State News Roundup for May 1, 2011
Illinois -New IEA Radio Ad Highlights Reform Work
The latest IEA radio ad focuses attention on the work the organization’s members are doing to improve education in Illinois.
The ad, which features Centralia high school teacher Tron Young, highlights IEA’s many years of emphasis on school improvement, the latest example of which is Senate Bill 7, recently passed by the state senate and awaiting action by the Illinois House.
You can hear the ad below and find more information on the Illinois Education association website.
Maryland – DREAM Act Passes
Maryland’s DREAM Act was approved late in the night on the final night of session. This legislation will provide children of undocumented individuals the ability to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges or universities if they meet the following requirements: live in Maryland at least three years, graduate from a Maryland high school, able to prove that their parents or legal guardians have paid taxes, file an affidavit that they will begin the process toward legal residency, and register for selective service.
New York – Westchester Teachers Protest Hiring of Union-Busting Superintendent
The Journal News described it as a “sea of teachers” who protested the hiring of an anti-union superintendent from Wisconsin. Here’s a link to the full article. The school board voted 7-0 to hire Paul Kreutzer and he will start July 1 with a starting salary of $245,000. The New York Times has more in depth and Kreutzer’s promise that “I’m not coming here as a union buster” but when asked why he wanted to move to Westchester County he described himself as “upwardly mobile” and a “wanderer.”
Louisiana – LAE Chastises Chas Roemer’s Push to Abolish Teacher Tenure
The Louisiana Association of Educators rejects Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member Chas Roemer’s recent statements pushing for an abolishment of teacher tenure.
“Tenure is not the guarantee of a job for life,” says LAE President Joyce Haynes. “Tenure is simply a right to due process and provides job security for teachers who have successfully completed a rigorous and closely monitored process.”
Roemer sent letters to all BESE members and state lawmakers last week, asking for a written pledge that they will work to end teacher tenure. Roemer is pushing for a plan to eliminate tenure, fire thousands of teachers, and give a merit raise only to the top 25 percent of public school teachers in the state. LAE believes that Roemer is on the wrong track. His belief that education is a simple world of just two variables diminishes the complexities of all schools and undermines the craft of teaching in the midst of a multi-variant system.
Colorado – House Vote Dooms Bill to Make College Affordable for Thousands
The House education committee voted on party lines, April 25, to kill Colorado ASSET, which was projected to help hundreds of students a year afford a higher education while putting millions of dollars into the cash strapped higher education system.
“Disappointed cannot begin to describe how I feel about what Republicans have done to students across Colorado,” began Kristee Paschall, chair of the Higher Education Access Alliance (HEAA) and Director of Operations of Metro Organizations for People (MOP).
“As an organization that works directly with students and understands the value of higher education its unfortunate Republicans are walking away from an addition $4 million a year for higher education,” stated Jim Chavez Executive Director of the Latin American Education Foundation (LAEF) and a HEAA Steering Committee member.