Monday, February 13, 2006

Education Cage Match

So I got a phone call from the Daily Southtown's Kristen McQuery last week which resulted in this item in her Sunday column regarding inaction on school funding reform. In her column, she pulls no punches in expressing her frustration with disparity between talk and activity in Springfield:
Identifying the dilemma of inequity and actually doing something about it are vastly different issues in Springfield. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of elected officials marching through newspaper editorial board meetings year after year, scratching their heads about the problem.
Kristen and I both agreed that we don't know what the exact solution to the funding issue might be, and I think we both agree that a special session might be the best way to figure it out.

In the 'be careful what you ask for' category, I think that a special session in which we don't leave until there's a substantive resolution might be the only answer. Kind of like an education funding cage match - 177 legislators walk in, 1 solution comes out.

This post isn't even about advocating a specific solution, but it is about saying that something needs to be done. While decades of blue ribbon committees and task forces have resulted in a plethora of ideas, they sure haven't resulted in a fix of the problem.

And before you comment, you might want to read about what is happening in Texas on this same issue, where even the Governor and Lt. Governor can't get on the same page.


At February 12, 2006 at 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Representative Fritchey,

I just want to say that I sincerely applaud your efforts in doing this blog. While I don't agree with all of your positions, (but I'm not in your district anyway), I think it's great that you have the time and courage to go the extra mile in doing this. You are a credit. I wish that others would follow your lead.

At February 12, 2006 at 11:06 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Aw shucks. Seriously though, thank you. This does take a decent amount of time, but I enjoy doing it and hope that it encourages others to take the plunge. State Sen. Chris Lauzen has gotten into the game and often has very good insights on things.

At February 16, 2006 at 1:10 PM, Blogger FightforJustice said...

The IL School Board Assn. passed a resolution in December supporting Con-Con in '08. (A binding referendum asking whether a state Constitutional Convention should be convened in '09). The ISBA supports Con-Con as a way to address school funding, since the General Assembly has avoided it for so long.

At February 17, 2006 at 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just K-12 funding that's a problem -- the problem is much much broader than that. How can you provide equitable funding when you still have high schools with 100 or fewer students? How can you consolidate schools when local control trumps all? How can you have meaningful education standards when local control rules? How can you make K-12 education more efficient when administrative (read "paperwork") demands grow exponentially? How can you make teachers more accountable when they have tenure? How can you expect anyone to take a teaching job if starting salaries are minimal and there isn't job security? How can you expect teachers to teach when they spend so much time providing social services? How can teachers deal with social issues when they are given an endless checklist of education trivia to teach for standardized tests? We don't need K-12 funding reform . . . we need comprehensive fundemental changes in the way that we provide K-12 education. Funding, mandates, adminstration, local control, goals -- everything needs to be on the table.


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