It has been my pleasure to serve as your IEA president for the past six years. The issues we have faced together have been complex and difficult — attacks on our pensions, on our funding, on our union, and on our respect as educators. There will continue to be attacks.
But, as I finish my term, I am proud that IEA has had some victories: We won the Supreme Court case that upheld our pensions; we passed a state budget that should help fund our schools, we’ve had many come to our defense in our right to be in a union, and more and more people applaud the work educators do every day.
Working for the right policies means we can help our students, as well as gain our rights as educators. But, to have good policies means electing the people who will stand up for these policies. I ask you to please engage with your legislators: talking to them about your role in education and your students’ needs, and then getting involved in recommendation meetings and elections.
We also have done some very good work — instituting the SCORE grant program to unite educators and community organizations to do service projects in more than 300 towns and cities across Illinois. And, we made a commitment to educate our members and school administrators about trauma-informed practices in hopes of getting tools into the hands of school employees to help students who need help the most.
I thank you for your support to our union and to me, personally.
Traveling all over the state, I know what dedicated, committed people you are and how much you care about your students and communities where you work.
Thank you for doing what you do – for the students, and for our union.
Please welcome and give support to your new leadership team, President Kathi Griffin, Vice President Al Llorens, and Secretary-Treasurer Tom Tully. I know they will do well and will need your continued commitment to keeping our IEA strong.