Saturday, October 19, 2013

10-19-13 Fred Klonsky | Daily posts from a retired public school teacher who is just looking at the data.

Fred Klonsky | Daily posts from a retired public school teacher who is just looking at the data.

Fred Klonsky | Daily posts

Retiree health care and verification good news? Not enough fruit.
You all must have been making lots of phone calls and sending lots of emails about the switch to Medicare Advantage and the issue of verification of dependent eligiblity. IEA President Cinda Klickna has send out a message to IEA members saying as much. She says that as a result of her fighting to get information, our efforts have gained fruit. What fruit? The timeline for dependent eligibility has

Keeping retirement weird.
  Senator Dan Biss talks reform to teachers and retirees.    I get up to let Ulysses out at around 6:30 AM. Then I feed him. It was still dark when I did that this morning. It may have been dark at 6:30 yesterday morning. But  didn’t notice it. Shorter days. This does not make me happy. Yesterday our retired IEA chapter, other retirees and many still active teachers met at Illinois State Senator


Video: The Dan Biss exchange. Skokie Organization of Retired Educators. IEA Retired.
Video courtesy of the inestimable Tim Furman. .
Skokie Retired and Senator Biss on pensions.
Over thirty retired and active teachers from the north suburbs descended on Democratic State Senator Dan Biss’ district office Friday afternoon. The issues were pensions. And fairness. And health care. And the Constitution and contractual obligations. “You all claim we are putting the entire cost of pension reform on the workers,” Biss explained. “But that’s just not true. We are taking a balanced
The in box. Statement of Progressive Reform Caucus on City Employee Pensions.
CHICAGO (October 18, 2013)–The Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus released the following statement on Friday. Progressive Caucus members include: Ald. Bob Fioretti (2), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Toni Foulkes (15), Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Nick Sposato (36) and Ald. John Arena (45).  Chicago’s thousands of employees keep th
It’s becoming more obvious.
“That’s where the money is.”
  Bank robber Willie “the actor” Sutton. Willie ‘the actor” Sutton was one of America’s most notorious bank robbers. Sutton is famously — but apocryphally — supposed to have answered reporter Mitch Ohnstad, who asked why he robbed banks, by saying, “because that’s where the money is.”   The quote formed the basis of Sutton’s law, often taught to medical students. Sutton’s law states that when dia
The in box. Bev Johns: A Congressional gift for Teach for America.
Did you know that Teach for America (TFA) teachers are highly qualified, at least until 2016? In addition to avoiding financial default and re-opening the Federal government, the bill just passed by Congress and signed by the President, contained a special provision just for TFA, SECTION 145. According to POLITICO, “The provision is seen as crucial for TFA to continue placing its teachers in low-i

OCT 17

The health insurance crisis facing Illinois state retirees. The stories must be told.
In Illinois we don’t know if the changes to our retiree supplemental health insurance that has been proposed by Central Management Services  through Medicare Advantage will be a reduction in coverage. As in the case when an employer changes providers, it may force choices about doctors. Some of us will have to choose between keeping a doctor not in network and paying more or changing a doctor we
Michael Petrilli: “Diane Ravitch is a double agent.”
The Fordham Institute’s newly self-described expert on the poor continues his right-wing inquisition against the heretic, Diane Ravitch. In his National Review review (which he, without an ounce of cleverness, calls Rain of Errors. “Rain” instead of “reign.” Get it?) he denounces her as “Ravitch, the repentant reformer, the double agent.” But then concedes that “she knows the weaknesses in our arg
Dan Biss has been quiet lately. We won’t be.
  State Senator Dan Biss from Skokie, Illinois. A couple of dozen IEA retirees and active teachers will be in front of State Senator Dan Biss’s Skokie district office tomorrow evening around 4:30. It’s at 3706 Dempster. Why Biss’ office. Biss is a member of the Gang of Ten, the joint legislative committee established after the failure of the Illinois House and Senate to agree on anything last Spr

