The following post is from our from Dave Ziffer.
February 19, 2007
State Senator Kwame Raoul
1013 E. 53rd St., Second Floor
Chicago, IL 60615
Dear Senator Raoul:
I am deeply distressed to learn of your sponsorship of bill SB541, which would lower the compulsory schooling age in Illinois from seven to five. This is part of a seemingly endless series of similar bills that have failed in the past due to their justifiable unpopularity. Clearly the strategy here on the part of certain members of the legislature is that the will of the people can eventually be subverted if only the legislature can mount enough attempts.
Our educational system in Illinois is not failing because of hordes of irresponsible, clueless parents who are keeping their kids out of the public schools. It is failing because we have assigned the task of education to a mindless, heartless bureaucracy that has a near monopoly on our education dollars.
I am a parent who has spent the past eleven years observing the behaviors of the public schools. I find both the urban and suburban varieties afflicted with the same problems:
top-heavy self-serving administrations whose priorities are driven more by political interests such as the teachers’ unions (IEA) than by educational priorities;
introspective school boards whose agendas seem more directed by their appointed administrators than by the desires and needs of the public;
poorly trained staff (teachers) who themselves are the victims of our failed system of colleges of education;
a self-serving system of teacher “support” organizations (NCTM, NCTE, NAEYC, IRA, ASCD, etc.) that appear to be controlled primarily by unscrupulous curriculum publishers who influence our teachers to adopt an endless series of bizarre fads conceived by the lunatic fringe of the education field;
and consequently a teaching “profession” steeped in irrational belief systems and curricula that serve nobody.
We are not going to fix things by forcing kids into this dysfunctional system at ever-earlier ages. If you are truly interested in improving the quality of education in Illinois, look to the model of Utah, where the legislature and governor recently passed the Parent Choice in Education Act, which empowers parents rather than treating them as ignorant serfs.
Future generations will look back on the legislators of our time to see who among us was looking forward to the future, which is school choice, and who was looking backward to the era of corrupt, monopolistic educational paternalism. I am hoping, for the sake of your legacy if nothing else, that you will consider joining the forward-looking group.
Quote of the Day
"Future generations will look back on the legislators of our time to see who among us was looking forward to the future, which is school choice, and who was looking backward to the era of corrupt, monopolistic educational paternalism."