ILLINOIS GOVERNOR REVEALS PENSION REFORM PLAN
I won’t go into details about the “Reform Plan”, I’m sure you have heard and read about it in the news. I doubt it will be acted upon by the legislature until after the November election. The legislators don’t have the intestinal fortitude to consider anything until the election is over.
I do want to comment on the message that it sends to the teachers of Illinois. I believe the reform sends the following message:
1. When the governor says that education is the number one priority in Illinois, he doesn’t include the teachers in that. Education is the most important, teachers are not.
2. We are heading back to the days when college education majors and beginning teachers knew they were entering a profession where pay and benefits will never be on a par with the private sector jobs.
3. Teachers had a nice little run of several years where they were beginning to feel appreciated because their salaries and benefits were climbing, those days are over, it’s back to being the same old underappreciated profession.
4. Forget about attracting the “best and the brightest” to the teaching profession in Illinois. If you want good pay and benefits, get into the business world. The CEO of Motorola received 47 million dollars in compensation last year. Get the idea ?
5. Now that benefits are heading down, don’t expect the recently added pressures of teaching to also lessen. Those will continue to increase. The education reformers now have teachers right where they always wanted them; an increase in workloads and demands, and less pay and compensation.
6. Constitutional laws and contracts mean nothing in the State of Illinois. We have the most corrupt politicians in the country, but now we also have lost the rule of law. When laws and contracts can be “legally” violated by our legislators, what’s the point of having them? Actually, I’ve exaggerated the situation, the only ones I know of that have been violated involve teachers and their pensions. Maybe only teachers have fallen victim to the violations because we value education so much in Illinois. Let that be a warning to other professions, when legislators in Illinois say they”value” you, watch out, that’s an ominous sign for you.
7. Conservative “think tanks” like the Illinois Policy Institute can now rejoice that some of their goals are within reach. Their millions of dollars spent on targeting teachers and their unions are paying big benefits. The NEA, IEA, and AFT were no match for the “big boys”. They know how to play in the rough and tumble world of image making.
8. Current teachers who are now going to pay more into their retirement plans, receive less of a contribution from the state, have to work longer in order to retire, have to pay more for health insurance, and receive less in COLA increases, need to look on the bright side. You always stated that you weren’t in the teaching profession because of the money, now is your chance to prove it. Don’t worry about any of this, just enjoy your job and be happy.