Page 1


march 20

YOUR VOTE. YOUR VOICE. ★ Visit for more information.

Presidents’ Conference fires up IFT leaders DANIEL J. MONTGOMERY | PRESIDENT

Thank you to all the local and council leaders who came to Peoria in January for the 2018 IFT Presidents’ Conference! It was terrific to see so many of you, along with our AFT colleagues from around the Midwest, as we worked together to build upon our continuing efforts to engage members, prepare for a negative decision in the Janus case, and gear up for Election 2018. Through a series of workshops and presentations on unionbuilding, effective contract campaigns, professional development, reaching new members, and developing strong worksite structures, one thing was crystal clear: IFT leaders are fired up and ready to go! Those who want to stifle the voice of working people don’t know what they’re up against. As AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson said, we can look at the challenges ahead as threats, or as an opportunity to grow our unions stronger through meaningful conversations and connections with one another. After learning how other state unions have succeeded and hearing our own local leaders detail their work on the ground, I’m confident that’s exactly what is happening. We have big goals, but I know they’re achievable. I know we’re in a strong position to elect a pro-labor governor and state legislature. I know we will do more than survive the challenges ahead - we’ll thrive right through them. And I know that we’re fulfilling the IFT’s vision - to fight powerfully for a strong union and the future we all deserve. I look forward to continuing our work together.

How Rauner’s State Board of Education is hurting students Students protest during Governor Rauner’s visit to the University of Illinois.


The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) makes policy decisions for our state’s PreK-12 schools that directly affect our students and classrooms. The nine members of that powerful board – and the State Superintendent of Education, who heads ISBE – are appointed by Governor Rauner. WHY IT MATTERS It’s simple. By wielding the power to appoint ISBE members – as well as the members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Labor Relations Board, many policy-making groups, and more – Rauner’s pro-charter school, anti-union agenda is setting the direction for Illinois’ public schools. And it shows. EDUCATORS ARE BEING SILENCED Since Rauner took office, there has been a serious disconnect between the decision-makers and those who do the actual work in our schools. Rauner’s ISBE and the State Superintendent claim they want educator input and support public education, but their actions tell a different story. In fact, ISBE has made numerous policy changes that have weakened standards and hurt public schools. Consider this:




Rauner has dramatically changed the makeup of ISBE. Teachers and administrators on the board have been replaced with business executives who lack knowledge of schools and the staff who work in them. Since Rauner took office in 2015, ISBE has initiated multiple changes to licensure. The constant change in requirements creates chaos and instability, weakens content standards, and discredits the teaching profession. Teachers called for the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to minimize testing and increase support for struggling schools. Instead, Rauner’s ISBE

ignored ESSA’s opportunity for change and advocated for a state plan that looks nearly identical to No Child Left Behind. The plan focuses on shaming and punishing teachers and schools that don’t make the grade and gives little weight to systemic inequities.


Rauner’s ISBE limits teacher and PSRP input and experience. By scheduling meetings during the school day and failing to provide resources for substitute teachers and travel stipends, it is nearly impossible for educators to attend. When educators can participate, the voices of school reformers and other non-educa- tor “experts” take precedence and drive ISBE’s decision-making.

Rauner’s ISBE has pushed to eliminate mandates, including successfully getting rid of daily physical education and allowing schools to more easily contract out driver education.



When the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (SEPLB) (which consists of practicing teachers and university faculty) recommended denying teacher preparation program approvals to for-profit, non-CAEP accredited programs such as American Intercontinental University and Relay Graduate Schools, Rauner’s ISBE unanimously overturned SEPLB’s decision.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? We must elect a new governor in 2018. Only then can we change the trajectory of our state and ensure that our voices are heard once again at the State Board of Education and beyond.


Q&A IFT’s endorsed candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor - JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton answered our questions about pensions,teacher evaluations, school funding, and more. t

JB and Juliana marching with educators and community members in Chicago’s Bud Billiken parade.

Q: What (or who) inspired you to run for office? JB: For more than 20 years, I’ve been a national advocate for early childhood education, including organizing the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education for President Obama in 2014. I strongly believe that every child deserves a quality education so they have the tools they need to build a better life. For too long our public education system has suffered from systemic disinvestment, and that has only been exacerbated by Bruce Rauner and his attack on public education. I’m running for governor so we can pass a progressive income tax, reverse that systemic disinvestment, and invest in public education. Juliana: As a woman of color and the daughter and sister of Chicago Teachers Union members, I know how important it is to ensure policy is made by and for me, not done to me. That has led me to be a lifelong advocate for the progressive values I care about, especially reforming our criminal justice system. Running for office is another way for me to stand up and fight for what I believe in.

