Illinois legislative clock ticks down. The incredibly silent IEA. UPDATED.


The regular session of the Illinois General Assembly ends May 31st.  Nobody I know expects a budget deal with the crazy governor by then.

I was talking with Springfield lobbyist the other day and the conversation about the governor seemed to be more about his psychological state than his political strategy.

“He doesn’t care if he wins or loses,” said the lobbyist.

I’m not a shrink. So I’ll stay focused on the politics of it all.

Conventional wisdom seems to be that some agreement on K-12 funding will get done.

Yesterday I wrote again about SB 231, Senator Manar’s bill to change the funding formula and take money from special education categorical funding and move it to school districts’ general fund. It effectively reduces money for special education.

When Bob Kaplan, IEA retired activist and member of the IEA’s legislative committee asked on Facebook why the IEA was neutral on the Manar bill when the IEA’s Legislative Program opposes both the spending shift and cuts to mandated direct categorical special education  grants, he received a response from IEA President Cinda Klickna.

Cinda Klickna: “You might ask for details.”

Bob: “I have and have gotten no explanation.  I’m asking for details.”

 Cinda Klickna: “Last year the board discussed supporting giving to poorer districts from more affluent. Remember?”

What is odd is that the Manar bill has been around in one form or another for three years. It has been in one legislative committee or another this session. The IEA Representative Assembly met and approved the Legislative Program just about a month ago. They may have “discussed it on the board” last year, but no changes to the Program were presented or voted on.

Characterizing the Manar bill as “giving to poorer districts from more affluent” doesn’t do justice to what they want to do.

The negative impact on special needs students may be devastating.

Here is the language from the IEA Legislative Progam approved a little over a month ago:

“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 (my emphasis).”

That is what an education funding bill should say. I don’t know what was discussed a year ago at a board meeting, but that language is what the members through their delegates at the state IEA Representative Assembly voted for.

The Legislative Program is intended to guide lobbyists and leadership as to what legislation IEA opposes or supports. It is the membership’s voice on these issues.

Some have suggested that the “neutral” position is just a place holder until the language of a bill is finally ready for a vote. Although Klickna’s “we discussed it on the board” comment would suggest otherwise. But even if neutral is a place holder, that wouldn’t prevent the IEA from speaking publicly on what they want. I thought that was what all this “sitting at the table” stuff was about.

There is a new state education spending bill, HB828. It is viewed as an alternative to SB231 which remains in Executive Committee.

According to Bev Johns:

State spending for next school year may be frozen at this years level EXCEPT for $500 to $700 million added to the low income part of General State Aid (perhaps plus pension money for Chicago OR allowing Chicago to raise taxes to pay for pension costs).

The Evidence Based plan (which moves direct aid to special education) is now in legislation as Amendment 1 to House Bill 828 

Adding $500 to $700 million would greatly help schools with concentrated low income students.

According to the current formulas, if a school district has 15 percent or less low income (as determined by the DHS formula) they receive $355 for each low income student. For more than 15 percent, there is a formula. For example, if 30 percent, it is $537 for each low income student; if 50 percent, $969 per student, and if 80 percent low income students, it is $2,022 per student.

ANY combination of money, SB 231 and HB 828 is possible, or NOTHING may be done before May 31. (After that date it takes a 3/5 vote of the Illinois House and Illinois Senate for a bill to be immediately effective.)


Fred – This is a little confusing.

There are 3 entirely separate and independent proposals.

(1) $500 to $700 million in more money for next school year. This is just appropriations with NO change in the school funding formulas.

(2) Senate Bill 231, the Manar bill, which has a Block Grant for special education (changes school funding formulas, but appropriates NO money).

(3) House Bill 828, with Amendment 1, which has an entirely different Block Grant for special education (changes school funding formulas, but appropriates NO money).

Thanks, Bev

Teacher evaluation procedures should be locally bargained.


IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin. “What will this mean for us?” I asked. “It will be a challenge,” she responded coldly.

When I first started as a public school teacher, the district I worked in and the union local I was a member of had just settled a contract. As a result of their joint collective bargaining efforts, a committee was established to develop a new teacher evaluation program. At the time, although there were some minimum state guidelines, teacher evaluation was almost entirely a mandated part of the collective bargaining process.

