IEA’s endorsement of GOP Congressman Rodney Davis. Thanks for nothing.

IEA endorsed Republican Rodney Davis to Congress.

In a letter to the News Gazette explaining the IEA’s endorsement of Republican Rodney Davis to Congress:

The Illinois Education Association, like The News-Gazette editorial board, supports the re-election of Rep. Rodney Davis.

However, your endorsement editorial may have given your readers a false impression regarding how and why IEA also came to recommend Rep. Davis.

The principle that, “Every student deserves a quality education” is cherished by the 130,000 IEA members. It guides the recommendations of IPACE, the IEA political action committee.

In order to be recommended by IEA, candidates must complete a questionnaire and meet with rank-and-file members for a question-and-answer session. The answers received, along with a review of the candidate’s views and voting record, play a huge role in the recommendation decision.

IEA is recommending Rep. Davis based on his exemplary record in office. He is a friend to public education and to the students who attend public schools.

For example, Rep. Davis showed leadership by working hard to get the Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress. He fought to have NEA-supported changes included in ESSA. We support Rep. Davis because he shares our members’ values.

IEA’s bipartisan political philosophy is longstanding and has resulted in the organization routinely recommending, regardless of party affiliation, the candidates our members consider the best advocates for students and public education.



Illinois Education Association


Republican Congressman Davis voted for the GOP tax bill which gave the nation’s wealthy a major tax break and issued a crushing blow to working class people, including teachers and college students.

Davis issued this statement after his vote:

“Today was a major first step in advancing tax reform, which hasn’t happened since 1986. This is our chance to give middle-class Americans a pay raise by simplifying and reducing overall tax rates. Right now, our complicated tax code tends to only benefit wealthier Americans who can afford to take advantage of loopholes and special interest deductions. We have an opportunity to change the lives of working Americans for the better and I hope we get bipartisan support to get this done quickly.”

Cinda Klickna retired from her post this past year.

The former IEA Communications Director is typically unresponsive.

I recently did a post about the IEA hiring a former Rauner communications aide as their new Communications Director.

In the post I reflected on the role that the former IEA Communications Director played.

The Illinois Education Association – I was a member for over 30 years – had Charlie McBarron as Communications Director.

What a piece of work that guy was.

Because I was a local union president who was frequently critical of IEA leadership I was banned from his Twitter and Facebook feeds. That his business, of course. I was also banned from having the link  to my blog ever appearing on the IEA website even while he posted links to the anti-union websites of phony news sites funded by the DeVos family foundation in Michigan.

McBarron retired this year and now the IEA has found someone even worse than McBarron – the former digital communications director for Bruce Rauner.

I would predict that IEA members should see no difference as a result of the new hire.

McBarron wrote me back.

Someone brought this reader’s comment to my attention, so I feel compelled to respond:

None of the claims made alleging a lack of responsiveness on my part are true.

None. Of. Them.

Every IEA member, active or retired, who called/emailed me during the 21 years I served the organization received a response within 24 hours, usually within a couple of hours. There were no exceptions to this policy, even when I didn’t like what the caller had to say, as the owner of this blog surely knows.

Every call was returned and every question/request was addressed. Not every caller liked the response received, but every member who contacted me was responded to. Every member.

Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.

As you can see, even in retirement, McBarron remains unresponsive.

I never even mentioned anything about whether he responded to members in a timely way.

McBarron doesn’t deny what I wrote, but rather responds to a reader’s comment who describes their own experience.

I wrote about his role in blocking and banning opposing views. What I described are specific facts.

Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.

Best wishes to IEA President Kathi Griffin for a speedy recovery.

From IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin: IEA President Kathi Griffin will be out on medical leave until Jan. 2, 2018. She will have surgery in the near future to remove a cancerous mass on her kidney. Kathi does appreciate all your thoughts and prayers but she cannot take phone calls at this time. Vice President Al Llorens, Secretary-Treasurer Tom Tully and the entire management team will do our best to fill Kathi’s very big shoes while she is gone.