Q: What qualifies you to be a great leader? JB: I’ve spent my life fighting for fundamental progressive values and getting big things done for Illinois families and communities. I’ve been a national advocate for early childhood education, I helped fight discrimination and bigotry as the chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and I founded 1871, a non-profit tech incubator that has helped create 7,000 jobs. Juliana: As a professional mediator, I know how to unite people and get things done. I’ve run my own small business for more than 20 years, bringing people together to create fair workplaces 4

IFT Election Guide

for everyone. And as Director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at UIC, I trained law enforcement on building trust in the communities they serve. I know my history of unifying people to fight for what’s right will allow me to help JB move our state forward.

Q: The Constitution and the Supreme Court have made it very clear that a pension is a promise, yet politicians from both sides of the aisle keep trying to rob us of our benefits to solve a problem we didn’t cause. How will you approach the pension funding issue and protect our retirement security? JB and Juliana: We believe it’s a moral obligation to live up to the commitments made to our public servants who have been promised pensions. Poor management of our pension liabilities by both parties has put our pension systems at risk. We will partner with the labor movement to create a fair budget that meets our pension obligations. One major priority will be passing a progressive income tax, so those who can afford to pay more do.

Q: What is your position on collective bargaining and other rights important to working women and men? JB and Juliana: We support full collective bargaining rights. Throughout this campaign, we have stood shoulder to shoulder with workers exercising those rights and striking because of unfair wages, benefits, and working conditions. If elected, we will protect the rights of workers from attacks, stand up for working families, and strongly support the labor movement.

Q: Do you believe we adequately fund Illinois’ schools? If not, what is your plan to ensure our students have what they need to succeed in both K-12 and higher education? JB and Juliana: We need to provide a quality public education to every child in Illinois. Our best economic resources are our people, but Illinois is nearly last in the nation in state funding for public education. If elected, one priority will be ensuring that all kids in Illinois get the quality public education they deserve. That means reversing Rauner’s massive disinvestment from higher education to ensure our colleges and universities are fully funded, repealing Rauner’s back-door voucher program and placing a moratorium on charter schools, and increasing state investments in public education.

Q: How will you address concerns about high-stakes teacher evaluations and overtesting students? JB and Juliana: No Child Left Behind and the “school reform” movement promised to improve learning, but instead resulted in

overtesting, drastically reduced instructional time, and assessments used to rank, sort, and punish schools that most need our support. We believe nothing is more important than the quality of our children’s learning experience. If elected, we will bring the IFT and other stakeholders to the table to design education policy that aligns with the goal of improving citizenship readiness.

Q: Finally, what kind of Illinois do you want for your children? Describe your vision for the future we all deserve. JB and Juliana: It will take years to clean up Bruce Rauner’s mess. Rauner’s fiscal mismanagement and manufactured two-year budget crisis blocked critical investment in education, human services, and economic development, especially in some of our most economically challenged communities. But our financial challenges won’t prevent us from making progress creating good-paying jobs, expanding healthcare for Illinois’ families, and guaranteeing every child gets a good public education. With support from IFT members, I know we can move our state forward, put Springfield back on the side of working families, and build an economy that works for every community in Illinois.


Who was your favorite teacher or school staff member? JB:

Ms. Jeffries, my third-grade teacher, who was so kind to me during the first year after my father passed away.

Juliana: Lena McClen was my choir teacher at Kenwood Academy. I didn’t have the best singing voice, but she always encouraged me and pushed me to stretch myself rather than worry about being perfect.

What was the last great book you read? JB:

“Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years” by Carl Sandburg.

Juliana: I recently re-read “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois. I read it every few years as a reminder of the responsibility to share what I’ve learned and any expertise I’m blessed to have with my community – never being selfish, and always working to lift the masses.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? JB:

I managed an undiscovered rock band in college whose lead guitarist and singer is now a Grammy-nominated producer.

Juliana: I love live music and concerts. My favorite artists right now include Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige, but I’m also a life-long “house head” and love old school house music.


Members make the difference in candidate endorsements IFT members know that there’s a lot at stake in the 2018 election. That is why it’s critical that our union supports candidates who will stand up for workers’ rights, protect employee pensions, and invest in the public education and services that benefit all Illinoisans. In the March 20th Primary Election, the decisions about which candidates our union is endorsing were not made lightly, and they were not made from the “top down.”

