations until embarrassed into resistance by the I.R.T.A.) was not much of an accident or mistake at all. Remember all the “shared sacrifice” and “seat at the table” talking points?

    It was entirely possible that groups like the I.E.A. saw continued payment of retiree benefits as a competitive threat to active worker benefits. With Senate Bill 1, the trade was to “take already earned and owed benefits from retirees to reduce costs. Active workers can then get more or lose less.

    Senate Bill 7 was in some ways similar to Senate Bill 1. It was another “trade”. Active worker right to fair evaluation and due process were traded away. I.E.A. leadership did this to claim that they were part of the “reform process”. Active workers got sold down the river.

    Little effort or thought seems to have been given to the plight of rank and file active workers or retirees by the I.E.A. in either situation. Maybe that is why I.E.A. has an attitude that members are only supposed to pay dues, be seen, but never heard. Any questioning or dissent is immediately branded as “disloyal”.

    Perhaps the I.E.A. likes working conditions after the passage of Senate Bill 7. It has created a management” enemy” that no teacher could ever confront alone. Maybe that wasn’t so accidental either. I can just hear the comments. “See?” “You really need us!” And they were the very people who created the situation in the first place.

    Save your dues money and join the I.R.T.A.. At least they know who they represent. And they will fight for us. No “seat at the table” or “shared sacrifice” crap there. Only a promise to defend us.

    • Dear Hugh,
      I can see your points, however, I don’t think SB 7 created a management enemy. Management, in most districts, was already the enemy and has been for many decades. Teachers were defended by their contracts. SB 7 enabled the enemy, strengthened the enemy, and disarmed the IEA locals from defending against the enemy. Tenure and due process was the law, and the IEA state leaders frivolously went along with SB 7 which negated such protections even in existing contracts. This cut the locals off at the knees. It is a good idea to join I.R.T.A., along with demanding the NEA/IEA start doing it’s job. It should be a watchdog, not the toothless lapdog it is now. It is open season on public employees and retirees and Rauner is putting on his Carhartt jacket. Rauner wants to stop state contributions to TRS retiree medical insurance. He also wants to tax our pensions. Our best hope right now is defeat Dunkin and get a veto-proof majority in the house.
      Anon

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