SPRINGFIELD — Most Illinois school districts are not expected to feel the impact of new education reforms for years.

By Benjamin Yount

SPRINGFIELD — Most Illinois school districts are not expected to feel the impact of new education reforms for years.

Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday inked a series of what are being called landmark education reforms that supporters say will make it easier for local schools to fire bad teachers and retain good teachers and tougher for teachers to strike.

The new law takes effect immediately, but many schools will have to wait until contracts that have been negotiated this summer expire before they feel the effect of the new law.

Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education, said many downstate districts won’t see any changes until at least the 2012-2013 school year, and some may not see any changes until the 2016 school year.

“The part of (the law) that deals with teacher tenure; that’s phased in over a period of years,” said Vanover. “You’ll see some schools begin to implement that in the next couple of years. Each year after that, additional schools would come on board.”

Alton Community Unit School District No. 11 Superintendent David Elson said his district is in the last year of a three-year deal with local teachers. He said he expects to begin negotiating a new contract in October.

“We will (of course) comply with state law as soon as we negotiate a new agreement,” said Elson.

Chicago Public Schools will feel other impacts of the new law immediately. Newly elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to add one hour to the school day, and 10 days to the next school year.

Chicago teachers had fought against a longer day and longer year in the past, but under the new law, the Chicago Teachers Union must adhere to these changes until they can renegotiate them in their new contract before the 2012 school year.

“This legislation will help ensure that Chicago has the tools we need to give our children the education they deserve,” said Emanuel in a statement.

Springfield’s District 186 and Rock Island/Milan School District 41 are preparing to vote on new agreements with local teachers’ unions in the coming days. No one from either district was available for comment.

Elson said the state now needs to define how a school can measure performance and how that measurement will be used to determine which teachers stay and which are let go. Once that happens, he said negotiations between local districts and local unions will focus on money.

“The main thing is how much am I going to get paid (and) what kind of benefits am I going to have,” said Elson.

The new reforms do not address those questions.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Tenure—Finally dawn why public school teachers want it

    After reading Tom Friedman's new book "That Used To Be Us" [excellent, a must read].  He does not talk directly about tenure but his comments about teaching explains the teacher wanting tenure. There are two or three groups—and free speech is not the reason.

    1. Very good teachers who believe students are there to learn, learning requires student involvement and a desire to learn and hard work.  They teach at the level student can/should learn. They won't tell Joey and Susie that they are the salt of the earth and the world will treat them as gods and supply all their needs.  They won't give "A"s who show up [sometimes] and turn-in homework even if incomplete and wrong.

    These teachers fear for their jobs from students and parents who want them fired for not giving "A's for sub-standard work.

    2. Incompetent teachers who long ago got behind in their knowledge of their subject, how to teach and inability to do their job.

    3. Those who have given up and are on auto-pilot until retirement.

    The first group deserve tenure but it should not be needed except for student and parents [and jealous other teachers]  who want to punish them for trying to do the job right.


Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.