IEA Supports NCHS Student Efforts to Push Back Against Over-Testing

Statement of support from President Cinda Klickna on behalf of the Illinois Education Association

The Normal Community High School students who have been protesting the over-emphasis on standardized testing are demonstrating good judgment and excellent citizenship.

The NCHS protest is a great reminder that all of us who work in education, from the administration to the classroom teachers and support staff, need to remain focused, first and foremost, on what is best for the students we serve.

The Normal students know, as do we at IEA, that our nation’s current testing obsession has nudged aside visual arts, music, physical education, social studies, and science, not to mention world languages. Too many of our schools have been reduced to mere test prep factories, where teachers and students perform a script written by someone who has never visited their classroom and where “achievement” means nothing more than scoring well on a “bubble test.”

Our children’s education should not be about learning how to fill in the bubbles on standardized tests. And no one can better articulate that fact than the people who are being subjected to all this testing — the students.

The 130,000 members of IEA applaud the activism of the NCHS students. Their activism exemplifies the mission of IEA: to achieve excellence and equity in education.

VOTE TOMORROW!

Seven candidates running for five seats on the Unit 5 school board

Six candidates are seeking a four-year term on the McLean County Unit 5 School Board and one candidate is seeking a two-year term. There are five open seats. Incumbent Gail Ann Briggs is the only person running for the two-year term. Incumbents Denise Schuster and Mike Trask are running for re-election. Barry Hitchins, Jim Hayek, John Kuk and Glenn Block are also running.

What You Need to Do:

Be Registered to Vote

Get Informed and Involved

  • Click here to see which candidates are recommended by UFEA. Be sure to like and share the image to encourage others to join you!

Vote April 7

  • Polls will be open from 6 am until 7 pm. Be sure to get out and vote!

Public Comments Regarding the Proposed Cut at Carlock & Towanda

At tonight’s Board of Education meeting, UFEA President Karl Goeke shared the following comments with the Board and Administration on behalf of UFEA:

Good evening.

It is our understanding that tonight you intend to name a principal who will have responsibility for both Carlock and Towanda Elementary Schools. I come here on behalf of UFEA, and in support of the parents and community members you’ve heard from previously, to share that we are concerned about this cut and skeptical of the proposed savings.

Additionally, we are concerned that your decision to have one principal shared between two buildings may violate our collective bargaining agreement with you, an agreement we first made about a decade ago when everyone realized having a principal in each building all day was important for the support of staff and the safety of students, and was the responsible thing to do, educationally and economically.

Further, we recognize that the need to find cost savings is almost entirely a result of the State of Illinois not providing sufficient funding or having a sustainable revenue source to support public education. We’ve been advocating for a better system for years to provide adequate, fair funding … and believe we will all need to add our voices to that fight.

But even if this decision did not violate our contract, and even if the reason for the reduction is insufficient revenue from the State, we are still left wondering how this cut makes sense and what it is really going to save … or cost. We’ve asked several questions before tonight that are still unanswered. And we’ve asked for an explanation of the proposed savings, which we’ve still not seen.

We know having a principal out of the building at least half of each week means those responsibilities have to be covered by others. You’ll have to fill those IMC positions or make cuts elsewhere that haven’t been announced. That’s a teaching position. That’s half your savings. You’ll have to provide a nurse in each building more often – at a cost. You’ll have to have a principal designee in those buildings when the principal is absent, at a cost of $100 per day … not to mention the burden that will place on those willing to accept that responsibility so often throughout the year. And, then of course, you may have to provide subs for those who fill in as principal designee. We’ve done some of the basic math. It’s on our facebook page for everyone to see (the post is embedded below). If your math differs, we haven’t seen it yet and we’d like to compare. But, from where we sit, the savings don’t add up, the risks are too great and the cost is too much.

The opening of our Agreement on this issue states that the Board and UFEA both

“recognize the importance of a building principal being available all day at each elementary building. The parties further recognize that a principal in-building each day will provide support to students, staff and parents.”

We still recognize the importance of having a principal in the building all day at each elementary school to handle potential emergencies, keep students safe and to support students, staff and parents. And, given that the savings are questionable and the costs so great, we are left wondering … do you?

Can you make this cut? Perhaps. Should you? Absolutely not. Will you save anything if you do? Maybe. But, at what cost?

 

2015 UFEA Scholarship Applications now being accepted!

The Unit Five Education Association annually awards three scholarships to individuals pursuing a career in education.  UFEA annually awards 2 separate $1000 scholarships to Unit 5 students, and a $1000 scholarship to a high school senior or college student whose parent is (or was) a UFEA member. Applications are now being accepted for:

Phyllis Rosenbaum NCHS Scholarship

This will be awarded to a high school senior, graduating from NCHS and choosing a career in the field of education. Applicants will use the application form and points will be awarded based on a rubric applied by the scholarship committee.

Phyllis Rosenbaum NCWHS Scholarship

This will be awarded to a high school senior, graduating from NCWHS and choosing a career in the field of education. Applicants will use the application form and points will be awarded based on a rubric applied by the scholarship committee.

UFEA Scholarship

This will be awarded to the child of a UFEA member who is a high school senior or college student planning a career in the field of education.

Applications for each $1000 scholarship are due by 3:00 pm on March 20, 2015. Applications should be completed and returned to:

Colleen Moore
Glenn Elementary School
306 Glenn Avenue
Normal, IL 61761

The application form (the same form is used for each of the scholarships) may be downloaded using the links below:

UFEA Contract 2014-2016

The entire 2014-2016 contract may be downloaded using the link below.

Over the next few days, we will work on getting the contract pages of this website updated to reflect the changes!

UFEA Contract 2014-2016  small_pdf_icon