OCT 16

The in box. Retired teacher, retired mayor, retired police commissioner: “I object. I object. I object.”
Dear Governor Quinn, Senator Cunningham, Representative Burke, I hear that your response to those union leaders who have objected to the deplorable treatment retirees are receiving at your hands has been that you, “…have not heard from any of them.” Really? Really? It should come as no surprise to any of you elected “leaders” not to have heard from us as you have given us no information about wha
Ten minute drawing. Empowerment.
Who wants to get rid of the University of Illinois Labor School and why?
  U of I Labor Professor Bob Bruno. Seventy years ago the Illinois legislature created the Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations. The school includes the Labor Education Program that trains union people and a Center for Human Resources Management.  The school offers masters and doctoral degrees and joint degrees with the College of Law and the College of Business. Somebody is not happ
I’m not worried about the government shutdown or default. I’m worried about poverty. I may not be a Nobel Prize winner in economics. But he is.
Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize for economics this year. Just how will I suffer in the U.S. goes into default tomorrow? Or in a couple of months? Brian Williams keeps telling me how serious this is. In the mean while I get emails from retired teachers around the state trying to figure out how they will pay for their medical bills if the current plan to hand over their non-Medicare covered supp
The in box. Dylan Garity. Rigged Game.

OCT 15

A campaign rally in search of a candidate. 2,500 rally to take back Chicago.
Several thousand community activists from across Chicago rallied at the University of Illinois Chicago Forum Tuesday night. It was a boisterous political campaign rally aimed at Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his corporate backers. All that was missing was a candidate. When there is this kind of enthusiasm without a candidate, Rahm must certainly be worried that one will step up. Several state legislators
IEA President and Retired Chair speak out about Illinois retiree health care crisis.
  IEA President Cinda Klickna. IEA President Cinda Klickna and Retired Chair Janet Kilgus today issued a statement about the plans to change retiree health insurance in Illinois. Colleagues,   As you know, changes are planned for the state-backed insurance plans for SURS and TRS retirees.   IEA staff and leaders are working hard to get you the latest insurance information and we’r
I filed a FOIA request for the contract between Central Management Services and HMS. I wanted to know more about their demands for dependent eligibility confirmation.
A couple of weeks ago I started hearing from retirees about what they felt were intimidating demands and threats of an audit on those who had dependent coverage – a spouse, a partner by civil union, a child or guardian. Central Management Services, an agency that works for the governor and has oversight of the state’s health insurance programs, had hired HMS. HMS is based in Arlington, Texas. They
Reports Quinn met with unions to discuss pension solutions. Did the unions offer these common sense revenue solutions?
. WICS NewsChannel 20: It’s a $100 billion problem with no easy solution. Gov. Pat Quinn says the state’s pension crisis is still far from being solved–and the fall veto session is just around the corner. The group of lawmakers responsible for coming up with a pension reform solution is still apparently divided. Five Democrats are in favor of a plan that would save the state $138 billion over
Rauner makes it easy for unions to endorse the anti-union Quinn.
State retiree’s future looks dimmer than five Illinois legislators meeting over lunch. You can forgive us older folks living in Illinois if it feels like they’re piling on. There is the constant threat of what they call pension reform – cutting benefits while raising no new revenue. There are the crazy new requirements for proof of retiree health insurance eligibility. And the shift of Medicare a
No deal pension deal in Springfield. Yet.
“Whatever reform we do shouldn’t be solely on the backs of people who didn’t do anything wrong,” Sen. Toi Hutchison, (D) Olympia Fields. Charles Thomas, the local ABC news political reporter says that it looks bad (or good) for a pension reform deal in the veto session next week. Be clear. We want NO bill to pass in this session. That’s because the only thing that is being considered is how much
Why doesn’t this feel empowering?
CPS had to readjust its numbers. They had to explain why only 60% of students from the 50 schools they closed showed up at the so-called Welcoming Schools. They had predicted 80%. Catalyst reports: Also, the new numbers show that the district still doesn’t know where about 5 percent of the displaced students are enrolled. Some 11,729 students were displaced, including preschoolers and special educ

