Illinois Education Association

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh -- photograph by Melanie Wieland

On a new episode of Teachers' Lounge: Lynne Ravas. She’s a recently retired English teacher who taught across the country. Lynne also has family -- including her father -- who survived the Holocaust. For decades, Lynne has worked with organizations to educate people of all ages and pass down the stories of survivors, especially as survivors themselves have passed away.

Peter Medlin

Illinois voters said “no” to the graduated income tax on Tuesday. 

 

More than 100 labor groups including the Illinois Education Association came out in favor of the proposed amendment. Kathi Griffin is president of the IEA. She said Illinois needed the tax proposal to pass to continue paying for Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) of K-12 schools.

 

Spencer Tritt

The State guidelines that were announced Tuesday for schools to resume in-person classes this fall need more work. That’s according to one of Illinois’ biggest teachers unions.

The pandemic put schools across the country in a tough position. They know many don’t consider the quality of e-learning equal to that of in-person instruction. But, even with new in-person safety protocols, some parents say they aren’t going to feel comfortable sending their kids to school.

Spencer Tritt

Last October, the State Board of Education showed nearly 2,000 unfilled teaching jobs and nearly 5,000 total education positions. 

 

Bob Sondgeroth is the regional superintendent for Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties. He says it’s likely the pandemic will worsen Illinois’ teacher shortage. 

 

“I honestly think that we're going to have some retirements that we didn't plan on,” he said. “They're going to decide it's not worth the risk.” 

 

TEDxNorthwesternU

On this week’s show: Jay Rehak. He’s an author and Chicago Public Schools language arts teacher. He and his classes at Whitney Young High School are the co-writers of over a dozen student-sourced novels. 

 

COURTESY OF ILLINOIS PUBLIC MEDIA

Authorities are investigating an anonymous letter threatening the lives of anyone in line to receive state-funded pensions. The letter was mailed to several legislators and at least one public radio station. In big letters, the mailing says “Dead people can’t collect fat state pensions,” and goes on to warn lawmakers and union leaders of death by arson, strangulation or other unspecified means.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Ten days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector employees who choose not to join unions no longer have to pay reduced fees to cover collective bargaining. And already, a crusade to persuade teachers to drop union membership has hit Illinois.

NPR Illinois

Long before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner was a champion for school choice. That’s the shorthand way of saying he used his considerable clout and cash to support charter schools, most of which don’t welcome teacher unions.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly has sent a bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner that would raise the minimum starting salary for public-school teachers.

Senate Bill 2892 would raise the minimum starting salary for a public school teacher in Illinois to $40,000. It does this through a sliding scale, gradually increasing the minimum until it reaches the target by 2022.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm teachers as a school safety precaution doesn’t sit well with Illinois teachers.

Illinois Federation of Teachers president Dan Montgomery says he has yet to talk to an educator who thinks it’s a good idea. He says this could affect the teacher shortage.

“People are not going to want to go into the profession if the job description includes being a paramilitary officer who may well have to shoot children,” he says.

Flickr User Brent Hoard/ "ECU School of Education Class Room" (cc by 2.0)

President Barack Obama today signed the Every Student Succeeds Act --- a rewrite of No Child Left Behind.

The new law, referred to as ESSA, passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.

It replaces the wildly unpopular law that's been referred to as No Child Left Untested. Educators are so enthusiastic about this rewrite, the heads of two Illinois teachers unions flew to Washington to witness its signing.