Cards can be sent to Kathi at: 308 Mendon Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60193-1038.

The impotent Illinois Education Association is a day late and a dollar short on pension theft.

This is what the IEA posted on their web site today.

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 3.10.08 PM

The IEA tells its members:

Please email your state representative and ask him or her to oppose House Bills 4027 (Durkin-R) and 4045 (Currie-D), and contact your state senator to oppose Senate Bill 16 (Cullerton-D).

What they don’t tell their members is that the senate vote was yesterday and we lost. They sent out no action  message before hand.

Please contact your state representative to vote no on pension theft.

Illinois Education Association is organizing buses to the Women’s March in Washington. Info here.

From: Crawford, Tim
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2016 11:01 PM
To: AllField; AllHQ
Subject: Women’s March on Washington
Importance: High


Dear Colleagues,

IEA is looking into booking two buses to transport members, IEA staff, friends and family to Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington set for Saturday January 21, 2017. This is an opportunity for those who are interested. One bus would leave from Lombard on Friday, January 20, 2017 and the other would leave from Springfield (PDC) at 6:30 PM. We need to gauge your interest in “getting on the bus” for this event. The cost per seat is $150. If there, is sufficient interest, we will book the buses. Use the “yes/no” buttons or reply (please do NOT hit “Reply All”) to this email to show interest. Please respond on or before Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Here are the details of the plan as we know them at the moment:

Departures and Arrivals for both buses

OUTBOUND TRIPS DEPART: Friday, January 20, 2017 6:30 PM

OUTBOUND TRIPS ARRIVE: Saturday, January 21, 10:00 AM

ARRIVES AT: Union Station, DC

RETURN TRIPS DEPART: Saturday, January 21, 6:30 PM*

*BUSES DEPART 45 MINUTES AFTER EVENT ENDS or 6:30 PM, whichever is earlier

BUSES DEPART FROM: Union Station, Washington, DC


CAPACITY: 53 seats


For each bus we would need:

COORDINATOR: To coordinate with bus company, bus captains, and Women’s March on Washington organizers

BUS CAPTAINS: We need a Captain for each bus. The Captain would be responsible for taking tickets from riders, maintaining a list of riders, and making sure that all riders are accounted for.

Other information for bus riders:

WE WILL SLEEP ON THE BUS. No hotel rooms.

WHAT TO BRING ON THE BUS: You can bring bags and small coolers on the bus with food, drinks and snacks, no glass bottles and food that isn’t “drippy” (no ice cream, etc.). We suggest a small backpack for the march with food and water. Food vendors may be overwhelmed in Washington, DC so it is best to be prepared with your own food. Bring a pillow and blanket if you wish. There is a space under the bus for larger items. Your stuff will be locked up on the bus while it is parked, but take purses and valuables just in case.

WHAT TO WEAR: Layers are recommended. January is usually cold and sometimes snowy in DC. Gloves, mittens, hats, ear muffs, scarves, long undies, whatever will keep you warm, dry and comfortable.

Lord, save us from these friends of education.


Bruce Rauner appointed IEA’s Friend of Education Judy Biggert to the IELRB. What did Rauner know that the IEA didn’t?

According to WBEZ Governor Bruce Rauner is making his third appointment to the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board.

This is not a good thing. Bruce Rauner does not appoint friends of teacher unions to the IELRB. Quite the opposite.

The IELRB is charged with deciding disputes between school districts and unions.

The latest appointment is Lara Shayne, who until recently was a lawyer in the employ of the Chicago board of education.

CTU leaders have complained recently that the board is skewed against them. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the more Rauner appointments to the board, the less legitimate it is becoming.

“These appointments undermine the board,” he said.

A previous Rauner appointee to the IELRB is Judy Biggert.

Rauner didn’t appoint Biggert to the IELRB because he thought she was a friend of teacher unions.

Even though the leaders of the Illinois Education Association thought she was.