A record number of members also participated in the IFT’s democratic Political Action Committee (PAC) process for the Primary Election. As compared to 2016, attendance at the 17 Regional PAC meetings increased by an amazing 600 percent. During these December and January meetings


In fact, the work started from the ground up. The IFT and our local unions worked harder than ever over the last few months to ensure every member had the opportunity to have a voice in these important decisions. From a statewide membership poll to local membership surveys to candidate forums hosted by locals, our union reached out on many fronts to learn how members believe things are going under Governor Rauner and better understand where they stand on the issues.

IFT and other union members get out the vote in Springfield.

throughout the state, PACs conducted interviews and reviewed voting records, position papers, questionnaires, and other information about candidates for the Illinois legislature and Congress. Regional PACs then forwarded their endorsement recommendations to the Statewide PAC, which met in late January to finalize a list of endorsements before sending it to the IFT’s elected Executive Board for approval in early February. The complete list of IFT endorsements for the 2018 Primary Election is on the next page. Tear it out and take it with you to the polls, or print it from the IFT website.


Voted to increase school funding Advocated for a more equitable education funding model Opposes Governor Rauner’s anti-union agenda Leading the fight for an elected school board in Chicago A former prosecutor who was called upon to fill Barack Obama’s State Senate seat, Kwame Raoul has focused his life’s work on protecting people and their rights, and holding the system accountable. We are proud to support his campaign for Attorney General!

vote 3.20.18 6

IFT Election Guide


your voice matters!

VOTE Elect leaders who are committed to supporting public education, state services, and essential programs.

ADVOCATING FOR OUR MEMBERS IS THE IFT’S TOP PRIORITY. That’s why we work to elect legislators in Springfield and Washington D.C. who are committed to standing up for the best interests of our members, our professions, and those we serve. cut along the dotted line

M A R C H 2 0 P R I M A RY E L E C T I O N | I F T- E N D O R S E D CA N D I DAT E S U.S. CONGRESS 1 Bobby Rush 2 Robin Kelly 3 Marie Newman 4 Jesus “Chuy” Garcia 5 Mike Quigley 7 Danny Davis 8 Raja Krishnamoorthi 9 Jan Schakowsky 10 Brad Schneider 11 Bill Foster 12 Brendan Kelly 14 Matthew Brolley 15 Carl Spoerer 17 Cheri Bustos STATE CANDIDATES GOVERNOR / LT. GOVERNOR JB Pritzker / Juliana Stratton ATTORNEY GENERAL Kwame Raoul SECRETARY OF STATE Jesse White COMPTROLLER Susana Mendoza TREASURER Michael Frerichs ILLINOIS SENATE 8 Ram Villivalam 9 Laura Fine 20 Iris Martinez 27 Ann Gillespie 54 Rafael Him 56 Rachelle Aud Crowe

ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 4 Delia Ramirez 5 Lamont Robinson, Jr. 14 Kelly Cassidy 17 Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz 19 Robert Martwick 24 Lisa Hernandez 25 Adrienne Irmer 27 Justin Slaughter 28 Robert Rita 29 Thaddeus Jones 30 Will Davis 31 Mary Flowers 37 Mathew Hunt 38 David Bonner 42 Kathleen Carrier 47 Anne Sommerkamp 53 Mark Walker 59 Daniel Didech 67 Angela Fellars 70 Paul Stoddard 76 Lance Yednock 93 John Curtis 99 Marc Bell 104 Cynthia Cunningham 107 David Seiler 110 Shirley Bell 111 Monica Bristow 112 Katie Stuart 115 Terri Bryant (R), Marsha Griffin (D)




This list reflects only districts in which the IFT has endorsed a candidate.




don’t forget to


Illinois Federation of Teachers P.O. Box 390 Westmont, IL 60559


Permit no. 40 OAK BROOK, IL


Standard registration closes 27 days prior to an election. In-person registration is available through Election Day at select sites.


Ends Monday, March 19

ELECTION DAY Tuesday, March 20


Contact your local union office to find campaign volunteer opportunities in your area.



Find out about a variety of education and union topics. Get workplace tips, professional development resources, and more.


“Like” us on Facebook to stay informed and engaged. Find interesting news, post comments, and share with your network.

Tweet. @iftaft

Follow IFT on Twitter. We tweet updates and post thoughts frequently, so join the conversation!


pledge to vote!

Use the #iftvotes Facebook frame to let everyone know that you have pledged to vote on March 20th! Join IFT on Pinterest and “pin” images, videos, and other resources from our pinboards.

IFT 2018 Primary Election Guide  

A guide to the March 20, Illinois Primary Election, including: IFT endorsed candidates, voter information, and more.

IFT 2018 Primary Election Guide  

A guide to the March 20, Illinois Primary Election, including: IFT endorsed candidates, voter information, and more.