Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ten ways to cut school spending

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Daily Herald.

Daily Herald Letter to the editor -- 3/18/07
Ten ways to cut school spending
Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants a new “value-added” tax on Illinois businesses to support more education spending.

Before I move my engineering business to another state to escape this onerous tax, here’s my “Top 10 Ways To Cut Education Spending.”

1) Eliminate teachers’ pensions. Pensions don’t exist in the private sector. Why can’t teachers have a 401(k) or Keough plan?

2) Cut teachers’ salaries. A friend just retired after serving as the “weight room” teacher for a local high school. He was nothing more than a glorified personal trainer, but with his Ph.D. in education, he earned more than $110,000 per year.

3) Raise the retirement age to 65. That same friend worked 30 years and retired with an annual pension of about $80,000 per year plus cost of living adjustments. The pension is guaranteed until the day he dies, and he’s only 56.

4) Stop the “advanced degree” scam. The main reason teachers get advanced degrees is to get a salary increase. If you were qualified to teach with only a bachelor’s degree, you don’t need an advanced degree.

5) Eliminate AP classes. If you want college credit, go to college.

6) Don’t start all-day kindergarten. We already have all day kindergarten. It’s called first grade.

7) Increase class size. When I was in school, the average class size was 30-35 pupils.

8) Eliminate teacher’s aides. Why do teachers need aides? You’re the teacher, so teach!

9) Cut health care expenditures. In the private sector, employees pay a greater share of their health insurance and so should teachers.

10) Take computers out of grade school. Just like calculators did not improve math competence, computers do not improve penmanship, language or writing skills. Software spell- and grammar-check features do not teach anything.

At the last Democratic National Convention, one-third of the delegates were teachers. The governor’s plan is nothing more than a political payoff to the teachers union — his biggest constituency — and we shouldn’t have to pay for his votes. And you wonder why Democrats keep asking for more education spending.

John Schadl

Arlington Heights

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