Lobby Report — February 2011


Lobby Report – February 2011

Illinois Reception for New and Continuing Members of Congress and Staff, Wed. Evening — Cannon House Office Building:

IEA Vice Pres. Bob Blade, IEA Sec-Treas. Cinda Klickna, NEA Directors Mike Orr, Gary Miller, Al Llorens, Kathi Griffin, Terrie Tudor, Jim Grimes, Eric Brown, IEA Gov. Relations Dir. Jim Reed, and Lobbyist Michelle Ishmael

Members of Congress attending: Biggert, Costello, Dold, Hultgren, Johnson, and Quigley; and staff attending those offices as well as from Sen. Durbin and Reps.  Davis, Kinzinger and Schilling’s offices.

An IEA Congressional Rally Team from Region 29 joined NEA Directors and IEA Officers for the reception and lobbying on Capitol Hill:  Le-Ann Broshous, Emerson Elementary School, GPA – Region 29; Della Frencl, Komensky Elementary School; Christine Zogas, IEA-Retired, Emerson Elementary School; Sharon Pierscionek, Komensky Elementary School, all South Berwyn D100; Lisa Weber, Garfield School; Michelle Witt, Irving School, both Maywood District 89; and Ruth Soppet, Lincoln School, River Forest District 90.  IEA President Ken Swanson also attended Rally Team events.  NEA Staff attending included: Dennis Friel, Midwest Director; and Merwyn Scott and Mary Kusler, NEA Government Relations.

After attending an NEA Government Relations legislative briefing, your NEA-Retired Directors headed for Capitol Hill to lobby our Congressional Delegations on two major topics:

  • Assessing teaching effectiveness: The primary responsibility for teacher assessment and evaluation rests at the state and local levels. States and localities should collaboratively develop, with teacher representatives, effective teacher evaluation systems. The focus of such systems should be to improve individual, as well as whole school, teaching practice so that students benefit from the best teaching. Such systems should include evidence of instructional quality, evidence of professional growth, and mutually agreed upon evidence of growth in student learning and competency.
  • Funding for education: A strong public education system is critical to the future strength and economic well-being of our nation. Providing mandates without the resources necessary to implement them simply sets up schools and students for failure. Competitive grants, such as Race to the Top, do not provide the necessary funds to all states. Currently, the federal government only funds 16.9% of the promised 40% of the cost of providing services under IDEA, leaving states and local districts to fund a $15.8 billion shortfall. Title I receives about 58% of the authorized level for a funding gap of $10.5 billion.

Thursday Capitol Hill Visits:

Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17)

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14)

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL-8)

Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL-14)

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL-3)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R- IL-11)

NEA Social Security Fairness Task Force including Mike Orr and Gary Miller, met with Congressional sponsors for WEP-GPO legislation:  Rep.  Howard Berman (D-28-CA) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). The directors thanked the co-sponsors for their efforts on the repeal of GPO/WEP.  The NEA was informed that once House Rules are decided for 112th Congress, Congressman Berman will reintroduce Social Security Fairness Act for the 6th time.  NEA will need continued grassroots efforts.

Directors also dropped off literature at the offices of:  Reps. Rush, Jackson, Guitierrez, Manzullo, and Shimkus. Directors will follow up with in-state contacts with these and all members of the Illinois Congressional delegation including Senators Durbin and Kirk.

Senator Mark Kirk’s new education assistant is Jeannette Windon.  Staff member Shauna McCarthy will be focusing on Health Care.

Comments by Members of Congress:

Rep. Biggert— Congresswoman Biggert is concerned with what might come of the cuts in the budget.  She is not sure where vouchers are going but feels that it is going to be an uphill battle.  Directors have asked other GOP members to consult with Rep. Biggert on education issues.

Rep. Hultgren—Wants options available for all students.  He is not opposed to supporting vouchers but feels that public schools need to be funded adequately.  He would like to hear of success stories from Illinois classrooms.  He will work with Director Terrie Tudor in establishing an education advisory committee.

Rep. Walsh—He says there will be cuts to all areas, including education.  He favors local control.  Director Kathi Griffin will assist the Congress Member in setting up his advisory committee.


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