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Student-Focused Education

posted: August 16, 2009 • Categories: IssuesComments: 0

In Illinois we are blessed to have a great youth population eager to expand their minds and attend school everyday. However, many children and parents are not happy with their current education options. As a whole, the education system in Illinois is far behind that of our bordering states and a change is needed to provide quality education for each and every child.

School Funding and Spending

Each year our state government spends more and more money on our education system, because they think that will lead to better schools and higher test scores. Currently, Illinois spends roughly $11,500 per pupil each year, above the national average of approximately $9,500.

            Q: Does the extra $2,000 per pupil provide shocking results?

            A: Yes, the shocking results are that the extra money we spend on our children has not put them in a better situation than states that spend near the national average.

An increase in spending has led us to one thing: enormous salaries for school administrators, and these salaries aren’t producing results we should be proud of. Our state needs to be interested in accountability within our school districts, making sure schools are increasing their test scores and not just raising their salaries.

Many teachers and administrators are being compensated not for providing quality education but for years teaching and other archaic means. Since both your property and state income tax dollars go to funding schools, we should be concerned that while our taxes continue to rise, our school performance hasn’t. Illinois should encourage a system that incorporates student test scores and school performance in the salary process.

I want to make sure we don’t continue to allow quarter-million dollar salaries for education systems that don’t deserve them and ensure we don’t continue to throw away your tax dollars funding failing education practices.

School Choice

The goal of a school should be to educate students, prepare them for further education, and encourage them to expand their minds. Children want to learn and should have access to quality education.

Illinois is fortunate to host a strong network of Charter Schools, which have become increasingly popular for good reasons. These schools work for the students and parents, not for unions and outside interest groups. We need to encourage student and parent choice in the school decision process.  Currently Illinois doesn’t have enough Charter Schools to meet the demands of waiting lists. Children across our state are sitting on waiting lists to get into these highly successful schools.  That same choice should apply to parents who want their children to attend a private or parochial schools.

As your State Representative, I want to make sure that every child that wants to attend a charter school and receive quality education has that ability. I have a duty to make sure there are school vouchers available, education tax credits given, and tuition scholarships awarded.

School Reform

Our district is blessed to have some excellent schools; however, we need to remember the overall quality of education in the state affects us greatly. The Chicago Public Schools system needs to see dramatic reforms if we want Illinois to excel economically, socially, and even environmentally.

Students of CPS schools scored lower on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test than most schools in the state. Even more surprising is that Chicago fairs far worse than other large cities in the country.

As residents of this great state, we need to be concerned that all the children of Illinois receive excellent education opportunities—for their good as well as the good of the state.

We are at a point where the years of failed education practices can no longer continue. By implementing school accountability, expanding our Charter School network, and encouraging merit-based pay we can reform our education system in Illinois. We can not continue another 30 years with the same flawed education system, today is the time to start changing our schools and provide the quality education every student deserves and every child wants.


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