Education reformers set post-strike agenda

September 25, 2012

At a press conference convened Tuesday by Advance Illinois, representatives from numerous education reform groups laid out their post-strike agenda for Illinois schools.

They touted solutions favored by Advance Illinois and the state P-20 council, many of which are already under way: Expanding early childhood education and implementing a new state kindergarten assessment, improving teacher and principal training and evaluation, expanding community schools and career education, and improving struggling schools.

But questions about Rahm Emanuel's post-strike ad campaign -- as well as the effectiveness of Senate Bill 7, which was supposed to help prevent strikes, particularly in Chicago -- lingered over the gathering.

Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois, said that the strike restrictions were just one small part of the overall reforms included in Senate Bill 7. Steans said the goal of the law was to encourage districts and unions to avoid strikes. But, she added, "there's a million reasons why strikes happen. It's bigger and deeper than only one piece of legislation."

When asked whether Advance Illinois would back legislation banning strikes outright, Steans said "it is too soon to have any thoughts or discussions about that."