Naturally a committee was established. The committee consisted of teachers selected by our local union leadership and it also consisted of administrators and board members. For three years they met and concluded in the points negotiated between the union and board. It became a part of our contract. Although the results of a teacher evaluation could not be grieved, a violation of the evaluation process could be the subject of a grievance.

As I think back on it, it was a extraordinary effort on the part of our little district. As in any committee work, many got frustrated. It seemed to go on and on. But what happened was that those involved engaged in a three-year dialogue over what counts as good teaching and tried to figure out a way to measure it. The voice of the teachers was present because our union was present.  As members of the committee they frequently reported back on the progress of the talks and welcomed input.

It wasn’t perfect. But it worked as well as any part of the collective bargaining process works.

I think about this now as I hear back from teachers who are receiving their evaluations and rankings from last year.

What I hear doesn’t sound good. I believe that much of the problem is the result of the loss of collective bargaining rights.

Some try to argue that teacher evaluation is a process for improving teacher practice. But this is nonsense. Evaluation is a process by which those in power positions decide who goes and who stays and how that should be done.

That is why it needs to be bargained.

The purpose of professional development is improving teacher practice. And for all its system-wide faults and weaknesses, professional development shouldn’t be confused with a teacher’s performance review.

Teacher evaluation has been – little by little –  removed from the collective bargaining process.

Our state unions are totally complicit in that change.

When IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin was appointed by Governor Quinn to chair the committee that applied for a Race to the Top grant, it led to the legislature passing PERA, the Performance Evaluation Reform Act. PERA then became a part of Illinois’ Senate Bill 7, which changed the rules governing tenure, seniority, teacher evaluation and the right to strike by Chicago teachers.

This became the critical moment in Illinois for removing essential parts of teacher evaluation from local collective bargaining. Legislators and union bureaucrats had decided, with little discussion or research, what counted as good teaching practice and how to measure it.

At a IEA Representative Assembly shortly after Soglin led the move to remove major parts of teacher evaluation from local collective bargaining, I took to the microphone and pointed out that PERA had taken away all that our local had accomplished in creating an evaluation process that was working.

“What will this mean for us?” I asked.

“It will be a challenge,” she responded coldly.

The debate over what counts as good teaching practice and how to measure it is an important one. But like compensation and working conditions, it is best that the debate is reflected in a bargained agreement with teacher voices represented at the bargaining table through their local bargaining team.

We have lost that. Losing it was a loss of our collective bargaining rights.

Getting it back is the real challenge.

Correction. IEA supports #FightForDyett.

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Note IEA President’s signature, lower right on IFT stationery.



Don’t blame others for your inability to pay attention. Note the statement was posted a day before your comment.

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the correction.

I am pleased to see that the presidents of the two state teachers unions sent a letter to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in support of the #FightForDyett hunger strikers.

You are right. I was not paying attention to the fact the IEA President Cinda Klickna’s signature could be found on the bottom right of the letter of support with an IFT letterhead.


edTPA. The Gates and NCTQ plan, a long time in the works.


Graphic: Rethinking Schools

edTPA is not new.

I have been posting about it now because the implementation of edTPA in Illinois, mandated by the Democratic Party controlled state legislature as the path to teacher certification, is moving at full steam.

If you go back to the summer of 2013 Rethinking Schools has an article by Wayne Au which places edTPA right in the center of the debate over corporate school reform, the Gates Foundation and the corporate National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

Incidentally, I wrote about the cozy relationship between the Illinois Education Association’s Executive Director Audrey Soglin and NCTQ back in April of 2013.

But this is part of what Wayne Au wrote for Rethinking Schools two years ago:

Conservatives have been developing an infrastructure to attack teacher education at least since 2000, when the Thomas B. Fordham Institute created the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). As former Fordham Institute board member Diane Ravitch recalls: “Conservatives, and I was one, did not like teacher training institutions. . . . [The Fordham Institute] established NCTQ as a new entity to promote alternative certification and to break the power of the hated ed schools.”

