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Collaboration between lawmakers and broad-based education coalition leads to historic legislation in Illinois

IEA, IFT, CTU protected teachers’ voices at the table

WASHINGTON - April 14, 2011 -

The Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union today announced support for bold legislation that ensures students will have quality educators in every classroom and a better learning environment in which they can succeed.

“With this agreement that puts children first, our Illinois leaders have shown how collaboration at all levels is the key to success,” said National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel. “From the very beginning of this process, IEA President Ken Swanson was at the table with the IFT and the CTU, urging legislators to put politics aside and work together for the best interests of Illinois’ students.”

The unions worked with legislators and parents to craft the historic legislation. The Illinois union leadership championed key reforms, including: 

  • Ensuring experience and performance are respected;
  • Ensuring teacher dismissal is more efficient and fair;
  • Ensuring accountability for everyone involved in the education of Illinois’ students;
  • Granting tenure to teachers who are performing in the classroom and providing a way to expedite obtaining tenure if a teacher truly excels in the classroom; and 
  • Streamlining the dismissal process for underperforming teachers while protecting teachers’ due process through the addition of a highly qualified evaluator.

“This collaboration between lawmakers, parents and the unions is ground-breaking and led to unanimous support from all involved in the coalition,” Van Roekel said. “We are so pleased that our Illinois affiliate leaders focused on making sure that experienced educators are respected and have a voice in decision-making as they do their jobs, which is to ensure student success.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman  (202) 822-7823,