While it may have been a quiet holiday for most of us, the Illinois state legislature was busy readying a vote to reduce pensions for teachers and state employees, as a way to address the under-funding of the pension system. Of course, no one seems to talk about the legislature’s habit of skipping required payments into the system. So teacher pensions are under attack, with the timing cleverly arranged calendar-wise to minimize public attention or opportunity for those affected to voice their concern.
At least the unions in the state are speaking out. So how about teachers’ own individual voices? I was able to find one rather whiny letter to the editor from a retired teacher, on a local small-town newspaper.
But here’s a contrast on another issue, in — surprise! — the state of Texas (thanks to Debra Gurvitz for calling this to my attention). There, the state board of education was being lobbied by far-right activists to reject the adoption of several science textbooks that, horrors, explained evolution as a central principle in biology. But Kathy Miller, President of the Texas Freedom Network, launched a petition drive on the CREDO Action website and obtained 163,000 signatures. Here’s the story, from the Texas Freedom Network website. And here’s what the campaign web page looked like in the midst of the effort. We don’t know how many of the signers were teachers, though of course having the argument come from parents is even better. Either way there’s a lesson here!
Teacher advocacy, Teacher Voice