With $5 million from then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige and the Bush administration, the NCTQ founded the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), which would grant anyone a “passport to teaching” as a valid teaching credential in any state that agreed, as long as the individual had a bachelor’s degree and passed a background check and a computer test. Voucher proponents and advocates for privatizing public education filled the ABCTE’s advisory board, and Kate Walsh, now president of NCTQ, served on its board of directors.

Although the ABCTE still exists as an online teacher certification program (get your teaching credential for just under $2,000!), it lives on the fringes of the national education policy conversation. On the other hand, corporate education reformers have placed NCTQ in a position of national prominence. Diane Ravitch explains: “Today, NCTQ is the partner of U.S. News & World Report and will rank the nation’s schools of education. It received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to review teacher quality in Los Angeles. It is now often cited as the nation’s leading authority on teacher quality issues. Its report has a star-studded technical advisory committee of corporate reform leaders like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee.”

NCTQ supports the use of high-stakes test scores in teacher evaluation (known as value-added measurement, or VAM), including using test scores of students to rate the teacher education programs from which their teachers graduated. Taking a page directly out of the rabidly pro-corporate American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) playbook on education reform, NCTQ has already issued report cards for teacher education by state and is on the verge of “grading” most individual teacher education programs in the country.

Kate Walsh and the NCTQ are part of the cabal of corporate reformers dismantling public education today, and they have teacher education squarely in their sights.

So the edTPA has to be seen strategically as a push back against the forces of corporate education reform. It aims to reframe teaching as a profession along the lines of being a medical doctor or a lawyer (think national bar exam for teachers).

This would explain why edTPA has roots in the ideas of Linda Darling-Hammond and other proponents of focusing on teacher quality.

Like other education reform ideas that seemed good at the time, they often get turned into their opposites with the infusion of foundation and corporate dollars.

I got into a Twitter debate about edTPA with John Seelke, an employee of the University of Maryland and someone who does student teacher placement and supervision

He has been one of the rare defenders of edTPA to comment since I started writing about it.

Seelke’s objectivity is suspect as someone who is employed to implement edTPA.

But he raises a good question:

“Connection to Gates? Is edTPA perfect? No…do it think it’s better than other current assessments like praxis?”

By praxis, John means the current system of local cooperating teacher evaluation along with a university or college supervisor.

Au raises a similar question:

If we sink the edTPA, what will we be left with? In the midst of corporate education reform, will we in teacher education get stuck with whatever Kate Walsh, the NCTQ, and the privatizers have in store for us? That is a dilemma, and I don’t have the solution. I do know, however, that the edTPA has had a significant impact on my teacher education program.

As I have written before, whatever problems there are with current teacher preparation practices, nothing can be fixed by handing it over to private corporations like Pearson which rake in million of dollars in profits or by implementing the plans of the Gates Foundation.

IEA and NEA talks out of two sides of their mouths on opt out.

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There is was on my Twitter feed.

The IEA had posted an article from EdWeek on how opting out was gaining traction. As if the IEA supported opt out.

The Newsday newspaper in New York reported late last month that in two Long Island counties, roughly 32,700 students out of 67,600 eligible students in grades 3-8 (48 percent) refused to take the math test.

United 2 Counter, a group opposed to New York’s common-core tests, reported in late April that statewide, there were about 193,000 opt-outs from the English/language arts test, and 151,000 opt-outs from the math exam. The statewide K-12 enrollment is about 2.7 million, with 1 million in New York City, although not all of those students are eligible to take the common-core test.

The group cites news media, union representatives, school officials, and parents as sources, but doesn’t always put a name to them. Asked to what extent the public should trust the organization’s numbers, Loy Gross, the group’s co-founder and a math tutor in upstate New York, responded that, if anything, United 2 Counter undercounts the real tally of total opt-outs. She explained that parents involved with the group, for example, are told to count heads on three testing days and report the lowest of the three opt-out numbers.

Ms. Gross said schools have become “shackled” to the common core and aligned tests.

