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|Lawmakers Look at Education Reform
|(IRN)-With "reform" being a magic word at the state Capitol lately, the Senate Education Committee took up a plan to reform education in the state of Illinois. But the plan is chock full of controversy. While the committee was considering a plan that would weaken teachers' right to strike and make it harder for teachers to win tenure, the state's teachers unions proposed their own plan.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Education Association and Chicago Teachers Union are suggesting some changes to the teaching side of the equation, but their plan also makes administrators more accountable. They call the plan "Accountability for All." It would require training for every school board member and require another level of certification for principals. In addition, it includes a Student Bill of Rights that would hold school districts accountable for providing every student with a qualified teacher on the first day of each school year. "We believe these reforms are fair and rigorous standards that will make a difference in the children's education," said Dan Montgomery, president of the IFT.
Everyone testifying before the committee felt that lawmakers were moving too fast. Group after group complained that they learned of the first reform plan over the holidays, and had to try to pull all their information together for the first working day of the year. But the committee chairman, State Senator Kimberly Lightford, says she's not in a hurry. She says this debate will run well into the spring legislative session. The committee did not take a vote. The first plan, which has been debated in the House, must gain final approval during the current lame duck session, or it will have to start over after new lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 12.
One sidenote is the participation of a group that pumped tons of cash into the last election. Stand for Change, which funded several candidates running for House and Senate seats, offered support for the first plan, which is similar to proposals that the group has championed in other states, much to the chagrin of those states' teacher unions.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|01 04 11 by Newsroom
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