Amy Biancheri is a Batavia High School teacher and local IEA leader.

Governor Rauner’s vision for Illinois includes the elimination of public employee unions, especially education employee unions.

“The critical issue is to separate the union from the teachers. They’re not the same thing,” Rauner said in September 2012.

“The union basically is a bunch of politicians elected to do certain things — get more pay, get more benefits, less work hours, more job security. That’s what they’re paid to do. They’re not about the students. 

This is a classic “divide and conquer” strategy in which victory is achieved by isolating an opponent from allies, making the opponent weakened and conquerable.

Governor Rauner wants parents of school children, and the general public, to buy into his bogus characterization of what unions and union members are about.

That’s why it is crucial that IEA tell the real story.

The new IEA radio ad introduces Batavia High School teacher and local union leader Amy Biancheri, who explains how her union helps make quality education possible.

After the kids leave for the day is a time I can spend making school better for the next day, for the next semester, for the next year.

My students… I’m their teacher… But I’m also their advocate.

Teachers like me… we are the voice of our students… and IEA is our voice. I couldn’t do my job as well without their help.

I’ve been involved with IEA since the very beginning of my teaching career. It’s made me a better teacher.   And that makes my kids better students. 

Biancheri’s union, the Batavia Education Association (BEA) has partnered with the school administration to improve teaching and learning conditions. Here are just a few examples:

  • Administrators and union reps worked together to creatively change the schedule one day a week to create “Bulldog Hour,” in which teachers can meet with students to tutor them, give extra help, do AP practice, etc.  
  • Administrators worked with BEA representatives to problem solve ways to decrease disciplinary issues with students.
  • IEA members organized donations of supplies for homeless students, and the BEA donated six used laptops.

There is much more, but the bottom line is that IEA members in Batavia are working, through their union, to improve teaching and learning for students.

And Batavia is just one example. Similar stories can be told about what IEA members are doing in school districts in every part of Illinois.

The commitment of IEA members to the success of their students is a story that needs to be told.

IEA doesn’t have Gov. Rauner-type resources. He’s probably got more money is his shoe than IEA is spending on radio time.

But what he doesn’t have are people like Amy Biancheri. She’s someone you’d want on your side in a fight.

And not just because she has a black belt in mixed martial arts.

When she’s not teaching at Batavia High School, Amy is an active mixed martial arts enthusiast.

Amy Biancheri epitomizes what IEA and IEA members are all about — working to give students the best education possible.

Spread the word. Share this story on Facebook and Twitter, then Tell us what your local is doing to help students.

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