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To all Members,

As a union, we are, by nature, united. Our voice is stronger because we are together. We won’t let anyone silence our collective voice in advocating for safer, stronger schools and communities.

But that’s exactly what some greedy CEOs, special interests, and politicians are trying to do. With a Supreme Court case called Janus, they want to further rig the system so they can reap more profits — at the expense of the middle class. Their goal is to limit workers’ freedom to join strong unions — limiting the strength of our united voice.
For educators, this means they want to stop you from having a voice to advocate for students and the resources they need to learn.
This is a monumental moment in our nation’s history. The stakes are high for working people, and we need to make sure people are paying attention!
The Supreme Court is hearing the Janus case next week and people across the country are coming together this Saturday, February 24, to show that we will not be silenced.
In solidarity,
Your Friends at the National Education Association

Click to
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                                                          about the
                                                          Janus Case

                                                          what you can

Pledge to
                                                          support strong

                                                          the Working
                                                          People's Day
                                                          of Action on
                                                          Feb. 24.

Find out
                                                          more about the
                                                          Janus case


NEA Education Insider


Senate effort to pass Dreamer fix fizzles

dreamer rallyThe Senate rejected four different immigration proposals, leaving 800,000 aspiring Americans in limbo less than three weeks before the expiration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). More than 20,000 DACA recipients have already lost their deportation protections and work permits, and some 850 Dreamers join them every week; that number will skyrocket after March 5, President Trump’s self-imposed deadline for ending the program. One-fourth of DACA recipients are parents and more than 9,000 are educators who may be forced to leave their classrooms and the only country they have ever truly known – cruel and immoral treatment that could not be further from the ideals America is supposed to represent.take action

“The political will and the public support to protect Dreamers are there but Donald Trump and Senate GOP leaders stand in the way every time. We are not going away. We will not quit. We will not back down. We will continue to raise our voices to defend and protect Dreamers,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

NEA supports the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440) as well as immediate action to address the current crisis – for example, a Dreamer fix combined with reasonable border security measures. NEA strongly opposes the administration’s four-pillar plan, which got just 39 “yes” votes. It calls for a $25 billion border wall accompanied by severe cuts in legal immigration that would take us back to the 1920s, when the United States explicitly excluded immigrants based on their race, ethnicity, and country of origin. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to pass a Dreamer fix now!

Demand that Congress finally acts to prevent gun violence

florida gun shootingSeventeen students and educators were killed and at least 14 injured on Valentine’s Day when a gunman opened fire at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. take action“Our hearts are broken yet again by the senseless and tragic shooting in our nation’s public schools, this time in Parkland, Florida,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We all have a responsibility to create safe schools and communities. As a state and a country, we can and must do more to ensure that everyone who walks through our school doors – educator, student, parent or community member – is safe and free from violence.” Click on the take action button and tell your senators and representative to support common-sense steps to prevent gun violence – now!

Committee approves bill that could help end mass incarceration

courtroomThe bipartisan NEA-supported Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917), passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, would make long-overdue changes in take actionthe treatment of youthful offenders and sentencing guidelines that disproportionately impact communities of color. In effect, the bill bans solitary confinement of juveniles in federal prisons, a harsh practice that undermines the ultimate goal of rehabilitation. It also takes steps to ensure that  mandatory minimum sentences – a major factor in the nearly 800 percent increase in the federal prison population over the last two decades – are not imposed on people with little or no criminal history. Click on the take action button and tell your senator to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

Cheers and Jeers

Republican Senators Jeff Flake (AZ),  Cory Gardner (CO), Lindsey Graham (SC), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and 48 Democrats for voting “yes” on the bill that would have given Dreamers a path to citizenship without making other major immigration changes
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) for supporting the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act

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February 11, 2018

Two-year budget agreement could lead to increases in education funding

budgetYou did it! The advocacy of educators and allies was key to this week’s budget agreement – proof that bipartisanship is still possible when Congress wants to do something. While far from perfect, the agreement take actionrolls back the untenable spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and increases funding for domestic programs like education by $131 billion over two years. It also provides $4 billion to help make college more affordable and a full 10-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But we’ve still got work to do. As Congress works to finalize FY2018 funding levels for individual programs, we need to keep advocating for significant increases in Title I, Title II, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other programs that target the students most in need. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to invest in education.

Tell Congress to pass a Dreamer fix now!

dream act rallyWhile the budget agreement increased funding for several  critical programs, congressional leadership failed to include a Dreamer fix. The Senate will begin debating immigration legislation this week, but the outlook take actionin the House is unclear despite Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s eight-hour speech on immigration reform – the longest continuous speech on the House floor in more than a century. NEA supports the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440) as well as immediate action to address the current crisis – for example, a Dreamer fix combined with reasonable border security measures. NEA opposes the administration’s four-pillar plan, which calls for a $25 billion border wall and severe cuts in legal immigration – new immigrants could not sponsor their parents, adult children, or siblings. In addition, the diversity visa program would be curtailed. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay in the United States and become citizens by an almost 8 to 1 margin. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to pass the Dream Act now!

