Why is the IFT involved in politics?
It's a fair question. Simply put, the funding and policy decisions that affect your workplace, career, friends, and family are being made by elected officials on the local school board, in the state legislature and in Washington D.C. Time and again, over the last century IFT members have won major victories defending public education and setting new standards for our schools. We need your help to keep fighting.
See IFT recommendations for the 2016 General Election soon. Information will be available once endorsements are made this summer.
What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
Every education decision is a political decision. Elected officials control technology, funding, class size, curriculum and course content, textbook approval, the length of the school year, teacher and staff salaries, medical benefits, continuing education and certification requirements, retirement pensions, due process rights, special education rules, funding, and many other critical matters.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers Political Action Committee's (PAC) strength isn’t in big money. Our strength is in the commitment of our members.
How does the PAC recommendation process work?
The purpose of the PAC recommendation process is to identify, select and support those legislative candidates who share the IFT’s commitment to public education and fundamental government services.
The PAC recommendation procedure is a democratic process by which local IFT members determine which candidates will get a PAC recommendation.
Ultimately, candidates who are endorsed by the IFT may receive critical organizational and financial support to assist them in getting elected.
Candidate questionnaire and interview:
Candidates and incumbents in each legislative district are mailed a questionnaire that asks for the candidate’s views on various issues important to IFT members. Questionnaires are returned and the regional PAC representative schedules recommendation interviews with each candidate individually in a convenient location.
The regional PAC representative, who serves as the chair and facilitator of the interview process, invites interested IFT members living in the legislative district of each candidate to attend the interview.
After candidates are interviewed and questionnaires have been reviewed, IFT members in attendance are asked to decide whether a candidate should be recommended for endorsement. The goal of each committee is to reach consensus on which candidates shall be recommended.
The endorsement recommendations of each regional committee are forwarded to the IFT Statewide PAC Committee. The Statewide PAC reviews the recommendations and endorsements are later finalized by the IFT Executive Board.
Once a candidate has been endorsed by the IFT, he or she is eligible to receive financial and organizational support for their campaign. Recommended candidates decide when and how to announce their PAC recommendation to the public while the IFT communicates the endorsement to its members.