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December 2, 2022

ISBE – These People Are In Charge Of Our School Education System?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 16, 2021

Illinois (ECWd) –

The Illinois State Board of Education has posted its agenda for its next meeting Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 10 AM.

While we found nothing on the agenda regarding any attempted rulemaking for mask mandates at schools, we must admit surprise to their public comment policy.

For a group that is supposed to be in charge of our State Education system, it might do them well to take or re-take the Open Meetings Act training, a beginning course on our US Constitution, and if after that they can’t figure it out they should resign.

The Board outlines that individuals wishing to speak are asked to sign up 30 minutes prior.   Additionally, the agenda posting indicates the signup form is only going to be available between 8:30-9:30 am the day of the meeting.

“Individuals who wish to sign up for public participation should complete an online form that will be available from 8:30-9:30 a.m. This form will also be accessible at 100 N. First Street, Springfield, IL. Participants will be able to review the guidelines and indicate if they wish to speak. All public participation speakers must be present at the Board meeting.”

The Attorney General Public Access Counselor has issued numerous opinions on early signup requirements and continually confirms they violate the Open Meetings Act.  Pecatonica Township is one of those who received such a ruling this year for their policy that required sign up 15 minutes before the meeting.

Additionally concerns on their public comment policy:

  • “Presentations must be specific to educationally relevant issues; individuals wishing to address the Board must indicate on the sign-in sheet the specific topic or issues about which they will be speaking.”

Requiring people to disclose the specific topic or issues they are going to speak on is an unreasonable rule.  People have a right to free speech.  Part of that speech is to be able to address their government officials and there is no requirement to first tell them the issues they wish to discuss.

  • “Priority for presentation of testimony will be given to government officials and individuals who have not previously addressed the Board on a given issue.”

There is no provision in the law that prioritizes speakers during public comment. Such a policy is not reasonable and leads to the discrimination of those who are not government officials, as in citizens. How special is it that we have a Board of Education that thinks government officials are entitled to priority recognition during public comment?

  • “Board members may interrupt a speaker at any time to ask questions or make comments as frequently as necessary to clarify the presentation”

So the Board thinks they can just interrupt a speaker at any time?  Seriously?  Public comment time is just that.  It’s the publics’ time, limited to a whopping 3 minutes with this board.  The Board wants to ask questions of the speakers.  How special.  Does the public get to ask questions and get answers to those questions?  We ask because of the massive number of school boards in this state that they are not there to answer questions during public comment.

  • “No person addressing the Board shall make charges or level complaints against individual employees under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education. Such charges or complaints will only be accepted in writing and will not be considered unless signed by the person making the charges. The Board will investigate all charges.”

The most basic foundation of our First Amendment permits us to address our public officials to include leveling complaints against them and anyone in their employ.  How on earth these people missed this most basic civil right is beyond my comprehension.

  • “Boisterous conduct will not be permitted at any Board or Committee meeting, nor will any defamatory or abusive language be tolerated. The Board or Committee chairperson may terminate the privilege of any speaker who violates this regulation.”

Boisterous conduct can result in losing their right to speak?  Who defines what constitutes boisterous?  What may be considered boisterous to the board who may be on the receiving end of rightful criticism may be nothing more than protected speech to those speaking.  Abusive language is also not defined.  The Board appears to be walking on a very fine line of violating peoples right to speak under Illinois OMA as well as our under our First Amendment.

We will be attending the meeting to address these issues as well as to live stream the meeting.

A copy of the public comment policy can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.

ISBE-Public-Participation-Policy

 

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10 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 14:46h, 16 August

    Abusive language is also not defined. Its language they disagree with

  • jannie
    Posted at 15:10h, 16 August

    I do have a couple concerns regarding the “topic”, however, our city council requires the people sign up the friday for the monday council mtg. However, I also think they allow a Public input once a month. at the beginning of a meeting.

  • Roger
    Posted at 15:57h, 16 August

    I can see the Board of Education preparing to “clutch their pearls” anytime a new face rises to speak.

  • PK
    Posted at 17:27h, 16 August

    With the ECWd’s in attendance, the Illinois State Board of Education IS apt to BE given a lesson in the Open Meetings Act.

  • Publius
    Posted at 19:18h, 16 August

    Next meeting is Weds 8/18. 10 AM. Agenda is here https://www.isbe.net/Documents_Board_Meetings/Agenda-081821.pdf

  • Truth Teller
    Posted at 20:02h, 16 August

    You don’t mention the behavior of many anti maskers. They’re belligerent yelling racist epithets, threatening board members with violence. This includes board members having to stop meetings because of threatened violence and those very anti maskers having to be escorted out by police. These people will not let other people talk, boo and heckle people who want their children protected by masks. This also includes anti maskers threantening board members with claims that they know where different board members live. This is the behavior your supporting. This is not fair exchange of dialog or citizen’s 1st Amendment rights. Heckling, bullying racist shouting, threatening government officials is not right. Anti maskers have shown their very ugly agenda. If you think this is how public health crisis should be handled you’re wrong. The science supports masks and other mitigations.

    • John Kraft
      Posted at 07:51h, 17 August

      Please post these racial epithets you say are being yelled. Also post the proof of threatening board members with violence. Escorting people out of a meeting is something a lot of board members do when confronted with things they do not like – it has nothing to do with mask or no mask. Everyone who can read an election petition or a statement of economic interest knows where public officials live – why would telling them that be considered a threat. The First Amendment protects the language we hate, not the language we love.

    • PK
      Posted at 11:22h, 17 August

      Of Illinois neighboring states, Illinois is the only state to have an executive office mandate. The Illinois Governor holds a BS degree in political science and a JD in law. Try to keep that in mind when referring to your own lack of knowledge about others students, their parents, and non-political areas of science…because I’m an idiot for ya, “Truth Teller.”

    • Frank Miller
      Posted at 11:37h, 17 August

      “In Germany, where schools are open and masks are mostly optional, the association of “Kinder f.Weltfrieden eV” commissioned a laboratory analysis to investigate the level of microbial contamination that results after a fresh mask is worn by a child for 6-8 hours in school. What they found was alarming to all those recommending we mask our children for several hours every day. The masks were found to be contaminated with 82 bacterial colonies and 4 mold colonies. Thus, the mask-wearing child is at imminent risk for harm caused by lung infections that are far more dangerous than a Covid-19 infection. In fact, based on reports from my colleagues in emergency medicine, pulmonology, and infectious disease, an alarming explosion in bacterial pneumonias is being reported at ERs and urgent care centers across the country.” – Jim Meehan, MD

      “We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before. About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, so we decided to name it mask mouth.” – Dr. Rob Ramondi

      “This is why OSHA created a respirator standard in the first place. So now to just tell everybody to “mask up”, and it’s not a danger, is not only unethical but it’s illegal. So it’s not legal in the workplace to allow an employee to work in a mask or face covering without first doing a medical evaluation, to make sure that the employee can medically tolerate it. Because we know that it is very taxing to the cardiopulmonary system. Even if they are not working and just sitting because it changes the way you breath. We know by the data and tests that we have, that this is not only unsafe but is very unhealthy. Not only do you have that acute immediate issue with headache and fatigue and nausea. But you are creating long-term health effects too. When you deprive the body of oxygen for a long period of time it reduces immune function, it causes cancer to be able to grow and thrive in a more acidic environment. You are increasing also the CO2, which causes hypercapnia.” – Tammy Clark, OSHA Environmental Health & Safety Specialist

  • Cindy
    Posted at 03:18h, 17 August

    But to be clear, children are now allowed to wear their hair in any style whatsoever.

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