Anti-Teacher Legislation Heats Up... 'Stand for Children' in Illinois sets union busting and teacher bashing corporate agenda with help from leading 'Democrats'

Billionaires and neo-liberals with privatization agendas that demand less jobs and less democracy to implement suddenly got religion in education. Taking a page from the book of the billionaire Koch family who financed the teaparty "uprising" that elected more Republicans, the billionaires in education are now taking their harsh agenda to communities in another front group.

As more and more 'Democrats' push union busting against the Chicago Teachers Union and other public employee unions in Illinois, many teachers are beginning to suggest that the famous "Scab Rat" used primarily by the building trades against scab work sites be deployed against Democrats who trash teachers and public workers' unions. Above, the rat was sitting on Irving Park Road in Chicago outside a scab work site when Substance visited it on April 12, 2010. Substance photo by Sam Schmidt.Stand for Children is positioning itself as a parent advocacy group that wants the best schools for its children. In Denver, the group is involved in the school board elections demanding that new teachers be paid "significantly more." (translation - no more unions and seniority).

Stand for Children is really an Oregon-based "reform" group funded by billinaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad and several others, who have pumped $600,000 into the November races in Illinois, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.

And powerful Democrats in Illinois are responding to the demands being made by Stand for Children. According to the CTU legislative report, Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan created the "House Special Committee on Education Reform". That committee will meet December 16 and 17th in Aurora, Illinois.

The Stand for Children plan is to 1) prevent teachers from ever working in Illinois again if they receive an unsatisfactory rating twice over five years, 2) tie student test scores to teacher evaluation, 3) fire educators according to what Stand for Children calls "performance" and 4) strip Illinois teachers of their right to strike.

Democratic State Rep Linda Chapa LaVia (Aurora) has been appointed by House Speaker Michael Madigan to co-chair a new "School Reform Committee" of the Illinois House of Representatives. The committee was established to push the anti-union corporate "school reform" agenda of Stand for Children and Advance Illinois. Two members of the "school reform" House committee, state reps Keith Farmham and Coreen Gordon, both democrats, received $50,000 and $100,000 respectively from Stand for Children in October, the CTU reported.

"This is a formula for turning our schools into low-wage, high-turnover places of employment," CTU political activities coordinator Xian Barrett wrote on the website. "SFC's agenda hurts children on many levels. Few of us will want to be career teachers. Families will no longer be able to bond with teachers over decades and students will no longer have teachers invested in them or the community. This system would squelch innovation and motivate teachers to teach to the test rather than encourage creativity (and) critical thinking."

The CTU is encouraging those concerned about public education to call the union and testify at the committee hearings this week. Buses will leave CTU offices at the Merchandise Mart on December 16th, 2010 at 10:30 am and will return to the Merchandise Mart at approximately 5:00 pm.

Buses will also leave CTU offices at the Merchandise Mart on December 17th, 2010 at 8:00 am and will return to the mart at approximately 1:00 pm. To RSVP for bus transportation, e-mail

The selective enrollment charter school bill (HB 6862) was brought back last week to create a selective-enrollment charter in Aurora, allowing charter schools to openly exclude the "hardest and costliest" students to educate, Barrett wrote.

"This would have been detrimental to us because it would help charters to continue their propaganda campaign of highlighting their few selected success and hide their many failures," Barrett wrote on the CTU website. "It also would have diverted state funding for what would essentially be a private school exclusive to the children of Aurora. If charters were allowed to select students across the state, it would allow them to further their attempt to destroy public education."

Three weeks ago, the CTU helped defeat the bill in committee, but it was brought back last week, and was fast tracked through the committee despite Rep. Monique Davis' (D-Chicago) protests, the CTU stated.

The bill was voted on the floor on December 1st, and after "heavy" lobbying by CTU, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) and Illinois Education Association (IEA), the bill was defeated, the CTU reported.

Although nominally a Democrat, Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan (above) has been supporting a corporate "school reform" agenda that amounts to union busting, despite the fact that his legislative district is heavily unionized and much of his early support came as a result of union backing. Critics have begun to suggest that Madigan's policies towards public employee unions — especially teacher unions — have merited his office being treated to a visit from The Rat.The bill's sponsor, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), ended her promotion of the bill "with a heavy tirade against unions as hurting children and then retracted the bill to keep it alive." Chapa LaVia is the co-chairman of Madigan's "School Reform Committee."

The measure had enough votes to pass until Rep. Davis challenged the committee votes, Barrett wrote. The bill is likely to be amended and resurface, but the sponsor has agreed to negotiate with the three unions, Barrett added.

The voucher bill was reentered, and although it was not called to a vote on the floor, it may resurface in January, the CTU stated.

The CTU lobbied for the successful override of HB 5154 which protects public employees’ evaluation records from being released under the Freedom of Information Act. Rep. Chapa LaVia and Sen. Lightford (D-Maywood) were the chief sponsors of the bill.

CTU President Karen Lewis testified at a hearing before the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee to examine the impact of the Basic Skills Test, the CTU website added.

Grassroots members of the Grow Your Own program and other community members testified on the damage done to minority teacher recruitment and developed caused by the rescale which saw the percentage of passing African American candidates drop to 3% and Hispanic to 7%. Overall, the pass rate dropped from 85% to 22%.

Under heavy questioning from Rep. Golar (D-Chicago), Rep. Davis, Rep. Froelich (D-Schaumburg), Rep. Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates) and Rep. Colvin (D-Chicago), it became clear that the Illinois State Board of Education had made the decision to raise the cut score was based on no scientific link to teacher quality, the CTU stated. Like virtually all other such tests, the test is prepared in secret, scored in secret, and not provided to the public following its use.

At the last CTU House of Delegates meeting on December 1, 2010, it was announced that the diabetes bill passed, which would mandate regular classroom teachers be responsible for administering insulin to diabetic students if a school nurse is not present. One of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's promises to the CTU in exchange for its endorsement is to veto the diabetes bill should it cross his desk. 


December 14, 2010 at 8:25 AM

By: Correction

Quick correction

Quinn did veto the diabetes bill. He placed an amendatory veto on it and set up a task force to investigate the bill, but behind Madigan, the veto was overridden.

July 7, 2011 at 2:28 AM

By: Suzanne Elder


A student just brought this article to my attention and I'd like to point out that the diabetes bill does not, in fact, "mandate regular classroom teachers be responsible for administering insulin to diabetic students if a school nurse is not present." The bill permits school staff to assist students with routine care and provides important liability protections for those who choose to be helpful. The failure to appreciate this difference and the teachers unions persistent misrepresentation of this bill is more than a little disappointing.

July 7, 2011 at 6:14 AM

By: bob busch

Enemy at the Gates, the Stand for Children SB 7 video

George and fellow teachers.

I don’t mean to take you away from this great site. However, please go over to Dist 299 and watch this video Polishing The SB7 Reform Story. This video scared the hell out of me.

July 7, 2011 at 6:40 AM

By: Rod Estvan

Bob is correct about SB7 video

The Stand for Children SB 7 story is presented very clearly in this video. Including how the IEA sold out the CTU, how Stand for Children bought off the Speaker of the House, and from their perspective how they fooled President Lewis into accepting a strike provision that may make it impossible to strike. You could not make this stuff up if you wanted to.

Rod Estvan

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