A Small Victory for Teachers and a Big Loss for Billionaire Ed Deformers.
Illinois legislators, with the backing of billionaire Ed Deformers, tried to kill tenure and teachers’ right to strike with their Performance Counts Act. However, the union-crushing bill was killed in January, thanks to strong resistance by Illinois teachers.
Legislators received large donations to support the law, some receiving checks as high as $175,000, from Stand for Children (SFC) an organization based in Portland, Oregon, with affiliates in seven states. Their largest funder is Bill Gates. In total, SFC pumped $600,000 into key Illinois legislative races. While SFC started as a grassroots organization, headed by Marian Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund), and initially had the backing of many teachers, they are now clearly in cahoots with corporate interests that want to profit off the billions of tax dollars spent each year on education.
Had it passed, the Performance Counts Act would have:
Linked teachers’ evaluations to student test scores
Fired or demoted teachers after a single unsatisfactory evaluation
Blocked unions from bargaining over layoffs, school closures, class size, staffing, length of school day, or use of technology
Banned teachers from striking
Unions Continue to Pursue Anti-Teacher Policies
Illinois teachers unions should be celebrating the victory and moving on to more proactive issues, like abolishing NCLB or booting the corporate interests completely out of the game. Instead, they are continuing to pursue their own alternative plan, Accountability for All, which still gives up some seniority and tenure rights (See Left Wing Sell Out).