The following Letter to the Editor was penned by Joan Knopp, and may be found in the August 18 edition of the Naperville Sun.
A recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune, the parent company of the Naperville Sun, yet again decried teacher pensions, citing David Piccioli, an American Federation lobbyist, for receiving a pension for life after working as a substitute teacher for one day. The article neglected to state that he was able to count his time as a lobbyist as well.
All of this is true. What is not is the implication that this is commonplace in the teacher pension system. It most certainly is not. The vast majority of teachers earn their pensions, follow the rules, and make contributions.
Here are some facts that the editorial board may want to include in its future articles. The vesting period for new teachers is 10 years to qualify for a minimum pension. Unlike those with a 401(k) plan, when a teacher leaves the system only individual contributions can be extracted. Teachers forfeit contributions made by their school or made by the state on their behalf. Those with a 401(k) can take all contributions and roll them into an IRA.
Teacher pensions are back-loaded. Teachers work many years before their future benefits exceed the value of their contributions plus interest. Only 20% of teachers will break even from the state retirement system. Only 50% of teachers will qualify for a pension.
Many teachers work multiple jobs and should be able to cluster together their savings should they ever change jobs. Teachers should be able to take their savings with them no matter the reason for their leaving, be it personal, relocation to another state, or career change. Some states allow this. Illinois does not. Why?
The vast majority of contributions made by today’s teachers are for unfunded pension liabilities. This is not the result of teachers not contributing their fair share. About 78% of Illinois pension contributions are going to pension debt created by horrific mismanagement by state leaders of both political parties.
Perhaps it would prove beneficial for state leaders and the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune to read state Supreme Court Justice Karmeir’s opinion on the subject of teacher pensions delivered as a judgment of the court.
NUEA would like to welcome District 203 certified staff members that our joining our organization over the next few days. Note that you are currently viewing our publicly accessible site. Our members’ only site is called NUEA Connect, and it may be accessed by clicking the link on the right.
Once you register for NUEA Connect, you will receive a confirmation e-mail over the next day or two. After that, you can access all of the members’ only content.
Know that if you were previously a member of the IEA in another district, you still must sign-up for NUEA (our local) using the IEA form in order to begin your new NUEA membership retain your old IEA/NEA membership.
If you have any questions concerning your membership, please contact President Dan Iverson.
Four students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each. The Naperville-based teachers’ union annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of members, and one scholarship to an education major in the third year of study. Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community. These scholarships were awarded in May, 2019.
The high-school scholarship recipients are Evie Dohm from Wheaton North High School, Colin Iverson from Naperville North High School, and Jillian Paladino from Downers Grove South High School. The NUEA Future in Education recipient is Alexis Henz from North Central College.
The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors. The Future in Education Award was added this year to help support a collegiate student entering the field of education. The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support provided to the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.
Evie Dohm – This fall, Evie will be attending the University of Iowa in Iowa City or Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Evie’s passion for swimming is well balanced with her participation in several academic societies. She was a member of the Math Honor Society, History Honor Society (Rho Kappa), English Honor Society, French Honor Society, and the National Honor Society. Additionally, she was a member of the National Speech and Debate Association and a member of the Speech Team for all four years of high school. Evie was the captain of the Speech Team during her senior year.
As a swimmer, Evie participated on the Wheaton North High School Swim Team for four years and served as the captain and team manager during her senior year. She also participated on the Wheaton Swim Club during her freshman and sophomore years.
Evie also contributed to several activities at Wheaton North High School. She was the lead in her sophomore year One Act Play, and she dedicated time to Amnesty International during her junior and senior years. She worked as a math resource tutor for three years. Outside of school, Evie volunteered for the Salvation Army and the VFW while gathering work experience as a swim instructor. Evie believes that participating in so many activities significantly helped her with her time management skills heading into college.
Colin Iverson – Colin will be attending the Bowling Green State University this fall as an intervention specialist for special education students in a K-12 setting. Colin will also be playing soccer for Boling Green, which is a result of his demanding and highly successful athletic career at Naperville North High School. In addition to playing volleyball as a freshman, Colin played soccer for NNHS for all four years, serving as varsity captain junior and senior year. He also played soccer for the Galaxy Soccer Club, serving as captain for four years.
As a volunteer, Colin was an adapted PE and art leader, helping students with special needs access PE and art to their best ability. He also participated on the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation, which is a community service leadership group. He similarly served as a DuPage Valley Special Athletes Peer, organizing special events for athletes with disabilities. Furthermore, Colin was a Chicago Fire United Soccer Peer, helping special athletes perform soccer at a professional level. Colin claims that his work with students and athletes with special needs has inspired him to become a special education teacher.
Jillian Paladino – Jillian will be attending Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, where she will major in biochemistry. She has excelled in both academics and athletics as a student at Downers Grove South High School. She participated as a member of the Student Council, serving as President during her senior year. She was also a member of Athletes Committed to Excellence, National Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, Friendship Club, Math Club, Snowball, STRIVE, SAALT, and SALC.
As an athlete, Jillian played varsity soccer for four years, serving as captain her junior and senior years. She also played basketball at DGSHS, serving as captain Freshman and Sophomore years. She was a special education PE leader, and she played club soccer with the Joga Bonito Soccer Club for nine years.