And while the IEA leadership presented a mushy-mouth opt out resolution at our state meeting, they have been steadfast in refusing to support the opt out legislation now before the Illinois General Assembly – a bill that faces an uncertain legislative future and a likely veto by the governor.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia spoke to the opt out movement when she joined Diane Ravtich and AFT Presdient Randi Weingarten at the recent Network for Public Education Conference in Chicago.

She dismissed the movement, saying the opt out movement wouldn’t have any impact on stopping standardized testing.

Granted, Randi Weingarten’s response was even more strange.

She advocated for parents who wanted to opt out or opt in.

She was for choice, she said.

Opt-out will be discussed at the IEA Representative Assembly. For now the IEA is neutral on HB306. Updated: Bill is voted out of committee.

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I called IEA’s Government Relations Director Jim Reed yesterday to find out the IEA position on Representative Will Guzzardi’s HB306.

HB306 would establish clear guidelines for parents wishing to opt out of high-stakes tests like the disastrous PARCC tests going on over the next few days in Illinois schools.

I visited an elementary school this morning and the level of anger and frustration of the teachers I talked to was higher than I have ever witnessed in 33 years of being associated with education, teachers and schools.

I would share the stories, but I like to keep my posts relatively short. The stories would fill pages.

Back to the IEA.

Yesterday Jim said that the IEA was in opposition to HB306. He said there was concern about the lack of specificity in the bill and the threat to funding.

I also reported yesterday that the IFT was in support of HB306.

During the day I heard from other folks that the IEA was neutral. So I got back to Jim and he confirmed that after discussion with Guzzardi and others the IEA would reserve judgment until the state Representative Assembly in Rosemont.

I told Jim that I thought we should support HB306, but I look forward to a discussion at the RA where I will be a delegate.

And for the time being, neutral is better than opposition.

Meanwhile HB306 was voted out of committee.

Says Representative Will Guzzardi:

My first bill made it through committee! Thank you to Raise Your Hand, CTU, IFT and everyone who filed out a witness slip in support.

I’m excited to bring this to the house floor and continue the conversation on how we can use this as a first step in building a fully funded and enriching education for every child in Illinois!

Illinois’ opt-out bill. Updated.

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I sent in my witness slip supporting HB306.

Here is the synopsis of Representative Will Guzzardi’s opt-out bill.

With respect to the administration of State assessments, provides that a student is not required to take a particular State assessment if that student’s parent or guardian requests, in writing, that the student be excused from taking the State assessment. Requires the State Board of Education, by rule, to (i) determine the form of the request, (ii) ensure that no student, teacher, school, or school district is negatively impacted, through grades or evaluations, due to a student being excused from taking a State assessment, and (iii) ensure that students who are excused from taking a State assessment are offered supervised instructional or enrichment opportunities during the time the State assessment is being administered. Effective immediately.

The hearing on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow.

It is not too late to fill out a witness slip. Filling it out does not require you to appear. You can simply take a position.

The master of all things technological, Tim Furman, has put a short video on his blog site explaining how to fill it out.

I talked with IEA Director of Government Relations Jim Reed this morning. I asked if the IEA supported the bill.

He said they do not.

He says they have concerns that it is a block opt out. By that Jim means that the bill is not explicit about which test. He says the IEA is also concerned with the threat of the loss of federal or state funding if opt-out numbers exceed a certain percentage of a district’s students.

This has been the threat that the ISBE and the federal DOE have used successfully to get CPS to do a last minute implementation the PARCC testing with no preparation.

39th District State Representative Will Guzzardi wrote about HB306 on his FB page when he first filed it.

First bill filed. Gives parents the right to opt their students out of standardized testing, a right which students themselves currently have but their legal guardians don’t.

This will make the law internally consistent, and also be a huge boon to the thousands of parents whose kids suffer from severe test anxiety and hate school because of the crazy amount of testing they’re forced to undergo [].

And hopefully it’ll add to the dialogue about the perils of over- and mis-using standardized tests, both of which CPS does in spades.

Cassandre Creswell and More Than a Score, Wendy Katten and RAISE YOUR HAND – CPS Parents for Fair Funding, and the Chicago Teachers Union have all been tremendous advocates on this issue, and I’m excited to take the fight to Springfield with them.

