Verschoore-Backed Education Reforms Signed Into Law

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

In an effort to improve educational opportunities for children throughout the state, education reform legislation sponsored by state Rep. Pat Verschoore (D- Milan) was signed into law on Monday.

“We passed these reforms because the state needs to refocus our education system on promoting excellence in both our teachers and students,” said Verschoore.  “When we send our children to school, we should expect nothing but the best for them.  We need to make certain that the best teachers continue to teach our children while struggling teachers receive the support they need to improve.”

Public Act 97-008 reforms the Illinois education system by making teaching excellence a priority over seniority during teacher evaluations.  Teacher unions, reform advocates, and legislators came together to create this groundbreaking legislation.  Under the new law, teacher performance evaluations will be used to highlight the differences between teachers that need improvement and professional development versus teachers that are proficient in their classroom instruction.

Another key element of the legislation changes the collective bargaining and striking requirements for school districts to reduce the likelihood of strikes disrupting students’ educations.   Advocates believe that making the negotiation process more accountable and transparent will result in contract negotiations are fair and result in better quality teachers for our children.

"Identifying and retaining quality teachers is one of the most important factors in ensuring our children receive an education that will prepare them to succeed," said Bob Smith, President of the Rock Island Education Association. "I've witnessed firsthand the tremendous impact good educators can have on our children, and this legislation works to ensure that effective teachers are in classrooms. I want to thank Rep. Verschoore for his support in passing this legislation."

For more information on this or any legislation, please contact Verschoore’s full-time constituent services office at (309) 558-3612.