OCT 14

The in box. What is the root of the current health insurance issue. SB1313 under the radar.
A reader writes: Despite the denials of many organizations at the time, Senate Bill 1313 is the reason we are in the mess we are in with retiree insurance. Many groups said SB 1313 affected ONLY State employees, and not teachers. SB 1313 passed the Illinois House on May 9,2012, by a vote of 74 yes, 43 no; and the Illinois Senate the very next day, May 10, 2012, by a vote of 31 yes, 20 no. On May
Playing lose with the facts on pensions.
  Laura and James Arnold. He made billions after Enron. For those of us who have toiled in the fields of  exposing corporate and political pension raids for many years, it is an honor to welcome  those like Matt Taibbi and David Sirota. As I often remind friends. I’m just a retired K-5 Art teacher who blogs. Sirota and Taibbi are serious journalists and have a huge audience. They are Steven Spiel
Legislative gibberish and the war on public employee retirees.
  State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Kelly Burke and Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury are waging a war on retirees. The war metaphor gets used a lot. And perhaps there’s a diminishing return by using it. There’s the war on the working class. The war on the middle class. The war on women. And of course, there are the real wars. The shooting kind. The twelve-year old War in Afghanistan, for example.
Ten minute drawing. A letter from Elma.
Echoes of Washington. Springfield partisan manipulation and the pension hurt.
  Chair of the Gang of Ten Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul. From the Daily Journal: Four Republicans want a pension crisis fix to be more far-reaching. One of six Democrats wants more concessions to unions. With the Illinois Legislature’s fall veto session a week away, an Associated Press survey of a special 10-member committee tasked with finding a solution to the state’s enormous public pens

OCT 13

The in box. John Dillon: “The specious argument that what will be given will be less, but at least there will be something.”
Responding to Sunday Reads, John Dillon writes: And such an opening statement should be followed by our historical and legal comprehension that in Illlinois (especially), there will be no safeguard constitutionally or morally to prevent the pilfering, misuse, or diversion of expected or even promised funding for workers’ retirements by future members of the General Assembly, the Governor’s Office,
Sunday reads.
  There is an insidious prejudice against older teachers. Don’t say Columbus discovered the Americas. It erases indigenous history. The messy link between slave owners and modern management. Dear Governor Cuomo. I’m writing to express my incredible displeasure at Commissioner John B. King, Jr.’s decision to cancel the state sponsored PTA town hall meetings. As parents, we have legitimate concerns
Important updates on Illinois retiree health insurance and eligibility audits. Our message is breaking through.
The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will be meeting in Springfield on October 23rd. The Commission has oversight over changes to Illinois state retiree health plans. The legislative members are listed here. Yesterday’s Springfield State Journal has a lengthy article addressing retiree concerns over insurance changes and dependent eligibility audits. With complaints

OCT 12

If you are heading to Springfield for the veto session.
The next TRS meeting will be held in Springfield while the first part of the legislative veto session is taking place. The claims hearings are always closed, so the open meeting will start Wednesday, October 23 at 1:00pm at the TRS office at Washington and Veterans Parkway. - Bob Lyons MEETING NOTICE DATE: October 10, 2013 TO: Board of Trustees FROM: Dick Ingram, Executive Director RE: TRS Meetin
It’s not Petrilli’s fault he is like he is. The data suggest rich people are jerks.
  People who know me know that I’m a data driven guy. So when Fordham Institute’s right-philospher Michael Petrilli says the most outrageous things about poor and working people, I chalk it up to what we know from research: Rich people can be a-holes. Take the recent study reported in the New York Times. A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant atte
Keeping retirement weird.
Jessica posted on Facebook yesterday that although she is not a fan of Columbus, she is looking forward to the three-day weekend. Along with my other daughter, Jessica is a teacher. Reading her status I immediately thought that she was going to a conference in Ohio. Since retirement, I often lose track of holidays and days of the week. I forgot that Monday is Columbus day, which for many of my st

OCT 11

From Tim Furman. Byron Sigcho on UNO: Politics and corruption.
Tim Furman is a friend, activist and master of technology. Hi Fred, I’m coordinating a series of talks by the UIC researcher and activist Byron Sigcho in UNO-impacted wards. He’s giving an updated talk about the UNO financial model and its context in the neoliberal phenomenon around the world, as well as the impact of UNO on neighborhoods, and the implications for public education moving forward.