On February 8, IEA Region 67 sponsored a forum for Chicago mayoral candidates. Collectively, the group chose to endorse the candidacy of Lori Lightfoot. Ms. Lightfoot spoke passionately - and personally - about the transformative possibilities of higher education and communicated strongly-held positions on each of the categories of policy that were discussed.
Summary of Lori Lightfoot's statements on issues specific to City Colleges:
- Ms. Lightfoot recognized that program consolidations through Reinvention have severely damaged enrollment at City Colleges, and that forcing our students to travel great distances across the city to complete their degrees simply does not make sense.
- Ms. Lightfoot was also critical of the current mayor's approach to contract negotiations and stated that expired contracts fuel instability. She emphasized the need to build relationships before bargaining to encourage settlement of contracts before they expire.
- On the topic of free (community) college tuition, Ms. Lightfoot spoke of the need for equity and opportunity, but qualified this by stating that not every student needs to have their tuition subsidized, depending on a student’s need. She would create a pool of funds for those who are most in need and seek ways to make college more affordable.
- Finally, Ms. Lightfoot was generally supportive of the creation of an elected Board of Trustees for Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges, but offered a caveat about the ways in which big money can undermine the principle behind elections.
- On public safety: Public safety cannot be a commodity that only the wealthy can afford.
- On TIF (Tax Increment Financing): Good concept, bad implementation. These funds should be used in communities and neighborhoods that need them; not downtown development and at Navy Pier.
- On pensions: Pension promises must be kept, but tax dollars are precious. She would appoint a risk manager to oversee the city budget and create a board of advisors for the pension fund.
Though the group was highly impressed with all of the candidates who spoke, there was a consensus around Ms. Lightfoot. Susana Mendoza and Toni Preckwinkle also attended and their statements and policy positions were also well-received. Bill Daley was invited, but was unable to attend. Amara Enyia was also invited, but her campaign did not respond to our invitation.
Based on the results of the February 26 election, Region 67 presidents may reconvene to endorse a run-off candidate. The group also chose to dual-endorse Marianne Lalonde and Erika Wozniak Francis for Alderman of the 46th Ward.
*IEA Region 67 consists of City Colleges Contingent Labor Organizing Committee, Morton Adjunct Faculty Association, Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, United Staff of Columbia College, Triton Adjunct Faculty Association, and St. Xavier University. The presidents of these unions were responsible for voting to support Ms. Lightfoot.
Without warning or discussion of the damage it would do to students and schools, Illinois lawmakers imposed a 3 percent threshold on final average earnings salary increases for any education employees participating in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) or State Universities Retirement System (SURS).
Please sign this petition to encourage lawmakers to reverse this terrible piece of legislation and show educators that their work is valued and that teachers and professors deserve respect.
Tell them to rescind the 3 percent threshold and to support HB 350 and SB 60.
In the final 48 hours of the 2018 legislative session, Illinois’s four legislative leaders sneaked into the budget implementation bill a measure making school districts or universities financially liable for any contribution to those employees’ salaries larger than a 3 percent increase in the final 10 years of their careers. Because educators qualify for a pension after five years and can leave at any time, districts and higher ed institutions would likely institute a 3 percent threshold across the entire contract.
As a result of this legislation, teachers would likely be denied extra compensation for after-school work that benefits students, such as coaching, directing plays, tutoring in the evenings, taking classes toward advanced degrees and, therefore, devaluing the continuing education of our educators and ultimately harming students. In addition:
Reducing benefits to educators will make the already serious Illinois teacher shortage even worse.
At a time when committees are being formed to try to figure out how to keep graduating seniors from fleeing the state and choosing instead to stay at Illinois higher education institutions, this action will drive professors away from the profession.
This would financially harm the teachers of this state who devote their careers to teaching the next generation of students, impacting their salaries now and in the future, by limiting salary growth to no more than 3 percent, when rates of inflation hover around 2.5 to 3 percent each year.
Tell them to rescind the 3 percent threshold.
RAFO is delighted to announce that one of our longtime members, Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, has a new book out! Dr. Stewart teaches composition at Roosevelt and holds a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Malta.
Her new book, titled Mind-Shifting Imagery: Image Guidance for Life Coaches, is a sequel to her earlier books, Image Guidance: A Tool for Spiritual Direction (Paulist Press, 1992) and Image Guidance and Healing(Paulist Press, 1994).
Mind-Shifting Imagery: Image Guidance for Life Coaches provides brief, safe and effective guidelines for using imagery specifically in Life Coaching. This approach can also be used in Spiritual Direction, Pastoral Counseling, Chaplaincy, Psychotherapy and other forms of inner guidance. While she hasn’t used these coaching techniques in her composition classroom, her focus on the use of archetypes, symbolism, and metaphor could be useful in a number of academic disciplines.
To learn more about Dr. Stewart’s early work and how it contrasts with her present focus, you can view this YouTube video.
For more information about her work in Spiritual Guidance, you can visit https://www.elizabeth-annestewart.com.
Hello Fellow Adjuncts,
We hope your year is going well. RAFO would like to offer you an opportunity for your continuing professional development. If you are attending a workshop, conference, seminar to learn new skills, or presenting at a conference, RAFO has a mini-grant available to help you defray your expenses.
Download Professional Development Mini-Grant Application (click the download button in the upper right hand corner).
Review the application form and fill out the information requested. We are accepting applications from now until March 16 for the Spring term. All proposals will be reviewed by the professional development committee, and you will be notified if your application is approved and the amount that will be provided.
If you have any questions about the form or the grant itself, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ami Hicks, Ed.D.
RAFO, Professional Development
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