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Rauner favors firing teachers over funding education, real solutions

9/08/2014


Rauner favors firing teachers over funding education, real solutions

Proposals would defund public education, continue his legacy of promoting failed education experiments

WESTMONT, IL – In response to billionaire Bruce Rauner’s new plan to strip teachers of their rights to due process and a professional voice in the workplace, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery responded, noting that Rauner’s proposals have not only been proven ineffective, but completely ignore the most critical issue of school funding.

“Bruce Rauner’s blueprint reads like a Greatest Hits of failed education experiments that penalize good teachers instead of addressing the fact that Illinois schools are some of the worst funded in the nation," said Dan Montgomery, President of the IFT and a high school English teacher for eighteen years.

"When it comes to what ails us, teacher tenure and merit pay are red herrings. There is no evidence that giving teachers due process negatively impacts student achievement, but research overwhelmingly shows the devastating effects of poverty and under funding schools. As a teacher, I saw firsthand the heartbreaking impact on a student when a parent lost a job or struggled to pay the bills.

"If Rauner was really interested in our students, he wouldn’t advocate eliminating the minimum wage.

"If Rauner was really interested in our students, he wouldn’t propose budget ideas that would cut billions out of public education resulting in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and higher property taxes.

"We want great teachers for all of our students, and if the goal is to improve education, we don’t need to pit teachers and parents against each other. We need the resources to make success possible.”

Teachers earn their right to due process after years of proven effectiveness in the classroom. Tenure is not a lifetime job guarantee, but rather allows teachers and professors to advocate for their students without fear of reprisal.

Last year, in a radio interview with former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh, Rauner bragged about how he helped form a political action group to get a piece of legislation drafted that would take away a teacher’s professional input in the workplace. (Senate Bill 7)

Rather than properly funding our neighborhood schools, Rauner promotes and invests significant money in charter schools, including Rauner College Prep on Chicago’s near west side.

The State Board of Education’s 2013 review of Illinois schools shows that students in traditional public schools demonstrate better or equal academic performance than those in charter schools. In addition, traditional public schools fare much better than charters in the areas of graduation rate (84% vs. 60%) and a lower high school dropout rate (2% vs. 9.4%).

Rauner, who proposed eliminating the minimum wage, has stated that public employees who work in our classrooms are overpaid by nearly 25%. The billionaire also opposes a ballot measure that will ask very wealthy people like him to pay more in income tax to create more funding for our schools. In addition, according to one side of his mouth, Rauner has boasted that he would shut down the government if elected.

The IFT proudly endorsed Governor Quinn this summer.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is made up of more than 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois' community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.



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