Dragging Illinois Private Schools into Education Reform

In Illinois, we will not assume the definition of “reform” is a positive. It’s about the money and in the case of education, it’s not about the learning results.

There’s been some background noise over the last few months that caught my attention and made me check here and there to see what is playing out in the Capitol regarding education reform.  The Springfield Journal and Review posted an article back in December about Speaker Madigan bucking the teacher unions’ fears of losing their power in Illinois. 

The panel’s chairman, Rep. Linda Chapa La Via, D-Aurora, could not be reached for comment.
“The approach will be up to members of the committee,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown. “It was formed because the chairman and others have talked about taking a look at education reform issues that have been discussed the last several years.”
Brown [Madigan spokesperson] likened the education reform committee to special committees formed to hear ideas about workers’ compensation and Medicaid reforms. Like those committees, the Education Reform panel is to make recommendations the General Assembly can consider before January 12 when new lawmakers are sworn into office.
“There is little, if no time for review,” Comerford said. “It calls into question what really is the agenda here.”
The Illinois Education Association is also skeptical, especially about the role being played by a group that spent heavily on legislative campaigns this fall.

I suspect that in the long run, the unions have much less to fear than those independent private schools.  SB 136 is a prime example of that.  Senator Maloney proposes all private schools must register with the IL State Board of Education.  Private schools are privately funded and managed without taking public funds. They seem to have a decent enough success rate in learning.  Last year, on the House end, Representative Chapa-La Via also proposed including homeschoolers in a virtual public school bill.  When I asked a staff member if she’d discussed this with homeschoolers prior to inserting us into this bill, I was told that no, she had not. 

Senator Maloney co-chairs the Senate side of a Cullerton appointed Senate Special Committee for Education Reform with Senator Lightford.  Maloney “remains a card-carrying member of an education union to this day”, according to Maloney staff.  Senator Lightford was the Senate Education Committee chair and in that role, noted this in an Oak Park-Leaves.com article:

“I would have assumed to some degree that we had accountability over how many home schoolers there were, where they were located, and that they would be tested,” Lightford said.

Why would “we” (Illinois citizens) need to have “accountability” over how many homeschoolers there are?  We homeschoolers and other private schools left the system voluntarily and with thought as to what was best for our families.  On the other hand, the accountability for public schools seems to be an overwhelming responsibility already. The growth of adult education centers along with the concern President Obama has expressed over dropout rates is an issue demanding accountability.   

It doesn’t make sense to anyone to register private schools except a “professional educator” – as he likes to call himself –  such as Senator Maloney. Former Senator Demuzio liked to think along those lines too.

Folks, if there’s one good thing left in Illinois besides the good people and some good public schools, it’s that we have great freedom to educate our children in wonderful private schools.  If you’re a taxpayer, parent, grandparent, planning children in the future: Call Senator Maloney’s office along with your own Senator letting them know you oppose SB 136 – the registration and reporting of private schools to the public school IL State Board of Education. You want their opposition committment as well.  Senator Suzi Schmidt committed and we are grateful.  This is one of the last bastions of freedom we have in Illinois and it’s an important one.  Apparently, private schools should be attending these education reform committee hearings along with the teacher unions to see what our legislators are cooking up for us.  Homeschoolers have this one little problem though.  We don’t have the union lobbying money that’s so appealing to many legislators and of all things, we’re trying to spend some time educating our kids.

Senator Edward Maloney contact information:

District Office: 10400 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60643 (773) 881-4180 (773) 881-4243 FAX

Capitol phone: 217-782-5145

 More to read on other blogs:

Maloney anti-homeschool bill opposed in IR poll Illinois Review

What information would non-public student ISBE registration include?  Illinois Review

Non-public student registration bill sparks IL home school firestorm Illinois Review

Illinois Senate Bill Would Require Homeschoolers Register With State Thoughts of a Regular Guy

Bad Bill From Diapers to Driver’s Ed

IL State Senator Ed Maloney Wants to Register Homeschoolers  Winfield 411.com


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Dragging Illinois Private Schools into Education Reform — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Watching Some Bills – Ed Reform in Illinois | Corn and Oil

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