May 26, 2015 · 8 Comments
Illinois (ECWd) –
The answer to a simple question is proving to make a world of difference in the understanding of our children’s future.
If money were no object, would you send them to public school, private school, or would you home-school?
As a product of public and private education, as well as a parent who home-schooled his son, I think I have a pretty good grasp of the options out there to include the limitations to those options. Being from a family of public educators, I also understand the perspectives provided from the teachers, of which even in my family, have view points on public education that are supported by establishment talking points instead of facts. Let’s just say our Christmas dinner discussions can be pretty intense.
For the record, there are some great public schools that do a great job educating our children, however, I believe that is not the norm but rather the exception in many areas of our state.
When it comes to parents and their children, most will make the right choice for the future of their children but only within the financial limitations they face, in spite of the fact our State Constitution states “Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free.” We all know that is not the case at the beginning of a new school year when we pull out our checkbooks and pay registration fees, or when we pay our property tax bill of which the school district eats up the highest percentage.
Our Constitution also states that “A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities.”
What good is it to have a Constitution that points to a goal of educating our children to the limits of their capabilities when we restrict their access to the educational development they need based on where they live?
Another Constitutional quandary; “There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law”. Simply meaning the General Assembly has the power to pass laws to allow other free education, but instead we have legislators who pass laws placing moratoriums on charter schools, which is a far cry from moving towards other free education in this state. (Article X section 1)
Why did I raise those Constitutional issues? Because we are a nation of laws. If we fail to apply our laws or enforce them we become a society that has lost its way. Many argue that is the case with our public education system today. We continue to throw money at the public education system, and the results we are getting are no better, and in some cases worse, than they were before the financial windfalls.
Looking at numerous private schooled, charter schooled, magnet schooled, and home schooled children, we can see they are achieving on a greater scale than our public schools. Parents should ask why.
Today’s public education is becoming an employment factory first and an educational center second. It’s no secret the hiring of staff has outpaced student enrollment over the last 20 years. This is about the time the unions will pipe in and claim this is an attack on the unions. Did you know that the charter school movement is not anti-union? Did you know over 20% of Illinois charter schools have unions? The charter community supports teachers unions on policies that help drive student achievement. This is not about the unions though, this is about our children’s future and ours, as they are our future!
With continued financial handicaps in our public education system we see more money being spent on those handicaps instead of our children. When does the bleeding end?
The key, as referenced in our Constitution, is to make the goal the children’s educational development to the limits of their capabilities. Allowing the funds for education to follow the student to the school of their choice makes sense for the students! As a parent I have a right to determine the best choice for my child’s education and rest assured that is not determined by a district map. It is determined by knowing what is best for my child based on knowledge of my child’s needs. A district map cannot make that determination.
Knowing competition drives to better service in the business world, it is not a leap to see the same with our education system. If a school is not providing the education quality of another school then they should have to improve in order to keep those students. Does anyone really want them stuck on a sinking ship? We don’t continue visiting the local restaurant that serves cold soggy food so why should we be financially locked to a school that continues to fail in meeting the needs of our children?
School choice is an option that has proven to provide higher graduation rates, higher college enrollment, and college persistence.
What parent is not in favor of those items?
Children are the future and deserve options. Options that offer positive results. As parents, we should have the right to select the school we want our children to go to, and our tax dollars should follow them where ever they go instead of being locked in to the district we live in.
I would urge everyone to learn more about the importance of their children’s educational options as their future depends on it, as does ours! School choice is an option most parents support but few can afford. If you support selecting the school of choice for your child and having the funding follow them wherever they go, you need to get involved and let your legislators know where you stand.
School choice is a financial benefit for everyone involved, and most of all it is potentially the best opportunity for your child’s education.
School Choice is a Parental Right.
By Kirk Allen
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