City Club to breathe new life into 'Advance Illinois' with November 20 featuring... Astroturf group and Robin Steans had almost disappeared from public debate because they are such shills for corporate reform and the 'one percent'

It looks like every bad idea to pass through Chicago and Illinois will be revitalized by some outpost of the ruling class between now and the next time the Illinois General Assembly meets. The City Club of Chicago has announced that it will feature millionaire heiress Robin Steans and former Governor Jim Edgar, who developed Chicago's mayoral control and corporate reform legislation while governor via the 1995 "Amendatory Act" at a November discussion. No one is scheduled to debate or refute the biases of Steans and Edgar.

Robin Steans, executive director of the group "Advance Illinois," appeared with R. Eden Martin of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago trashing the Chicago Teachers Union at the two day hearings held by the Illinois House Committee on School Reform in December 2010. Among other things, Steans's group presented a speaker, a former CPS teacher, who told a lurid tale according to the "bad teacher" narrative that was being foisted by Advance Illinois at the time and since. The young teacher, whose complaint was that she had been let go before senior teachers when the number of students at her school dropped (largely because of CPS expansion of charter schools) had been, it turned out, a seriously challenged FNG teacher who routinely needed major classroom management support to survive at Pirie Elementary School. Steans's group was pushing the charter school agenda (Steans helped foist the "North Lawndale College Prep Charter School on Chicago, leading in the elimination of black teachers from the West Side) and attempts to undermine the power of the Chicago Teachers Union. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Observers will remember that "Advance Illinois" and the Civic Committee were among the architects of the school reform legislation that aimed to cripple the Chicago Teachers Union during the years before Karen Lewis and the CORE slate were elected to lead the union in June 2010. As late as December 2010, state legislators feted Steans during hearings on what became SB7 (the "school reform" legislation that tried to make it impossible for the CTU to strike) while ignoring Lewis, the CTU, and Chicago's school reform leaders. The hearings, held in Aurora at the Illinois Math Science Academy, were racist insofar as the main speakers on behald of the so-called "reform" legislation" were Steans and Civic Committee leader R. Eden Martin. Virtually every pseudo-factual claim pushed by Steans and her group has subsequently been refuted. "Advance Illinois," which is the creation of some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in Illinois, remains one of the state's most notorious "Astroturf" (a corporate clone that tries to pretend it is a grass roots organization) groups.

According to an announcement from the City Club on October 16, 2014:

Hon. Jim Edgar and Robin Steans -- The State We're in: 2014 A Report Card on Public Education in Illinois

Thursday, November 20, 2014

11:30 a.m. reception

12:00 p.m. luncheon

Union League Club of Chicago

65 West Jackson Boulevard

Chicago, IL 60604

Register now

Speaker Bios:

Hon. Jim Edgar, the 38th Governor of Illinois, inherited what was then the largest deficit in the state's history. He made hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts. He found ways to deliver services more efficiently and effectively, reducing the state work force by 2,500 employees. He eliminated a backlog of $1 billion of unpaid health care bills. He provided income tax relief and left an unprecedented $1.5 billion in the treasury for his successor.

Governor Edgar also reformed welfare through innovative initiatives to move recipients from dependence to independence. He saved homeowners billions of dollars by proposing and winning legislative approval for caps on property taxes. He fought for -- and won -- legislation to assure an adequate funding level for each and every school child in Illinois. He and First Lady Brenda Edgar won national recognition for their adoption initiative that took Illinois from the bottom to the top among states in placing children in loving homes.

Edgar was elected governor in 1990 and re-elected by the widest plurality any incumbent Illinois governor has received, carrying 101 of the state's 102 counties, including Cook. His announcement that he would not seek a third-term surprised the Illinois media and political insiders who cited poll numbers that indicated he had earned the highest approval rating of any Illinois chief executive and was in a strong position to win again. As he was leaving office, the Chicago Tribune stated that Governor Edgar�s �instincts and motives were as sound as those of any governor the state has had.�

After retiring from elective office, Governor Edgar was a resident fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He has continued his commitment to responsible and responsive government as a distinguished fellow at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He spearheads the Edgar Fellow program, which brings together emerging leaders from all parts of Illinois to foster the statesmanship that will address major challenges across regional, partisan and ethnic lines.

Governor Edgar also lectures to students at the U of I and in colleges and universities throughout the state and serves on several corporate and non-profit boards. He is president emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

Robin Steans currently serves as Executive Director of Advance Illinois, an independent statewide education policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that Illinois provides a world-class education to every student. Ms. Steans has spent the last sixteen years working on public school reform. She has served as Issues Director of the Small Schools Coalition and as Associate Director of Leadership for Quality Education. Ms. Steans taught at public high schools in Boston, San Francisco and Chicago before going on to earn her law degree.

Ms. Steans serves as a Director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and Ingenuity, an organization dedicated to ensuring the arts are a critical component of every CPS student�s education.

Ms. Steans also serves on the Advisory Board of the Community-based Service Learning Center at DePaul University and is co-founder and past Board Chair of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago. Ms. Steans helped found and serves as a Director of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School and has served on two Local School Councils. She was recently elected Board Chair of the Policy Innovators in Education- a national network of organizations working in the education reform space.

Finally, Ms. Steans is an active trustee of the Steans Family Foundation, where she helps guide education and community development grant-making in the North Lawndale community.

Ms. Steans graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Brown University, received her Masters degree in Education from Stanford University, and attended law school at the University of Chicago, where she graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif. She is married and has three children, all of whom attend or graduated from Chicago Public Schools.


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