Senate Passes Sweeping Education Reform

The legislation moves to Illinois House for vote on the bill targeting the school day, strikes and bad teachers

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    Getty Images / Joe Corrigan/Stringer

    Illinois senators want the House to follow their lead on a bill to overhaul education.

    The Senate unanimously approved a measure Thursday night that makes it harder for teachers to strike, and easier to fire them for poor performance.

    The bill also empowers the Chicago Board of Education to lengthen the school day or year without approval from the teachers union, and makes it more difficult for teachers to earn tenure without merit.

    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel supports the legislation and what it means for Chicago schools. 

    “The unanimous passage of education reform legislation in the Illinois Senate is a first step in what could be a historic victory for Chicago students," Emanuel said in a prepared statement. "This bill paves the way for essential reforms to Chicago’s public education system.”

    Gov. Pat Quinn also voiced support for the bill, saying it will ensure teachers' best possible performance.

    Few Senators predict the House will pass the pass the bill without changes.