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Dear Members,

America is a country where all kids have the right to a quality public education that helps them reach their full potential. So you’d expect the next Secretary of Education – who shapes education policy and what happens in our nation’s schools – to be an experienced educator, or someone who has served as an administrator or on school boards, or at the very least sent their own children to public schools.

But Betsy DeVos – President-elect Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of Education – has zero experience serving in public schools and is not qualified for the job. In fact, her only experience with public education is the decades she’s spent trying to dismantle it.

You signed our open letter demanding a secretary who is committed to an inclusive vision of American education. Now, it’s time to act.

Tell your senators: We need a secretary of education who wants to improve public schools, not undermine them. Vote NO on DeVos.

As a lobbyist and political donor, Betsy DeVos has a decades-long track record of working to undermine public education and privatize our public schools, harming students in the process. 

  • She favors schemes like vouchers to divert taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools. 
  • DeVos has pushed for-profit charter schools which allow corporations to profit off of taxpayers, with no real accountability.
  • In Michigan, she fought for a tax cut to benefit wealthy families, even though it would result in enormous budget cuts for public schools.

We need a secretary of education who will support and strengthen public schools, fulfilling the promise of a great public school for every student, regardless of their ZIP code. Someone who wakes up every morning dedicated to students and public education.

Betsy DeVos has said she wants to “retire public schools.” Do you think she’s the right person to entrust with making sure every student has access to a quality public education?

Email your senators now. Tell them to vote NO on Betsy DeVos.

Thank you,

Mary Kusler

Senior Director, NEA Center for Advocacy


A letter from our IEA President regarding the upcoming vote on November 8th:

Dear IEA-NEA Members,
A proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution will be presented to voters during the general election Nov. 8. The amendment (shown below) would add Section 11 to Article IX of the Illinois Constitution. The amendment is a limitation on the power of the General Assembly or a unit of local government to use, divert or transfer transportation funds for a purpose other than transportation.
The IEA supports the proposed amendment. We believe that funds dedicated or appropriated to specific agencies and sectors should not be diverted. Education and other essential services should receive their full funding. Ultimately, the Governor and the General Assembly need to pass legislation for sufficient revenue so that education, human services, transportation and others are not competing for too few resources.
Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution
Explanation of Amendment
The proposed amendment adds a new section to the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment provides that no moneys derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes, relating to registration, titles, operation, or use of vehicles or public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, or airports, or motor fuels, including bond proceeds, shall be expended for other than costs of administering laws related to vehicles and transportation, costs for construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or other forms of transportation, and other statutory highway purposes, including the State or local share to match federal aid highway funds. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.
YES                              For the proposed addition of Section 11 to
NO                               Article IX of the Illinois Constitution.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Government Relations Department.
Thank you,


Are you wondering what Trump’s thoughts are on education? Click on the photo below for an article from the NEA about his stance on education.


by Félix Pérez; image courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Tell Gov. Rauner: “Release the MAP grant funds, sign SB2043” 
A bill on Governor Rauner’s desk could go a long way toward helping the thousands of Illinois students who rely on MAP grants to help pay the cost for their education and the higher education institutions that serve those students.
The governor is threatening to veto Senate Bill 2403, which would release MAP grant funds.
The situation is dire for Illinois colleges and universities.
Without the MAP grant funds or a state budget this year, Chicago State University is on the brink of closing down. Other state schools are implementing severe cuts — Western Illinois University is laying off 50 faculty members and Eastern Illinois University is also struggling.
This is a crisis for Illinois higher education. Releasing the MAP grant funds is crucial.
The IEA Higher Ed Council and the Illinois Federation of Labor Higher Education are organizing a Blitz call to the governor on Feb. 18! 

Please call the numbers below and bombard the governor’s telephone system on Feb. 18!
Tell the governor and/or his staff that higher education and MAP Grants must be funded and he should sign SB2043.
217-782-0244 or 217-782-6830 (Springfield)
312-814-2121 (Chicago)
Or leave a message on his online communication portal:
Please call now and SHARE THIS MESSAGE!

Statement from IEA President Cinda Klickna on Rauner’s budget address

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 17, 2016 – The governor’s budget, despite the funding proposal for preK-12 education, is a great disappointment to the 130,000 educators who are members of the Illinois Education Association, because it fails to meet our students’ needs.

The governor’s proposal continues to financially starve higher education at a time when funding cuts threaten the very existence of some our state’s finest colleges and universities.

In addition, many students come to our classrooms from extremely stressful homes, which has a tremendous negative impact on the ability of these children to learn.  Agencies that help our state’s most vulnerable citizens, by providing child care, by providing services that help veterans, senior citizens and children, have reduced programs or shut down completely as a result of Governor Rauner’s misplaced priorities.

The governor’s job is to unite Illinois, but this proposal continues his “divide and conquer” approach to governing. It is time the governor put his political priorities aside and propose a budget that meets the needs of all citizens.

Recommendation of Hillary Clinton:

NEA and IEA have recommended Hillary Clinton for President in the Primary elections.