According to Jim Reed, IEA’s director of government relations, the group has nothing against Mr. Foster but trusts Ms. Biggert, a former local school board member, as a longtime friend.

“We’ve been with Congresswoman Biggert since the first time she ran in 1993,” said Mr. Reed, citing her opposition to vouchers and other pro-union positions. “She’s been a great ally. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Not only did the IEA and NEA endorse her (“recommend” in the language of the IEA) but in 2007 gave Biggert the IEA Friend of Education award.

So, what do you think? Did Bruce Rauner appoint Biggert to the IELRB because of her pro-union position, as the IEA claims, or to undermine the independent role of the IELRB as CTU VP Jesse Sharkey fears?

I’ll go with Jesse Sharkey’s concerns.

This friend of education thing that the IEA and the NEA do is getting ridiculous.

Recall that last summer the NEA gave Republican Senator Lamar Alexander its Friend of Education award.

Lord, save us from these friends of education.

When it comes to school funding formula and special ed the IEA ignores its own Legislative Program.

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Democratic State Senator Andy Manar.

As I have been writing, Democratic State Senator Andy Manar wants to change the state school funding formula with no new revenue. He wants to pay for it by cutting special education categorical grants to school districts and make them block grants. Categorical grants mean the money must be spent on special education students. Block grants move the money into the district’s general fund. the money can be spent on anything.

Why doesn’t the Illinois Education Association oppose SB231?

Their membership wants them to. At least that is what the delegates to the IEA’s Representative Assembly wants them to do when they adopted the IEA’s Legislative Program.

State Funding Plan 

All of Illinois’ students deserve the same access to learning opportunities, level of commitment, and 
economic support. School funding should be based on a per-pupil amount equal to that of 
the wealthiest districts in the state. Additionally, district-by district variations in state funding 
should be based on district wealth, tax effort, student population, accurate Title I weighting, and other 
factors that might otherwise restrict equal access to free and appropriate education.


All categorical 
grant funding and education reform mandates should be funded at 100% of established levels. To 
achieve these goals, money should not be taken from one district in order to subsidize other 
districts or from one program to subsidize another program.


Funding Priorities 


When state revenues are declining, the Association supports the following priorities for funding state 
education programs:

General State Aid, including an increase in the poverty grant formula.
Average Daily Attendance (ADA) Block Grant.

Mandated categorical programs such as special education and transportation

Early Childhood Block grants.

The IEA is officially neutral on the bill, even though it contradicts the IEA’s own legislative agenda.


I have heard that the Government Relations department, the lobbying arm of the IEA, recommended that the organization oppose SB 231 but were overruled.

Who can overrule IEA Government Relations?

Only the executive leadership: President Cinda Klickna, Kathi Griffin and Al Llorens.

That’s how democracy works in the IEA.

On the issue of racism, the IEA has work to do.


Gina HarKirat Harris, newly elected member of the NEA board of directors from Illinois.

The restructuring plan that would reduce the numbers of members of the IEA board of directors was shot down at this weekend’s Representative Assembly.

The restructuring plan was two years in the making, I was told.

Gina Harris, newly elected member of the NEA board of directors, said to me that she did not believe this was the best use of IEA time and organization.

And she expressed serious concerns about the inclusion of IEA members of color in the development of the proposal and the impact on members of color if the proposal had passed. Would the reduction of the size of the Illinois state board of directors reduce the number of directors of color?

“I went back and forth on this whole restructuring thing in my own mind.”

What Gina does not go back and forth about is getting experienced IEA members of color better represented on committees and in shifting the focus from time spent on restructuring proposals to time spent on organizing proposals.

Nearly a year after the NEA RA decision to make institutional racism a focus of the entire union, Illinois leadership had yet to take any action until the Human and Civil Rights Committee introduced a New Business Item at this RA  – nine months later.

The IEA HCRC, of which Gina is a member, brought up the issue of institutional racism and offered an NBI that passed. It directs the IEA’s training center to incorporate the issue of institutional racism in all membership training.

