Thursday, September 15, 2005

Skool scores are in

And while they're not getting worse, there is a lot of room for improvement. According to the results, roughly one-quarter of Illinois schoolchildren failed to meet expectations in most categories of the latest round of statewide testing, and the failure rate approached 50 percent in some cases. As our economy continues its rapid globalization, we are going to get left in the dust by a lot of countries that are focusing on the fundamental skills needed to compete today and into the future.
Elliot Regenstein, Blagojevich's director of education reform, acknowledged the scores reveal some problems, but he said the governor's programs - especially increased preschool programs - will help.

"It takes time to change the system. We know there's a lot more work to be done," Regenstein said.

How about fixing how we fund schools as a good starting point?


At September 16, 2005 at 8:35 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

Why not just fund the child, and stop funding educationally worthless concepts like "districts" and "systems."

Let's also stop pretending the "local property tax" is "local". It is state authorised, and could be cut to zero in one legislative act.

If you raised the income tax to 5%, funded each kid with about $6,000 ($7500 for special ed.), abolished the property tax for "skools", and phased out the entire bureaucratic infrastructure that is bleeding taxpayers dry...'d be a real hero.

Or you could tell us how we NEED 800 plus "districts" laden with hundreds of "administrators", coordinators, psychologists, etc. etc. etc.

You can't do that though. It's a "jobs program" masquerading as an "education system."

At September 16, 2005 at 2:32 PM, Blogger XBIP said...

Excellent Point. Let's fund the child and not the bloated districts.

At September 16, 2005 at 3:13 PM, Blogger JohnGalt said...'d be a real hero.

And a dead man.

The education lobby in Illinois is more powerful than God himself. And they have more money than him, too.

At September 16, 2005 at 5:34 PM, Blogger Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Public schools are good. Extreme voucher systems would be an absolute disaster. There are huge economies of scale in having school systems open to neighborhood children. The transportation costs alone in an extreme voucher system, not to mention the lack of public accountability, make the extreme's idea....way too extreme. But on another topic: I think the school year is way too short (176 days I believe) and the school day (5 hours) is way too short. Should lengthening the school day and the school year be part of the 750 discussion?

At September 17, 2005 at 2:07 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

John Galt - if that is your real name ;-)...

Your attitude toward Teachers Unions is passe. They occupy the same position as the Soviet Union did at about 1985.

They are 4-5 years from implosion - PROVIDED!! some one has the guts to go after them.

They've bankrupted the state (& nation) while miseducating the children they are supposed to serve.

Take your average voter and show them the obscene (as in "obscene profits" - Rep. Fritchey) end of career scams that artificially raise their retirement benefits (at the expense of taxpayers and younger teachers- who get screwed).

Next, explain how virtually every district has lied about "raises" by ignoring Step Increases, "extracurricular activity pay", and district payouts for pension compensation...

Next, show them the non-cash benefits packages that few private sector mid level execs get...

Next, show them how crooked adminstrators have gamed the "tax cap" law to extract much larger sums than ever thought possible (by shifting funds around and "phasing in" increases)...

Next, show them how they play with "Working Cash Bonds" between referenda in yet another circumvention of tax caps.

When you are done with all that, explain how decent educators (see Rockford) are isolated, and then fired for the sole reason that they actually brought decent curricula into the schools, and fought back when administrative hacks saw how much better they worked and pulled the rug out from disadvantaged children just starting to succeed.

If the general population ever got wind of even 1/3rd of the systemic "Enronesque" corruption in schools, they'd rip the piggish education establishment a hole large enough to drive a truck through.

But, Mr. Galt, you are correct in one area. Toppling the USSR required a Reagan, not a dishrag like Carter, and IL is populated with either supporters of this corrupt gravy train, or dish rags - too many of which are Republicans.



Your argument about economies of scale works fine for rolls of steel and Mail order houses. It falls completely flat re: education.

It may convince a few people

(who say they care - but really don't)

to stay on BIG EDUCATION's fat farm, but in a robust debate, it would whither under the light of reason.

You and Rep. Fritchey seem like decent people. If you say you care about the "children", please cease supporting the corrupt system that is using them to get powerful, rich, and fat.

Fund the child, not the bureaucracy.

At September 23, 2005 at 2:06 PM, Blogger Sharad said...

The state's education bureaucracy has grown out of control, and has been that way for years. Teachers unions no longer have the student's interest at heart, and since Blago has alienated nearly every single one of his core constituencies already, I don't see the problem in abandoning the teachers unions. The whole concept of districts is bogus. We pay countless administrators to do the work of 1 or 2 people, maybe. I can speak from the perspective of a recent product of the Illinois public education system. If it wasn't for IMSA (Illinois Math & Science Academy, in Aurora, IL, one of the few bastions of real teaching going on in this state's education system), I would be in a terrible place right now. Kids are graduating high school never having written a research paper, never having given a public speech, never participating in more than the bare minimum. Is this the image we want to project to others? We are doing the children of this state an egregious disservice. It's up to honest legistators like Rep. Fritchey to fix our mess of an education system. Starting with desegregation. I lived in a 75% white / 20% black / 3% Hispanic / 2% Asian town (Carbondale) when I went to elementary school. But I went to school in a 70% black district, while the other two Carbondale districts were 98% white. Where is Brown v. Board when we need it? Nonexistent, apparently. Anyone that has ever been inside a Chicago Public School would think this country is replaying the 1960s in terms of racial inequities prevalent throughout Chicago schools. Second, I'm generally pro-union, but what needs to happen is a massive dismantling of the teachers unions' collective grip on the education budget. Property tax funding of education is a sham. That's how rich districts like Napervilleand poor districts like Galesburg are created. Perhaps increase income tax progressively, or keep the property tax system in place, but redistribute the money. Oh, and in reply to extreme wisdom, I must say that I hope you are including academically gifted students in with the special ed. group, because they deserve far better treatment by the public education system than what they are getting. These are kids that will be our most productive members of society, and they have to start each year of math class up to the 5th grade with a review of addition? I say we should scrap the whole thing and start from scratch.


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