Jack Franks and the Illinois Federation of Teachers – Follow the Money

The bilboard on Route 47 last fall that sent Jack Franks up the wall.

Regular readers may remember my extreme disappointment with liberal Democrat Jack Franks’ vote to sentence poorly-educated Chicago children to more of the same.

Chicago Pastor and State Senator James Meeks got a bill through the State Senate that would have offering an alternative.  A variation of a voucher system in which parents of kids in failing schools would be able to take some money misspent now and use it to enroll their children in other schools where they hoped the education would be better.

The Chicago Teachers Union (which controls the Illinois Teachers Federation or IFT) didn’t manage to beat the bill in the Senate, but they killed it in the Illinois House…with Jack Franks’ help.

Now, with the announcement of his retiring from politics, Pastor Meeks seems to be saying that he tried the world’s way and it didn’t work.  Maybe he’ll start a private school at his church.

The bill, by the way, would have saved state taxpayers about $240 million a year.

But Jack Franks voted, “No,” anyway.

He went with the Illinois Federation of Teachers union, instead of what he should have  known was the right thing to do.

He got no heat for this disappointed vote from anywhere but McHenry County Blog to the best of my knowledge.

There are some local politicians whom the county’s newspaper of record, the Northwest Herald, make look good.  No doubt about that.

More recently the IFT lobbyists who were undoubtedly whispering in Jack Franks’ ears were caught with their hands in the Downstate Teachers Retirement System Fund.

Pretty indefensible.   One was going to get over a $100,000 a year for having substitute taught ONE day.

Jack Franks got publicity for his efforts to end the pension abuse of the IFT lobbyists whose advice he followed on Sen. James Meeks' school choice bill. The Chicago Federation of Teachers controls the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

So, what does Jack Franks do?

Like a fighter jet under attack, he tossed chaff out to make sure he doesn’t get brought down.

He attacks the IFT’s lobbyists’ pension abuse.

What nobody bothers to ask is,


Could it be because State Representative Jack Franks has gotten a lot of money from teachers’ unions over the years?

Of course not.

There is never any connection between the way a legislator votes and the contributions he or she receives, is there?

But after you look at the campaign contributions that Jack Franks has received over the years, you might want to ask him why he voted to poor mainly black and brown students in the Chicago school system to a continuing subpar education when he could have done something about it that would have saved $200 million a year and not hurt anyone in his legislative district.

$78,150 from the IFT and its local affiliates.

Anybody wonder why Franks sold out Chicago children or why he threw the IFT lobbyists under the bus, so to speak?


Jack Franks and the Illinois Federation of Teachers – Follow the Money — 3 Comments

  1. As for the Chicago children, I would guess Franks was just voting with the union’s desire.

    As for the two IFT lobbyists, Franks and Madigan had to do something because the legal TRS pension abuses were so bizarre and egregious. The bill allowing the abuses was signed by Blagojevich in 2007. Both Franks and Madigan were in the House then. The teachers were hopping mad when they discovered union leaders were eligible for, and contributing to, teacher pensions after having substitute taught one day. The bill allowed the two union leaders to contribute to the TRS pension based on their work before and after that one day of substitute teaching. Just bizarre that was actually written into law. Dysfunctional state legislature. It just shows you how bold the lobbyists and legislators are. That was simply a law enrich those two at taxpayer expense.

    Here’s a link to a Chicago Tribune story which sheds more light on the 2 IFT union leaders who substitute taught for one day.

    Chicago Tribune
    2 teachers union lobbyists teach for a day to qualify for hefty pensions
    State legislature opened a small window that they climbed through in 2007
    By Ray Long and Jason Grotto, Tribune Reporters
    12:16 a.m. CDT, October 22, 2011


    From the article, “Steven Preckwinkle, the political director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and fellow union lobbyist David Piccioli were the only people who took advantage of a small window opened by lawmakers a few months earlier.”

    Isn’t that a shocker. In 2007 a union leader, and another lobbyist, dealing with state politicians, miraculously find themselves eligible to participate in the lucrative TRS teacher pension system based on a brand spanking new state law in 2007.

    I bet those two IFT union employees are jealous that Reg Weaver of the NEA gets to keep his pension which includes years of service as a union employee. But Reg taught for years, not one day. And Reg works for the NEA which is more powerful than IFT.

    Another Tribune article.
    Union pension abuse crackdown gains steam in Springfield
    November 09, 2011|By Ray Long | Clout Street

    On February 27, 2007 then Governor Rod Blagojevich signed Public Act 94-1111 (Senate Bill 36) which allowed the pensions abuses.



    Teachers Retirement System (TRS) is the pension system that covers “downstate” Illinois teachers and administrators. In Illinois political vocabulary, “downstate” is everyone outside the City of Chicago.

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