Monday, November 18, 2013

The Illinois Policy Institute Has Launched an Attack on the Illinois Education Association

from the IEA:

“The Illinois Education Association is under attack by a group intent on taking away collective bargaining rights. IEA members in several districts have been receiving emails in their school mailboxes from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) urging members to withdraw their support from IEA and from IEA’s political action committee, IPACE. In the email, IPI describes itself as a ‘non-partisan policy research organization.’ That is a lie. 

“IPI is an anti-union, anti-public education lobbying group dedicated to the privatization of public schools and the elimination of public employee pensions. The Illinois Policy Institute is funded by conservative activists like the Koch brothers, the people behind the attacks on education employees in Wisconsin.

“Unable to win in the Illinois legislature, IPI now wants members to withdraw their support of IEA, the organization that is protecting the rights of school employees and advocating for students. There is no better proof of the success of IEA (and IPACE) than the fact that IPI wants to eliminate [the IEA].

“If the IPI had its way: [IEA] members could be fired at the whim of their principal; education employees would not be allowed to bargain for decent wages and benefits; more taxpayer dollars would be diverted to private schools or to charters that stop their employees from joining unions.

“Regarding IEA’s political action fund, the annual IPACE per-member contribution is $30, which helps IEA keep organizations like the Illinois Policy Institute from destroying pensions and gutting other rights.  

"What you can do: we urge you to talk with your members about this attack on their organization. If any members have any other questions about this issue, please contact your elected IEA state-wide officers – Cinda Klickna, Kathi Griffin, and Al Llorens.”

The Illinois Policy Institute:

As first reported by Capitol Watch, not too long ago Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, proposed a plan that he said is the only way to address the state's pension problems. He said that Moody's, using a new way of estimating the cost, recently estimated that Illinois' unfunded pension liability is more than $200 billion instead of the current estimate of $95 billion.

The IPI plan would freeze defined benefits going forward and replace the state's defined benefit program with a defined contribution plan whereby the state would contribute 7 percent and an employee would contribute 8 percent into an account that would be managed by the employee similar to a 401k plan. The IPI plan would suspend the pension COLA of retirees indefinitely, or until the pension systems are 100 percent funded, which Dabrowksi said is similar to a plan implemented by Rhode Island; raise the retirement age to 67 for new employees and incrementally raise the age for current employees based on their years of service and age. The IPI plan would also shift the normal pension costs to school districts, colleges and universities. (Representatives Tom Morrison and Jeanne Ives have sponsored this bill: HB 3303).

A Closer Look at the Illinois Policy Institute:

According to the Illinois Policy Institute website, they are “dedicated to promoting the principles of liberty in all levels of government. While the word liberty can be interpreted in many ways and applied to many different arenas we focus specifically on economic liberty and free market principles…

What are Free Market Principles & Theory?

Free market principles are supported by neo-conservatism or neo-liberalism and perpetuated by a “corporatists’ crusade”; they are aligned with the policies of the “Chicago School” ideologues, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. These doctrines perpetrate a blitzkrieg deconstruction of the middle class, privatization of public ownership and industry (downsizing and parceling out public companies and services to private interests), government deregulation and cuts to spending (thus, stimulating deep economic recessions) and cutbacks or the elimination of the public sphere and all social funding – hence, turning the working class into the “disposable poor” – to loosen control of the flow of money and to produce “freer trade” in the global market marked by an intransigent belief that “it should be left to correct itself.” Global free market theory has surfed “the waves of fear and disorientation” while advancing an ideology of “unfettered capitalism,” leaving inequality and degradation in its wake (Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist, fellow at the London School of Economics, author and filmmaker).

The free market theory caters to self-interested desires and profit to the detriment of other peoples’ lives, all the while promising “freedom and prosperity.” Free market principles advocate that the rich and poor should be taxed at the same flat rate, despite creating a vast inequity; that, for example, education, health care, retirement pensions, national parks (and most any function intrinsic to essential governing) become privatized; that publicly-owned companies, services and their assets be auctioned off to private investors; and that besides allocating vast amounts of wealth and resources from public to private ownership, that in the free market the transfer of private debts to the public sector while public ownership is systematically dismantled ironically continue... For further understanding, read Global Free Market: A Perspective and Admonition.

What about All that Money behind Free-Market Policies for Pension Reform Bills, Privatization, Charter Schools…? Follow the Donors Trust Money Trail:

Donors Trust has injected nearly $400 million into free-market causes, thanks in large part to contributions by dozens of private foundations run by wealthy executives or their families. These foundations have often sought anonymity by passing their grants through Donors Trust, but a Center for Public Integrity review of IRS records reveals some of the largest backers of Donors Trust in recent years:

Charles G. Koch Foundation, Empower Texans Foundation, Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Farmer Family Foundation, Donald and Paula Smith Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, Randolph Foundation, The GFC Foundation, Jaquelin Hume Foundation, William E. Simon Foundation, Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, William Donner Foundation, Castle Rock / Adolph Coors Foundation, Rose Marie and Jack R. Anderson Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Joe and Mary Moeller Foundation, John William Pope Foundation, Anschutz Foundation, Paul Singer Family Foundation…

How Does Money Flow Out from Think Tanks?

Donors Trust has given grants to three national organizations that coordinate free-market policy and media efforts in the states: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the State Policy Network (SPN), and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity (FCGPI). In addition to these umbrella organizations, Donors Trust has directly funded at least 51 state-based think tanks in nearly every state since 2007:

Illinois Policy Institute, Heartland Institute, Manhattan Institute, Knowledge and Progress Fund, Lucy Burns Institute, Independence Institute, Cascade Policy Institute, Searle Freedom Trust, Mackinac Center, South Carolina Policy Council, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, JM Kaplan Fund, Philanthropy Roundtable… This information is from Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states.


  1. Do you have a link for the IEA thing? I did not receive the email, and cannot find it on the IEA website.

  2. The IEA letter is from Janet Kilgus, IEA Retired Chair via a Charlie McBarron email.

    “They have launched the same attack against the IFT and our members. We have responded with a similar email and education campaign to our members” –Dan Montgomery

  3. It is interesting that Ted Drabowski testified for the IPI at the Committee of Ten Legislators who were to come up with a pension "compromise" at the Bilandic Center in Chicago last summer. Read steal from the pensions of retired teachers as well as other public employees. And he is one of the five board members of Virtual Learning Solutions of Fox River Valley, a group that wanted to take public tax dollars from 18 school districts to beginning privatizing education for a Wall Street traded company called K12. The guy has his hands in many endeavors mostly about privatizing education.