I find it a shame that the NEA and the IEA officially oppose what NEA President Lily Garcia Eskelsen describes as toxic testing in theory, but not when a specific bill is before the legislature.

I tried contacting the IFT and the CTU to see what their official position was on HB306 but have not heard back as the time of this posting.

Following posting this I received the following from the IFT:

Hi Fred,

Sorry we missed your call.

I believe you were asking about the parent opt-out legislation.

The IFT supports the bill.

Hope all is well,


Aviva F. Bowen | Director of Communications

Illinois Federation of Teachers

500 Oakmont Lane, Westmont, IL 60559

T: (630) 468-4080 | E:

Organizing and disorganizing adjuncts.


I think I was the first to cover the story of the move by Chicago’s Columbia College adjuncts to disaffiliate from the IEA.

This week In These Times published a report on it.

The IEA took the unusual step of endorsing Kirk Dillard, a Republican candidate for Illinois Governor who lost to the private equity near-billionaire and viciously anti-union Republican Bruce Rauner during the 2014 primaries—moves many members strongly disagreed with.

The vote also comes from what they saw as a threat to their independence. The union’s website states that there is a risk of the IEA taking over the P-fac local, which is what precipitated the December 22 initiation of a motion to amend P-fac’s constitution and disaffiliate from the IEA, which would then be voted on by P-fac members. In December, the IEA sent a letter of audit to P-fac, which P-fac argued would be the first step to an IEA takeover.

Beverly Stewart, the IEA Higher Education Council Chairperson, denies that charge and notes that the IEA has never taken over a local before.

Though the vote for disaffiliation was lopsided, some P-fac members have criticized the speed of the process: disaffiliation took place between semesters, during the winter break, when not all teachers were on campus. Union officials say the timing was forced by IEA and the audit letter.

“P-fac isn’t rushing to try to get something done before we’re all back on campus,” says Carroll.  She says IEA bylaws require the entire process to be completed within four weeks.

According to the P-fac Facebook page, of the 585 P-fac members eligible to vote, 286 ballots were cast. The final tally was 232-50 in favor of disaffiliation.

Because of “poaching” agreements between the major unions, designed to prevent them from stealing members from one another, P-fac would not be able to reaffiliate with another union for at least a year. For that time, they would be independent, though their contract will remain intact. After a year, P-fac can affiliate with another union, but a P-fac spokesperson says they do not currently have plans to do so.

Despite the overwhelming vote for disaffiliation, support for the move within the ranks of P-fac, is not universal. Joe Fedorko is a member of P-fac through his adjunct position at Columbia, but he is also president of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, the IEA local for Chicago’s Roosevelt University’s adjuncts. A vocal opponent of disaffiliation, he says it goes against the very idea of a union.

“I think it’s totally unjustified on P-fac’s part,” he says. “They [P-fac leadership] don’t like when anybody tells them what they should do. This is just them trying to place themselves over the labor movement.”

But for Carroll, and the overwhelming majority of voting P-fac members, the choice is a simple one. “We’re connected to a state affiliate union that doesn’t represent our interests.”

And my friend and blogging colleague Glen Brown also posts on adjuncts today.

University and College Adjunct Faculty Remuneration per Course in Illinois:

Medians compared

All Illinois: $2,700

All 4-year private not-for-profit: $3,000

Pay is based on three-credit courses.

A Sample:

Augustana College: $4,500 per course

Aurora University: $2,400 – $4,000 per course

Benedictine University: $2,250 – $2,750 per course

College of DuPage: $2,440 – $4,880 per course

Columbia College: $1,400 – $6,360 per course

DePaul University: $3,000 – $6,000 per course

Dominican University: $2,300 – $3,200 per course

Eastern Illinois University: $3,000 – $7,667 per course

Elgin Community College: $2,118 – $3,360 per course

Elmhurst College: $3,000 – $3,227 per course

Illinois Institute of Technology: $3,000 – $9,500 per course

Illinois State University: $3,500 – $6,400 per course

Illinois Wesleyan University: $3,000 per course

Lake Forest College: $6,500 per course

Lewis University: $2,700 – $3,000 per course

Loyola University: $4,000 – $12,000 per course

North Central College: $780 – $2,460 per course

Northeastern Illinois University: $5,475 per course

Northern Illinois University: $2,700 – $5,000 per course

North Park University: $2,680 -$4,800 per course

Northwestern University: $3,000 – $8,586 per course

Oakton Community College: $2,000 – $6,000 per course

Roosevelt University: $2,100 – $4,750 per course

Southern Illinois University: $3,000 – $6,000 per course

University of Chicago: $3,500 – $5,000 per course

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: $2,625 – $8,400 per course

