Illinois politicians stand up for public education and students, get “A” grade from NEA

Members of congress from Illinois, both Republicans and Democrats, received high marks in the latest National Education Association congressional “report card” that tracks key votes on education issues.

Thirteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois received top honors: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-3), Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D-4), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5), Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-8), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9), Rep. Robert Dold, (R-10), Rep. Bill Foster (D-11), Rep. Mike Bost (R-12), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-13), and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-17). All those representatives were graded “A” for their work on behalf of students and education during 2015.

Both Illinois’ senators received grades of “A.”

Senior U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s accomplishments include his leadership on higher education issues. Durbin recently submitted a bill that would help college faculty members who, too often, are neglected when it comes to work benefits. The legislation would potentially wipe away thousands of dollars in student loan debt for adjunct professors.

Durbin also introduced “Student Bill of Rights” legislation, co-sponsored legislation that would allow borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower rates, and proposed the “Affordable College Textbook Act.”

Illinois’ junior Senator, Mark Kirk, like fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, was a strong supporter of the “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” which replaced the “No Child Left Behind Act.”  In addition, though it was not included in the final bill, Kirk and Davis fought hard to get the NEA-backed “Accountability Dashboard” included in ESSA.

“We commend the 114th Congress for listening to educators and getting the job done for students. The Congressional passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act is a direct result of what is possible when legislators from both sides of the political aisle put students ahead of partisan politics especially in an era of gridlock in Washington,” said IEA Pres. Cinda Klickna.

“The stakes continue to remain high for families. We hope that the bipartisanship displayed at times last year will lead to greater future collaboration. We will continue to work with all elected officials to ensure the success of every student in America.”

The 130,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is a state affiliate of the National Education Association. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago as well as education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, throughout Illinois.

IEA’s political action arm is the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE), which is funded by voluntary contributions by members. No dues money is used to support IEA/IPACE political activity.

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