Person

Daniel J. Montgomery

Daniel J. Montgomery is a vice president at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). Montgomery is also a vice president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He has been an AFT vice president since 2011, and he has been IFT president since 2010.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Montgomery emerged as a leading voice in opposition to reopening Illinois schools for in-person learning. Montgomery and the IFT opposed the reopening of schools for in person learning during the 2020-21 academic year in July 2020. The decision to oppose reopening was done in defiance of advice given by both federal and state education and health officials at the time. Montgomery wanted students to begin the session with online learning, as they did when schools were initially closed during the pandemic. [1]

Montgomery, along with the president of the Illinois Education Association, threatened to strike if the school reopening plans did not meet the unions’ satisfaction. [2]

When there was another spike in COVID-19 cases in the fall of 2020, Montgomery called for the closure of all in-person schools. He asked Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to implement a statewide remote learning plan, rather than allowing individual school districts to make their own decisions on whether or not to have in-person learning. [3]

In February 2021, Montgomery suggested that returning to in-person learning would be harmful to African American and Latino students. Montgomery claimed that schools with predominately ethnic minority students were under-resourced in terms of protective equipment and suffered from problems such as poor ventilation. [4]

Early Life and Work

Montgomery attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. He has a master’s in education from Northwestern University. [5]

Montgomery taught English at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illnois following his graduation. In 1993, Montgomery joined the North Suburban Teachers Union, AFT Local 1274. Montgomery eventually became head of the local union. [6]

In 2002, he was elected vice president of IFT. [7]

IFT Presidency and AFT Executive Board

In 2010, Montgomery was elected president of IFT at its convention for his first three-year term. He was reelected without opposition in 2013, 2016, and 2019. [8]

In 2011, Montgomery was elected AFT vice president. Before he became AFT vice president, Montgomery had sat on the AFT Teachers Program and Policy Council since 2004. Montgomery still co-chairs that board as of March 2021. [9]

COVID-19 Pandemic

Montgomery has advocated for keeping public schools closed to in-person learning throughout the pandemic, regardless of the advice of public health and education officials. In July 2020, Montgomery supported keeping schools closed to in-person learning, calling for Illinois students to begin the school year using online learning. Montgomery made the demands even as health and education officials on both the federal and state levels were urging a return to in-person education. Montgomery claimed that school districts did not have enough face masks and other equipment to safely reopen. [10]

In July 2020, Montgomery, along with the president of the Illinois Education Association, threatened a strike if school districts did not give in to union demands regarding reopening. The two unions also threatened to take legal action against reopening plans if they did not support the plans. [11]

After a surge of cases in November 2020, Montgomery asked the state government to close all schools that were open to in-person learning, calling for the entire state to return to remote learning. Montgomery called on the state to close all schools, rather than allowing districts to make their own decisions regarding in-person education. [12]

In late November 2020, Montgomery asked that teachers be put on the priority list for vaccinations, claiming that vaccinations were necessary in order for schools to open again. [13]

In January 2021, Montgomery and the IFT joined the Day of Resistance protest against the reopening of schools to in-person learning. Montgomery issued a statement claiming that he did not want to return to normal because the normal system was not working for “black and brown” students. Montgomery instead demanded a full transformation of the Illinois education system to prioritize ethnic minority students. [14]

In January 2021, Montgomery and the IFT released a COVID-19 tracker to identify disease hot spots and determine how well schools were doing in managing the pandemic. The tracker was based on crowdsourced reports from teachers, school staff members, and parents. [15]

In February 2021, Montgomery warned against the reopening of the remaining Illinois schools to in-person learning. Montgomery claimed that the school districts that had yet to reopen at the time were under-resourced and predominately filled with ethnic minority students, while complaining that the school buildings were poorly ventilated and in need of remodeling. [16]

Other Affilations

Montgomery sits on the board of the left-of-center Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. He also works as vice president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. [17]

References

  1.    “Illinois Teachers Union: Most Schools Should Not Reopen This Fall”. 2020. State Journal-Register. https://www.sj-r.com/story/news/coronavirus/2020/07/20/illinois-teachers-union-most-schools-should-not-reopen-this-fall/42781313/. ^
  2.      “Illinois Educators Willing To Strike If Back-To-School Plans Deemed Unsafe”. 2020. WICS. https://newschannel20.com/news/local/illinois-educators-willing-to-strike-if-back-to-school-plans-deemed-unsafe. ^
  3. Roy, Matt. 2020. “Illinois Federation Of Teachers Asks Governor For Statewide Remote Learning Policy”. WICS. https://newschannel20.com/news/local/illinois-federation-of-teachers-wants-state-to-close-all-school-buildings. ^
  4. Cullotta, Karen. 2021. “Half Of Illinois Public School Students Are Still In Remote Learning Only, Even As CPS Reopening Plan Advances”. Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-illinois-schools-in-person-classes-covid-19-20210209-ehhiuslogvdojjl2vmnb35kmsu-story.html. ^
  5.         “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. Illinois Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.ift-aft.org/Team/DANIEL-J.-MONTGOMERY. ^
  6. “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. Illinois Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.ift-aft.org/Team/DANIEL-J.-MONTGOMERY. ^
  7. “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. Illinois Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.ift-aft.org/Team/DANIEL-J.-MONTGOMERY. ^
  8. “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. Illinois Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.ift-aft.org/Team/DANIEL-J.-MONTGOMERY. ^
  9. “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. American Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/daniel-j-montgomery. ^
  10.     “Illinois Teachers Union: Most Schools Should Not Reopen This Fall”. 2020. State Journal-Register. https://www.sj-r.com/story/news/coronavirus/2020/07/20/illinois-teachers-union-most-schools-should-not-reopen-this-fall/42781313/. ^
  11. “Illinois Educators Willing To Strike If Back-To-School Plans Deemed Unsafe”. 2020. WICS. https://newschannel20.com/news/local/illinois-educators-willing-to-strike-if-back-to-school-plans-deemed-unsafe. ^
  12. Roy, Matt. 2020. “Illinois Federation Of Teachers Asks Governor For Statewide Remote Learning Policy”. WICS. https://newschannel20.com/news/local/illinois-federation-of-teachers-wants-state-to-close-all-school-buildings. ^
  13. Schulte, Sarah. 2020. “Will Illinois Teachers Be Prioritized For COVID-19 Vaccine?”. ABC7 Chicago. https://abc7chicago.com/covid-19-vaccine-illinois-teachers-coronavirus-priority-vaccinate/8395922/. ^
  14. “Ill. Teachers Union Joins National Day Of Resistance”. 2021. WIFR. https://www.wifr.com/2021/01/12/ill-teachers-union-joins-national-day-of-resistance/. ^
  15. Krauser, Mike. 2021. “Illinois Federation Of Teachers Launches Statewide COVID-19 Tracker”. WBBM. https://www.radio.com/wbbm780/news/local/illinois-federation-of-teachers-launches-covid-19-tracker. ^
  16. Cullotta, Karen. 2021. “Half Of Illinois Public School Students Are Still In Remote Learning Only, Even As CPS Reopening Plan Advances”. Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-illinois-schools-in-person-classes-covid-19-20210209-ehhiuslogvdojjl2vmnb35kmsu-story.html. ^
  17. “Daniel J. Montgomery”. 2021. Illinois Federation Of Teachers. Accessed March 8. https://www.ift-aft.org/Team/DANIEL-J.-MONTGOMERY. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
    Vice President
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