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Key IFT Issues

The Illinois Federation of Teachers advocates for public policies that protect and enhance effective public services throughout our state and the nation. Our agenda includes supporting legislative initiatives that guarantee high-quality public schools and provide every Illinois student with a world class education and a bright future. The IFT also promotes policies that protect our members' professions and the bargaining rights of all working people, especially those professionals who have dedicated their lives to public service. Through the IFT’s Department of Political Activities, our union supports legislative policy and political objectives at the community, state and national levels.  Our mission is carried out through an aggressive, organized program of advocacy and year round monitoring.  

The following six areas further delineate but are not meant to limit the IFT agenda.

Public Schools:
Opportunity for Every Student

Regardless of income or zip code, every child deserves a high-quality public education—from early childhood through higher education. That’s why it is critically important to ensure that education professionals have the support and resources needed to get the job done. 

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Higher Education:
A Path to the Middle Class

Illinois has world class colleges and universities. But for too many working families, higher education is increasingly unaffordable. The IFT is dedicated to making college accessible to more students while ensuring that higher education professionals have the academic freedom necessary to prepare students for successful careers.

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Public Services:
A Government That Works for All

Taxpayers deserve excellent public services from qualified public professionals. The thousands of dedicated government employees who are members of the IFT strive to provide citizens with great service every day, while continually being asked to do more with less during challenging economic times. The IFT works to ensure that state employees have the tools they need to effectively serve our citizens.

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Fair Access to the American Dream

Wealth inequality in America has widened to levels not seen in more than a century. Record corporate profits have enriched the top percent of citizens, but simply haven’t “trickled down” to the vast majority of working families. The IFT is a vocal advocate for fair wages, overtime protections, pay equity for all workers and fair tax reforms that don’t punish the poor and middle class. 

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Retirement Security:
Dignity After a Lifetime of Work

Wall Street's “on your own” retirement schemes have failed America’s working families. The IFT is dedicated to ensuring that our members’ modest retirement savings are protected as we fight for the retirement dignity that all workers deserve.

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Civil and Workplace Rights:
A Voice for All Workers

Job safety, wage fairness, freedom from discrimination, affordable health care and retirement security are fundamental elements of a strong society. The IFT is a leader in strengthening and protecting these simple, vital American rights.

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Every year, billions of dollars are spent to manipulate political decisions and public opinion in an effort to weaken the voice of unions and workers rights. As wrong-minded as these attempts are, they pose very real threats to middle class families. That’s why the IFT is determined to oppose:

  • Unjust tax and spending cuts that obstruct education investment and important social and public services
  • Tax credit schemes for private institutions that reduce vital resources for public schools
  • Efforts to defund public schools, particularly efforts to close neighborhood schools in Chicago
  • Privatization of public services
  • Testing as a primary means to evaluate professional educator performance
  • Proposals to reduce, weaken or end collective bargaining rights
  • Any effort to weaken the separation of church and state



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