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*** UPDATED x1 *** Education reform coming?

Friday, Dec 3, 2010

* As I’ve already told you, House Speaker Michael Madigan raised some eyebrows earlier this year when he convinced the out of state education reform group Stand for Children to contribute big bucks to several of his targeted members. Both major teachers unions boycotted Madigan and many of his members this election season after the Speaker pushed a pension reform bill through the General Assembly. Here’s what I wrote several weeks ago

However, if Speaker Madigan retains the majority and the group continues to, um, “stand” with his candidates and the unions refuse to step up, it’s possible that we could see a significant education reform push next year. Stay tuned.

From Speaker Madigan’s office…

Dear Mr. Clerk:

Please be advised that today I am creating a new bipartisan Special House committee for the 96th General Assembly. The Special Committee on Education Reform will have 8 members (4 majority members, one of which will serve as co-chair and 4 minority members, one of which will serve as co-chair).

The majority appointments to this committee are as follows:

Special Committee on Education Reform
Representative Linda Chapa La Via, Co-Chair
Representative Keith Farnham
Representative Jehan Gordon
Representative Karen Yarbrough

Reps. Farnham and Gordon both received big checks from Stand for Children, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legislative campaigns this year, including making the largest non-leader legislation campaign contribution of all time.

No word yet from the House Republicans, who will have co-equal representation on the committee. But apparently, we could be heading for a bit of payback. Stay tuned.

*** UPDATE *** From Crain’s

Among items on the agenda, according to Ms. LaVilla: requiring teacher performance to be a factor in compensation, simplifying the teacher dismissal process and linking tenure to teacher performance. Te first meeting is set for Dec. 15.

That’s pretty much Stand for Children’s entire legislative agenda. The only thing missing is making it more difficult to strike.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - John Bambenek - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    Looks like we know why he created those January session days now… Likely to ram whatever ed reform he’s thinking right down the throats of the education lobby.

  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    This is beautiful and just so Illinois/Madigan.
    If you pay me, I’ll continue to let the education system rot on the vine. If you don’t pay me, I’ll pass needed reform so helpless kids aren’t chewed up in the public education system. Now the unions will have to really pay Madigan to kill his reforms. Maybe he’s so vindinctive he’ll do the right thing anyway, of course for the wrong reason.
    That’s why government in this state is an open sewer. Actually, it’s kind of funny in a sick, perverse kind of way.

  3. - all talk - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    w/out DAley pushing ed reform forget it. The suburban GOP will do what the IEA tells them and the city reps want nothing to do with CTU back primary candidates. Stand for Children bought a couple of hearings–a little pricey for the going rate! Y’all come back to Illinois real SOON!

  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    @John -

    I wouldn’t jump to conclusions, but the IFT and IEA should be getting their ducks lined up.

  5. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    I worked for the Board of Ed about 20 years ago. My job was to go to the schools receiving direct federal aid and report back on what those schools were doing to help disadvantaged students catch up with their peers. I came to the conclusion then that nothing the government can do will help until we end poverty. Seriously. I can’t tell you the number of times I had a student tell me they were there this week because it was their turn to wear the coat they shared with their brother. Or tell me about staying home because of the gang warfare going on in their neighborhood. Or why they didn’t understand why the Santa at Marshall Fields cried when they asked if he could get their mother out of jail for Christmas.

    It’s not unions, it’s not even Madigan that’s the problem. We have to treat poverty as the disease it is.

  6. - John Bambenek - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:47 pm:


    If you would have said that Madigan would roll the teacher’s unions to me a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then he steamrolled them with the pension reform bill that was passed 11 hours after being drafted.

    With the money Stand for Children is throwing around, a lot of love can be bought, as long as it’s before Jan 1.

  7. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 12:49 pm:

    ==I’ll pass needed reform so helpless kids aren’t chewed up in the public education system…he’ll do the right thing anyway, of course for the wrong reason==

    Why do you assume that this mostly anonymous group with stacks of cash has as its only agenda the welfare of the children? Perhaps they have an agenda that would serve their funders’ bottom lines, whatever they might be, and not the best interests of the children.

  8. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 1:10 pm:

    == Perhaps they have an agenda that would serve their funders’ bottom lines, whatever they might be, and not the best interests of the children. ==

    Not going to take the easy joke on this one.

  9. - Eagle Eye - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    It’s coming. We’ll be talking about Jan. 2011 for along time in the educ. community.

  10. - George - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 2:17 pm:

    Hmmm… anyone from Chicago get to participate in education reform?

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 2:31 pm:

    Very interesting. Everything should be on the table. If not now, when?

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    @John -

    The four lawmakers named by Madigan represent four of the largest school districts — if not THE four largest — in the state.

    It should not come as a shock to anyone that they are serving on the committee.

    But Madigan doesn’t need a special committee, nor a bipartisan committee, to “stick it to the teachers” if that was his goal.

    That’s what the Executive Committee is for. :)

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:21 pm:

    Okay, NOW teachers should be worried:

    from Crain’s:

    The panel will be chaired by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVilla [sic], D-Aurora, who also chairs the House Appropriations Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education. GOP members are to be added later, by House Republican Leader Tom Cross.

    Among items on the agenda, according to Ms. LaVilla [sic]: requiring teacher performance to be a factor in compensation, simplifying the teacher dismissal process and linking tenure to teacher performance. Te [sic] first meeting is set for Dec. 15.” (emphasis added)

  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:24 pm:

    YDD, all those are Stand for Children priorities.

  15. - John Bambenek - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:25 pm:


    I took at a look at Stand for Children which is why I said what I did. Seems they have three issues: funding (no surprise), tenure (and or removing ineffective teachers), and limiting teacher strikes.

    If LaVilla is already on board with that, 2 of the other Dems were heavily funded by Stand for Children, and I’m quite sure the Republicans won’t openly balk at some of that, the result looks pre-ordained to me.

    Sure, he could use the Exec Committee… but he’s a chess player… he realizes he can only cram so much through the Exec Committee without the Trib crying “authoritarian”. Run it through a special committee, make it look legit.

    Could also be using it to get a few GOP votes on tax increases, who knows.

  16. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:29 pm:

    @Rich -

    Yes, as I said, NOW the teachers should be worried.

    If the Republicans support a tax increase provided all of those reforms are included, what does Quinn do?

    Veto it, I think.

    One thing’s for sure: IFT and IEA aren’t going to be spending the holidays lobbying for tax increase.

  17. - L.S. - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    a little off subject but can Crain’s go to the GA website and spend 2 seconds getting their spelling right. That’s just sloppy reporting.

  18. - anon - Friday, Dec 3, 10 @ 4:12 pm:

    this may add insights as well:

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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