Monday, June 1, 2015

Opinions on Education

Click on the headline to read editorials and opinions regarding Illinois public education, collected in April and May 2015.

Jim Edgar: New findings point to old problem with Illinois school funding
April 15, 2015
The State Journal-Register, Springfield
A recent report reveals a well known but long ignored truth about Illinois' school funding system: We spend less money on the students who, research and common sense indicate, need more if they are to succeed. But elsewhere in the country, high-poverty school districts in 17 states (red and blue states alike, I might add) receive more support — at least 5 percent more — to help at-risk students reach their academic potential, according to a report titled "Funding Gaps 2015" by The Education Trust. Not so in Illinois. The highest-poverty school districts in our state receive 19 percent less in state and local funds to support students than the lowest-poverty school districts. That makes us the worst state in the nation in terms of funding equity. The question for us Illinoisans is, what are we prepared to do about it?

Editorial: Let parents call the shots on PARCC test
Posted: 05/21/2015
The Chicago Sun-Times
If things go right, parents soon will be able to inform schools if they don’t want their kids to take the standardized PARCC test. That sure would beat the status quo, in which the kids themselves must inform their teachers, no matter how awkward. It is absurd that parents can’t do this already. Requiring kids to deliver the news is nothing more than an inexcusable form of intimidation by school officials who really don’t want anybody opting out of the test. …

Keep spending in classrooms
Editorials, MAY 21, 2015
The News-Democrat, Belleville
Supporters of Belleville High School District 201’s athletic program rushed to a board meeting recently to oppose cutting the athletic directors’ administrative hours at both Belleville East and West. The intervention was misguided on a couple levels. First, the district had already put the proposal on hold prior to the meeting. Second, the district has to cut costs somewhere. Better that it be administrative costs rather than in the classroom.

Dave Root: Illinois unwisely outsourcing PARCC assessments
Posted May 21, 2015
The State Journal-Register, Springfield
I believe in holding teachers and administrators accountable for educating students. This is non-negotiable. Students, parents and community members have to be assured students are learning. It is my responsibility as superintendent to demonstrate and ensure that children are learning in all classrooms in our school district. To prove students are learning, appropriate and accurate assessment measures must be in place. Herein lies the problem. To understand how to achieve a comprehensive assessment of each student's learning, a teacher must utilize numerous measurements. After all, learning is essentially a complex layering of knowledge applied to solve a problem. An effective teacher understands the importance of a multi-faceted approach to learning and assessment. …

Letter: What really happened at Glenbard Township High School
May 29, 2015
Rich Heim, Glenbard Township High School District 87 Board of Education
The Chicago Tribune published an article and editorial regarding administrator salary increases and payments to the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, sharply criticizing Glenbard Township High School District 87 for actions dating back six years. However, what the Tribune did not include in its reports was: …

Dan Montgomery: Voters want millionaires to kick in for education
Posted May 19, 2015
This week, Illinois legislators have an important decision to make: allow the continued free fall of education funding, or break with the status quo and pass a simple and popular reform that will bring $1 billion in new funding to schools. The "millionaire's tax" (HJRCA 26) — a 3 percent surcharge on income over $1 million — would bring much-needed relief to a cash-strapped education system that is putting our kids at risk. This initiative doesn't create an undue burden on everyday taxpayers, but relies instead on the simple proposition of fairness, asking more from those can afford it. Economists of all stripes now agree our most vexing national problem is the growing gap between the incredibly wealthy and the rest of us. While the millionaire's tax would not entirely rectify that, it's an important start. …

Our View: Good program for District 205 made better by excellent process
Posted May 31, 2015
By The Editorial Board, Rockford Register Star
The creation of a Peer Assistance and Review program that has the potential to improve the quality of teaching in Rockford School District 205 is exciting. However, more exciting is the process that led to the program. Teachers’ union representatives and representatives from the school administration sat side-by-side to develop a program designed to help struggling teachers become successful. It’s a model of cooperation that other entities with traditionally acrimonious union-management issues should try to emulate....

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