University of Illinois at Chicago: $4,000 – $8,000 per course

University of Illinois at Springfield: $5,500 per course

Waubonsee Community College: $1,875 – $2,100 per course

Wheaton College: $2,775 – $3,700 per course

The above information is from The Adjunct Project.


No support for the mayor from higher ed. Both IEA and Local 1600 of AFT vote no Rahm.

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Another one of Rahm’s commercials is contradicted by those most impacted. No support from higher educators.

Last week I reported that the Illinois Education Association’s Chicago IPACE members voted not to endorse Mayor Emanuel and they split their endorsement between Chuy Garcia and Bob Fioretti. IPACE does not endorse aldermanic candidates. The Chicago IEA represents instructors and adjuncts in Chicago City Colleges and Chicago private colleges and universities. Local 1600 of the IFT, the Cook County College Teachers Union bargains on behalf of other Chicago area higher ed employees.

CCCTU Local 1600 has endorsed Chuy Garcia.

All the candidates on this list of endorsements were approved by Local 1600’s House of Representatives at the January 16, 2015 House meeting. The House consists of elected representatives from every chapter.

Mayor of Chicago

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D)

The first Mexican-American in the Illinois State Senate and a key City Council ally to Harold Washingon, “Chuy” has been a strong supporter of organized labor, working families and the voiceless. The long-time legislator is a unifying force and has a proven track record on fighting for safe and affordable housing, small businesses, job creation, immigrant rights and social justice. He supports elected school boards for Chicago.

If you want to learn more about Chuy Garcia, read about his education platform here.


5th Ward      Leslie A. Hairston                    32nd Ward  Scott Waguespack

6th Ward      Roderick T. Sawyer                33rd Ward   Tim Meegan

9th Ward      Theodore “Ted” Williams          35th Ward   Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

10th Ward    Susan Sadlowski Garza           37th Ward   Tara Stamps

16th Ward    Toni L. Foulkes                        38th Ward   Nicholas Sposato

17th Ward    David H. Moore                        45th Ward   John S. Arena

22nd Ward   Ricardo Muñoz

The House of Representatives also voted to endorse a “YES” vote to the elected school board ballot question in the Chicago municipal elections.

The question “Should the City of Chicago have an Elected School Board?” appears in wards 1,3, 4,5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, ,24 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33,34, 35, 36, 37,40, 45, 46, 47, 49 and 50.

Sallie Clark. RIP.

I received notice a few minutes ago from IEA Retired Chair Janet Kilgus that Sallie Clark passed away late last night.

Sallie retired from teaching last August. She was an IEA member from downstate Edwardsville.

Over her long years of activism in the IEA Sallie served as IEA and NEA Director.

I first met Sallie on a shuttle bus.

We were both in New Orleans for an NEA RA. This was back in 1998 when the NEA was debating merger with the AFT.

I think I may have been the one delegate from Illinois that supported the merger.

Sallie sat down next to me on the shuttle bus that took us between our hotel and the convention center.

We argued over merger, of course.

Sallie opposed it big time.

But every morning for the duration of the convention Sallie sought me out on the shuttle bus to argue some more.

Eventually her position carried the day.

Even though we never agreed.

Over the years we agreed and disagreed about a lot of union stuff.

But when Sallie went to the microphone to speak she spoke from her heart and from her head as a teacher and as an African American woman.

And every year at every IEA and NEA meeting, including the last one we were both at, whenever Sallie and I met up we would give each other a warm hug and a big smile. She would ask about health and family. I would do the same.

We were teachers and union brother and sister.

And I will miss her.