Jillian balanced her school activities with volunteer work for her community. She has volunteered frequently for both the DuPagePads and the Humane Society. She will be a camp counselor at the Phantom Lake YMCA camp this summer, for which she has been training as a volunteer CIT for four years. Jillian believes that her work as a volunteer has inspired her to someday work in the pediatric medical field so that she can continue to help children in a meaningful capacity.
Alexis Henz – Alexis is the first recipient of the NUEA Future in Education Scholarship. She is currently attending North Central College with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. Alexis credits her K-12 education for providing her with critical leadership skills, organizational skills, and reliability skills. One example of her leadership skills is her willingness to speak up in large groups, thereby accepting risk-taking as a critically important part of the learning process.
Alexis also recognizes the benefits of participating in Cross Country as a college athlete, particularly in a leadership role, occasionally leading the warm-ups or helping other athletes with their workout. She states that one of the most satisfying rewards of teaching is learning with students. She has wanted to become a teacher since she was young, deriving inspiration from her family members and from her passion to make an impact in the lives of her students.
Dan Iverson was elected President of the Naperville Unit Education Association in March, 2019. Dan will be replacing outgoing President Mark Bailey, who served at the post since 2000. Dan previously served as Second Vice President for NUEA while teaching Social Studies, coaching track, and coaching cross country at Naperville North High School. The NUEA serves approximately 1400 certified staff members who work in Naperville Community Unit School District 203.
Three students from the Naperville area received scholarships from the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) in the amount of $1500 each. The NUEA annually gives three scholarships to high school seniors who are children of NUEA members. Scholarships are awarded based on extracurricular participation and contributions to the community. These scholarships were awarded in May, 2018.
The scholarship recipients are Edward Forsythe from Metea Valley High School, Esther Park from Naperville Central High School, and Anna Southon from Naperville Central High School.
The NUEA scholarships were created by certified staff in District 203 through their union to recognize outstanding contributions among area high school seniors. The scholarships are funded by member dues and represent a small portion of the local support NUEA provides the community through scholarships, volunteerism, and charitable giving.
Edward Forsythe – Edward Forsythe will be attending the University of Iowa this fall as a marketing major within the Tippie College of Business. While at Metea Valley High School, Edward enrolled in a schedule packed with Advanced Placement and honors courses, including AP history, AP psychology, and Honors English. His demanding workload was supplemented by an equally demanding athletic regimen. Edward played soccer for two years and volleyball for four years at Metea. He also played club volleyball and participated on the Student Athlete Leadership Team and Principal’s Advisory Board.
Outside of school, Edward was a valuable contributor to his community. He participated in the St. Thomas Religious Education program until his sophomore year, when he transitioned into the St. Thomas Retreat Team for the next three years. He also was employed as a lifeguard and swim coach while volunteering for the Metea Valley Healing Field Construction team and Feed My Starving Children.
Esther Park – Esther Park will be attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she will major in biology. Esther has been active at Naperville Central High School as a musician, athlete, volunteer, and academic. As an avid cello and piano player, Esther attributes her academic persistence to her musical experience, stating, “Music has trained me with the resilience necessary for achievement.” Her resilience has manifested itself in four years of Bella Corda, and two years in the Tri-M Music Honorary and the Cello Choir.
Esther has also participated in Cross Country and Track for three years. She has volunteered for several health-related events and organizations, citing inspiration from her dentist, a volunteer who has practiced in high-poverty areas such as Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She holds several part-time jobs, including nannying and delivering private music lessons. All the while, Esther is a member of the National Honors Society.
Anna Southon – This fall, Anna Southon will be attending the University of Michigan with a major in political science. Anna’s extra-curricular activities at Naperville Central High School reflect a strong desire to make her school a welcoming and nurturing environment. Anna was elected as a Class Council Member for three years, and she participated in the NCHS Community Leadership Workshop, the Red Rage Spirit Club, and a LINK crew member, which helps facilitate a smooth transition for incoming 8thgraders into high school. Notably, Anna was a Sensory PE Peer Mentor, working closely to help a student with autism assimilate within the school environment.
Anna balanced academics with athletics with skill. On one hand, she was a member of the Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, a National Merit Finalist, and an Illinois State Scholar. On the other hand, she played soccer as a Freshman and she was a member of the Cross Country and Track teams for all four years of high school. She was also a volunteer camp counselor for the Girl Scouts at Camp Greenewood in Lisle and she was a soccer referee for the Naperville Park District. She completed both activities during all four years of her high school career.
NUEA works hard to ensure that every child in District 203 gets a high quality education by supporting certified staff members, students, and community members in Naperville.
NUEA is a supporter of the Naperville Education Foundation and other charitable organizations that strengthen our community. NUEA also offers three scholarships in the spring to help better prepare students for the financial needs of college life.
We are also actively pursuing the implementation of an innovative professional development model that will keep our teachers on the cutting edge of best-practice research.
Many of our 1200+ members live, shop, dine, and play in Naperville, Bolingbrook, and Lisle, and we have a vested interest in helping our community to thrive. If you would like to partner with the NUEA on a business or service initiative, please contact President Dan Iverson.