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Illinois communities didn't want "right to work," and they don't want Chicago-style school boards either

8/12/2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2015


WESTMONT, IL – Today, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery released the following statement in response to recent comments made by Governor Bruce Rauner and ongoing contract talks in Chicago:
"Governor Rauner’s comments about empowering Illinois voters to choose an appointed school board would be laugh out loud funny if it wasn’t so pathetically out of touch.

“The Governor is suggesting that citizens want less say in their government. Less say. That hasn’t worked out very well in Chicago, the only place in our state where the school board is selected by the Mayor, not the voters. Like our largest affiliate the Chicago Teachers Union and a staggering 90% of voters in a majority of city wards, the IFT supports legislation for an elected, representative school board in Chicago.

"Governor Rauner's talk of empowerment is a page out of his so-called “turnaround” playbook, a self-serving agenda that may sound nice but has been rejected by 95% of citizens whose city councils and county boards looked closer and found “right to work” to be oppressive for average families. Illinois communities didn’t want less voice then, and they don't want Chicago-style school boards now.

"Real empowerment is protecting the rights of regular people to collectively bargain with workplace management, and allowing voters to reelect or remove those officials if they want a change of direction. That’s empowerment, and that’s democracy. Governor Rauner prefers neither.

"Instead, he prefers to withhold funding for vital services until the legislature meets his obsessive political demands. He prefers to lay off workers, lower wages, and restrict the rights of middle class families instead of negotiating in good faith. He prefers to cut support for our children and most vulnerable neighbors before asking the very wealthy to pay a dime more.

“Governor Rauner's priorities are irresponsibly out of sync with the rest of Illinois and the real challenges we face. It’s time to listen to taxpayers —or at least former (Republican) Governor Edgar — and start representing our best interests."

The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 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.

The Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1, is an affiliate of the IFT and the largest local teachers union in Illinois.

IFT President Dan Montgomery has worked tirelessly on behalf of public education and the rights of working men and women for more than two decades. In addition to being a union leader at the state and national levels, Montgomery is a dedicated and experienced educator who taught high school English for 18 years in Skokie, IL.

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