NEWS

Legislative update - week of 7/19/16

Springfield has been quiet since session adjourned on June 30th, but there are a few important legislative and political highlights to note during the last two weeks.


The Illinois General Assembly has been quiet since session adjourned on June 30th. Legislators are back in their district offices focusing on constituent work and campaigning for the November election. Two new legislators, Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and Rep. David Welter (R-Morris), were appointed this week to replace exiting lawmakers. Here are a few other recent actions to note:

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Governor creates education funding commission

Last week, Governor Rauner announced the establishment of a new commission tasked with reforming Illinois’ education funding formula. The Illinois School Reform Commission will consist of 25 members, including five legislators appointed by each of the caucus leaders and five by the Governor. James Meeks, State Board of Education chair, will serve as liaison between the commission and ISBE. The commission will begin meeting in August and is charged with submitting a report by February 1, 2017, to allow the General Assembly adequate time to consider the group’s recommendations. The Governor refused to allow the IFT or any other education stakeholder to have a seat at the table, but our union will closely monitor the work of this commission and continue to advocate for our members and their students.

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ISBE scraps PARCC testing in high schools

Illinois high school students will no longer take the state Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. Instead, 11th graders will take a state-paid SAT college entrance exam beginning next spring. The announcement from the Illinois State Board of Education on Monday comes after only two administrations of PARCC, in the spring of 2015 and 2016. Third- through eighth-graders will continue taking PARCC exams in reading and math. The IFT applauds ISBE’s decision to move to a nationally-normed test for college entrance. However, we encourage policymakers to carefully guard against relying on the SAT, or any other high-stakes test, when making decisions about kids and teachers. The IFT remains committed to returning the focus of our schools to teaching children through appropriate experiences. Visit the IFT website to learn about how the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is providing Illinois with opportunities to change education for the better and ways you can help!

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IFT announces endorsed candidates

The IFT recently released the union’s candidate endorsements for the 2016 General Election. All candidates were selected based on their commitment to public education and public services for Illinois communities and the nation. The list includes support for former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her bid for U.S. President, and for two candidates running for statewide office, U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, candidate for Illinois State Comptroller. View the complete list of endorsements here.

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Make a difference – VOLUNTEER!

Election season is underway. In Illinois and Washington, D.C., the results of the November 8th General Election will have a lasting impact on education, public services, and our professions. Please sign up today to spend just a little of your time to help candidates in your area who will stand up for kids, middle-class families, and our communities.

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For the latest legislative and political updates, watch Under the Dome throughout the summer.

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