Saturday, March 22, 2014


*Lots of people (see below) have answered the call since last night! THANK YOU. Still, everyone needs to do his or her part--- fill out a slip as a proponent.

Ok, I'm ratcheting up the threat level from Red Alert to SUPER BLINKING RED ALERT on HB 6005, the Charter Accountability Act, which has a hearing in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Monday, April 24, which is in two  one days  today.

And just to be clear, the threat is from apathy, inertia, or fatigue, not the bill. The bill is the best charter bill of the season and deserves your immediate support. 

In order to get laws that counteract the destruction of the privatization movement, we have to first get bills out of committee. It's Saturday evening, and as of this post, I am the only person in Illinois affirmed as a proponent of this excellent bill.**( awesome update below) 

We really need to have about a thousand other people filling out witness slips, so that during the hearing, someone can point out that the overwhelming majority of official witnesses are in favor of the Act. You can bet that on Monday morning, the charter people, the Stand For Children money-hurling mafia, and at least one of the Steans heiresses are going to sign in as opponents.

Look at the witness list as of 5:30 PM Saturday night.**(update below)

I feel like Gladys Kravitz at the window. Abner! Abner! These bills don't pass themselves, and they don't pass if people think nobody cares about them. Please, please, please fill out a witness slip as a proponent. You can even submit testimony, like PURE recently did for three related bills.  In a previous post, I explained how to submit the written testimony, but here it is again.

But you don't have to do written testimony. You can just do what I did in this earlier video (about a different bill). Click here to get started.

This bill on deck for Monday, HB6005, is the best bill I've seen for clearing up some of the standard abuses in the charter sector. Read the whole bill and tell me what's in there that you disagree with. There won't be anything. It's a GREAT bill that needs witnesses as proponents for it. The charter people will fight it tooth and nail because it puts sunlight on things that they'd rather have stay in the dark.

HERE IS THE SPECIFIC WITNESS SLIP FOR HB6005. Please fill one out as a proponent right now, and then have your friends do the same. If you run an organization (and are authorized to speak on its behalf), fill one out on behalf of your organization. If you're just an individual citizen, then fill out the blanks as "Private Citizen" or whatever you like. I myself am a member of many organizations, including the IFT, but the only one I "represent" in public forums is RPNPS.

Here's CTU's positive assessment of the bill, and frankly, they've left out a number of really good things about the it!

Please don't wait. IFT will probably not weigh in (more on that later), and IEA is, in my humble opinion, totally asleep at the wheel. This is up to us. We have to pass this bill at the grassroots level-- people have worked for days and days on these bills; we could use a little help here, from everyone!




**UPDATE 9:54 PM Jennie Biggs informs me that it's possible others have witness-slipped this bill earlier and aren't showing. I agree.  Anyway, looks like the cavalry is riding in. Thank goodness! Join in! Tell your friends! Holy Guacamole! Look at all the people filling out witness slips. Heroes, all of them. Join in! (This is the list as of 9:15 PM Sunday. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assert that the 113 witness slips filed already represent the highest number of witness slips ever submitted on behalf of a bill at a hearing. Let me check with the historians tomorrow.) Will check back in the morning.

And look who's opposed:
And now there are two. I've not heard of this second individual's group, but I'm not all-knowing either.  A quick Google search of the name returns data on someone who doesn't seem like a charter school person, or a person in Illinois. Maybe she'll clarify; maybe it was a mistake.

Incidentally, you'll note that other individual is a veteran lobbyist, not an educator. He's a guy you would definitely hire if you could afford him. He gets face time the old fashioned way, and there he is, fighting off basic standards of accountability for the charter schools. We may have the numbers, and we may have the basic goodness of the bill itself, but he might just have some mojo that normal civilians don't have access to. Keep at it!

I defy you to fine one thing in the full text of the bill that would be unfair or inappropriate for a publicly funded charter school. One thing! The charters want all of the funding and none of the accountability, and it isn't right.  JOIN US NOW.

Use this to fortify your resolve!


Remember, these Witness Slips are your way of participating in a hearing before the Illinois House of Representatives. It's not a petition. You fill out one per bill, you use your whole name, you leave your real phone number and address. You might even dress up a little while filling it out online. [Ok, that part's silly.]

I'm heading up north to visit the ice and snow. I hope this bill gets out of committee. Will someone let me know on Twitter? Thanks. 

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