Sweeping School Reform Bill Targets School Day, Strikes, Bad Teachers
(Chicago Sun Times) — Senate Democrats on Wednesday announced a sweeping education-reform deal that could lengthen the school day and year in Chicago, streamline the dismissal of poorly performing teachers statewide and add new hurdles before teachers can strike and get tenure. “Everything is agreed to,” said Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), who oversaw five months of negotiations between teachers unions, business and reform groups and school boards. The initiative that could surface for a Senate vote as early as Thursday rivals in importance the 1995 package Mayor Daley brokered with Republicans that gave the mayor unfettered control over the Chicago Board of Education. “Honest to god, it’s hard to overstate the significance of this. These are huge changes in how overall decisions get made,” said Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois, one of the reform groups that pushed the changes.