“I’m concerned about organizing and I’m concerned about relationships,” Gina told me.

Ironically, the HCRC’s New Business Item was followed by the rejection by delegates of an NBI calling for nothing more than a campaign of awareness about the use of racial stereotypes in school mascots, offered by delegate Louise Stompor. It was voted down with virtually no debate.

Only 13% of the RA delegates were members of color.

Today, Eric Brown, a member of the NEA Executive Committee sent me a copy of a model school board resolution on removing the Confederate flag from school buildings.

This has been the single thing that the NEA has done, to my knowledge, in response to my New Business Item 11 on the Confederate flag that was passed following the longest debate in the history of the NEA RA.

“We have work to do,” Gina Harris told me.

IEA’s Cinda Klickna hails victory of Stand for Children’s legislator.


The night I yelled at Christian Mitchell (center) at The Hideout for stealing public employee pensions. The IEA gave him $35,000 for his latest campaign.

In an email letter from Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna, two names stick out.

One name sticks out for being included.

One name sticks out for being absent.

Says Klickna: Tuesday’s election results underscore what we’ve said many times: ‘Our opponents might have more money, but they don’t have what we have – people!'”

Well, true enough.

But one IEA endorsed candidate that got plenty of IEA money also got plenty of Stand for Children money.

“Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, defeated Jay Travis in a rematch of their 2014 contest,” reports Klickna gleefully. 

State Representative Christian Mitchell is the single largest recipient of campaign contributions from Stand for Children in the legislature, as far as I can tell.

He might even be considered Stand for Children’s personal State Representative

Mitchell has received over $160,000 from Stand for Children and $35,000 from IPACE, the IEA political action fund.

For those who don’t recall, this is not the first time the IEA and SFC have worked together. They also worked collaboratively on Senate Bill 7 which limited teacher tenure and seniority rights and undermined teachers’ right to strike.

This kind of endorsement and expenditure is one reason that I have left IEA Retired and no longer contribute to IPACE.

What isn’t mentioned in Klickna’s email is the bang up job they did for their chosen presidential candidate.

Three weeks ago Hillary Clinton had a 20 point lead in Illinois in the polls.

But with IEA and Illinois Federation of Teachers’ support and money, that lead nearly disappeared. Clinton left Illinois with a 33,000 vote victory out of over a million votes cast. Plus one more delegate than Bernie Sanders.

It may seem that frequently an endorsement from these guys is the kiss of death.

Just ask Pat Quinn.

Too bad it wasn’t true for Mitchell.

NEA/IEA go bird dogging for Hillary.

That survey NEA members may be receiving in their email?

The one you didn’t get before the NEA made their early, no-strings endorsement of Hillary?

It isn’t for the purpose of getting membership guidance or direction.

They were bird dogging for Hillary.

If you are an old precinct worker like me then you know what bird dogging is. One person goes knocking on doors to find out who your voters are. That’s bird dogging. And then on election day (or sooner now that we have early voting) you make sure your identified voters get to the polls.

From IEA Government Relations Director Jim Reed:

From: Reed, Jim  

Subject: NEA Member survey

We want to let you know that an NEA Member survey regarding the presidential primary election will be going out in the next day or two.  

In an effort to ID IL members on their presidential preference, NEA is using Qualtrics to do short email surveys to members. NEA did several tests in early primary states with members and had really strong response results and figured out the best practices for using these.

The email survey has 4 questions and branded with IEA’s logo (you have to answer each question before seeing the next). This would be emailed to members and all data received back would be posted back and shared with you via VAN.  The email addresses used will be personal emails and not school emails.

 Jim Reed, Jr.

Director of Government Relations

The survey asks who you were going to vote for in the Democratic Primary and how sure are you about it.

Trust me. They were not just interested. They wanted to identify Hillary voters and concentrate on getting them out to vote.

I said I was certain that I was going to vote for Bernie.

I probably won’t be hearing from the IEA again until after the primary.

There is nothing illegal or wrong about this.

It is just that they never asked us before they endorsed.