Tell your representative to co-sponsor and support the IDEA Full Funding Act

idea kidEfforts to build support for the IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 2902) are bearing fruit – nearly 90 members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors. This bipartisantake action bill would increase the federal contribution for the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) gradually over ten years from 15 to 40 percent, the level of support Congress promised when it passed the original IDEA. It would also demonstrate that Congress is serious about meeting its commitment to helping school districts support all students. Click on the take action button and tell your representative to co-sponsor and support the IDEA Full Funding Act.

Cheers and Jeers

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for her marathon speech urging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring a bipartisan Dreamer fix to the floor

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ESP Insider News

Statewide spring elections

Looking for a way to have a voice in your statewide union and the decisions made by the union in regard to school support personnel? Here’s your opportunity. It’s election season.

Positions up for election:

  • NEA-RA state, retired and student delegates
State level positions up for election:
  • ESP council
  • Higher ed council
  • Retired council
  • Sectional representatives and alternates for ESP, higher ed and ethnic minority
ESP council vacancies: 
  • Council members-at-large (4)
  • ESP south central sectional representative
  • ESP south central sectional alternate
    • (All IEA-NEA members in regions 1-14, 45, 47, 48 and 62 are eligible to participate in this election)
  • ESP north central sectional alternate
    • ​(All IEA-NEA members in regions 15-25, 37, 38, 40, 44, 49, 51, 53, 54, 60, 61, 63, 65 and 66 are eligible to participate in this election)

Please note: Nomination deadline is Feb. 21Click here for the online nomination form.

Online voting for all positions begins Mar. 29.

Join fellow school support personnel on Feb. 24 in Chicago


IEA strongly encourages all members to attend the Working People’s Day of Action Rally! Working people from across the state of Illinois are coming together to stand up for our rights and freedom to organize and participate in our unions. There will be buses for people to travel together. Learn more about the rally and how to reserve your bus seat.

Driver put on leave after student brings fake grenade on bus
If you’ve ever wondered what your union can do for you, take a look at this story. A bus driver is punished after a student brings a grenade on board. You won’t believe what happens next.

You can show your support for fellow ESP member Kevin Garfinkle in Antioch D34! Share the post on IEA’s Facebook page and read what others are saying.

Read the story from NBC Chicago.

Register now for an important ESP webinar!


Education Support Professionals: Meeting the needs of the whole student
Thurs., Feb. 15, 6-7 p.m. Information and registration.

ESP STAR award

Presidents and members of the IEA Board of Directors can nominate ESPs for STARS in recognition of outstanding serviceNominations can be made online and videos can be attached. You may contact IEA Connect to indicate the reasons the local association president or member of the IEA Board of Directors has nominated the member for an ESP STAR.
ESP Council assembly meeting – Mar. 3

Help us get to know more of our ESPs! Four sites to choose from: Elgin, Naperville, Palatine and Rockford.

RSVP by Feb. 26View the flier.

Cary ESPA silent rally

Cary Education Support Personnel Association (CESPA) held a silent rally on Jan. 18 and then, with signs held high, packed the Cary Board of Education monthly meeting to show solidarity. Read more and view photos from the rally.

ESP members participated in the Women’s March on Jan. 20

View photos from the Rockford and Southern Illinois marches.

Des Plaines ESP meeting

Alex Wallace, ESP council chair and Eric Brown, NEA Executive Committee member, met with approximately 45 members of the Des Plaines Education Support Personnel Association (DPESPA). Information was shared about the benefits of belonging to the union, IEA and NEA resources available on professional growth for ESP members and the pending Supreme Court decision on the Janus vs. AFSCME case.

Pictured with Eric Brown (front left) and Alex Wallace (center) are local President Becky Mazurek, Vice President Maria Pat Hanley and some of the DPESPA members.
Upcoming conferences and events

Working People’s Day of Action Rally

  Feb. 24, Chicago
  Information and bus sign up

Leadership Development Summit

  Mar. 16-18, Chicago
  10-digit NEA membership ID number required for registration
  Contact IEA Connect if you need your ID number looked up
  There will be no onsite registration
  Information and registration

NEA ESP National Conference

  Mar. 23-25, Buena Vista, Fla.
  Online registration closes TOMORROW, Feb. 9
  Information and registration


IEA Representative Assembly
  Apr. 19-21, Rosemont
National Resource Center for Paraeducators (NRCP) 34th National Conference on the Training and Employment of Paraeducators
  Apr. 26-29, Seattle
  Online registration closes TOMORROW, Feb. 9
  Information and registration

NEA GLBT Caucus – LGBTQ+ Issues

  May 18-20, Las Vegas


ESP in Action booklet: A must-have for all Education Support Professionals!

The new ESP in Action booklet is filled with information on upcoming ESP events, volunteer opportunities, professional development, resources and much more! Don’t be without this handy, compact 10-page booklet. You can view it online or request a hard copy from the ESP program office by contacting Arlene Criglar.

Also available in Spanish: ESP en Acción

Don’t delay – request yours today!


Benefits of

IEA membership


  • Go to the Discounts drop-down menu at the top of the page
  • Click on NEA Member Benefits​​​
ESP resources
Get all your IEA questions answered in one spot.

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