If you, or IEA members you know, support Hillary, please encourage them to become NEA Activists and register at: and visit for volunteer opportunities.


A message from Prospect Heights:

A Message from the Illinois NEA Directors to the IEA Board of Directors and Grassroots Political Activists
Today, your NEA Board of Directors voted to recommend the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States in the Democratic Primary Election.  Clinton received 75 percent of the vote from the 174-member NEA Board, which has voting representatives from all NEA constituents and affiliates.  The NEA Board of Directors recommendation requires at least 58 percent support. The Board’s action came after the NEA Political Action Council had voted by an 85% majority to recommend Hillary Clinton for President in the Democratic Primary.
Your Illinois NEA Directors voted unanimously for the recommendation of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary Elections.
Among the considerations raised during the recommendation discussions were the candidate’s history on education and union issues, electability, and support for the candidate from elected officials, minority and women’s organizations.  During a town hall discussion with the NEA Board of Directors, Secretary Clinton literally promised not to make education decisions without us, the NEA, at the table and in the room.
The primary election decision followed discussions with members since our Representative Assembly in Orlando this summer, a discussion with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia at the IEA September Board meeting, a sample national survey of NEA membership, and hours of debate online and in person in Washington, DC.  Secretary Clinton also made herself available for a phone conference with NEA members in September and spent 90 minutes answering questions in person at the NEA Board meeting in Washington on Oct. 3rd.
According to IEA President Cinda Klickna, who also serves on the NEA Political Action Council, former Secretary of State Clinton, who received the NEA’s Friend of Education Award in 1999, is a lifelong supporter of public education, and of the collective bargaining rights of education employees.
“Hillary Clinton has always been on the right side of the key education issues. She supports reducing the role of standardized tests. She believes in equal opportunity for all students, regardless of their ZIP code. She opposes school vouchers and supports making college more affordable.
“She will fight to ensure all students have access to arts education, school nurses, librarians and counselors, and funding. Hillary Clinton will be a true champion for students and public education” Klickna said.
To be considered for a recommendation, candidates must complete a questionnaire and sit for an in-person, videotaped interview with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garc?a. The videos were made available to NEA members via the Internet.
The NEA questionnaire was sent to all viable presidential candidates, including Republicans, Democrats and third-party candidates.
The only presidential candidates to complete this process were former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senator Bernard “Bernie” Sanders of Vermont.  President Eskelsen-Garcia complimented all three of the Democratic candidates who participated in the NEA recommendation process and said that all three are true friends of public education.
This is the fourth time that NEA has made a recommendation for a primary election since the 1970s.  Any recommendation for the General Election will come before the 2016 NEA Representative Assembly.
If you or your members have any questions please ask them to contact one of your NEA Directors.
President Cinda Klickna with with Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton
A Letter from Lilly Eskelson Regarding the Presidential Candidacy Recommendation:

My fellow educators,

I wanted to be the first to let you know that your elected representatives to the NEA PAC Council and the NEA Board of Directors took action to recommend Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary for President of the United States.  I am so proud of the thoughtful, thorough and incredibly rich discussion that your elected leaders held.  It was truly what democracy looks like.

I am also extremely proud of this decision because I know that Hillary is a strong leader who will do what’s best for the future of all of America’s students and public schools.

After an extensive review of the candidates and an in-depth discussion, your leaders saw what I know – Hillary Clinton will be a champion for students and educator in the White House. She has a 30 year history of standing up for students and strong public schools and has actively engaged in conversations with educators in this campaign.  Secretary Clinton told your leaders today that she won’t make a single decision about developing education policy without educators being in the room.

As a U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton was a champion for our cause, earning an “A” grade from the NEA for her support on the issues most important to our students, but even before serving in the Senate, Clinton was a champion of the students we educate. While every first lady has an admirable cause, Hillary chose to stand up to the for-profit healthcare industry to advocate for children’s healthcare. Her campaign ultimately led to the largest expansion of public health care in decades, when millions of American children received health coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Even before running for president, Hillary championed early education and affordable college, and she sponsored efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work and to make it easier for workers to join a union.

See for yourself – click here to learn more about where Hillary stands on the issues.<>

And in 2016, the stakes for strong public schools will be too high to sit on the sidelines! Right now, there are presidential hopefuls who have made a career of attacking educators and public education to the detriment of students. They have allies like the Koch brothers, who have committed to spend $1 billion to defeat a pro-public education candidate like Hillary Clinton and taking control of the White House.

With so much at stake, you cannot sit on the sidelines – America’s students need you today! And that is why I am asking you to join our campaign stand up for our students and make sure that we give all students the opportunity to a quality education. Please sign up here.<>

Together, we can help elect Hillary Clinton as our next president and ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

– Lily

Lily Eskelsen Garcia
National Education Association President

Pictures from the IEA-RA:
will hogan, gpa with sen. durbin

Senator Dick Durbin and Will Hogan, Region 43 member

region 43 goteam team with sen. durbin

Senator Durbin and the Region 43 members

delegate liz freiburger with gov.

Governor Pat Quinn and Liz Freiburger

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