That’s pretty much the question that former Huntley School Board member Larry Snow asks in a a column posted on The Champion today.
“…in Illinois teachers are informing parents how their children are passing in reading when they can read as poorly as those at the bottom 20th percentile nationally.”
Snow finds no outcry about this false impression that everything’s OK in Illinois schools.
“Illinois teachers as an overall group simply don’t want the public to expect their child in the 5th grade to be reading at the fifth grade level” he adds. “Making the ISAT pass grade be at 20 percent nationally had no opposition from former union teachers, now administrators.”
He works in teacher workload, salaries and benefits as he spotlights Chicago, Elgin, Rockford and Lemont (87% white) School Districts.
“In three of the worst and largest school districts in Illinois, teachers in Elgin U-46 and Rockford don’t pay a penny while those in Chicago pay 2 percent. That’s also without having to pay a penny into Social Security,” he observes.
“On Rockford’s home page the district boasts ‘Rockford World-Class Education.’
“You are supposed to accept an average ACT score of 18.4 is ‘world class’ along with more than 37 percent of all students reading below, low (20th percentile nationally) state standards.”
Snow notes that in Rockford “more than 70 percent of its 1,843 teachers having Masters Degrees. What have they ‘mastered’ about teaching when their students are learning so little?
“The standards for learning ‘teaching’ are far too low when on-the-job, real-world results from those who have ‘mastered’ teaching are abysmal.”
“Elgin U-46 has 23 percent of its 7th graders reading at, or below, low (20th percentile nationally) state standards, when 67.7 percent of its 2,332 teachers have Masters Degrees, and all teachers are being paid salaries averaging over $70,000. Half of its students ‘achieve’ an ACT score of 19.6 and less.”
Snow concludes that collective bargaining is to blame:
“Public unions insist they have a ‘right’ to collectively bargain for low standards in education and make taxpayers overpay for poor teacher performance.
“Now they are calling it a civil right.
“The high percentage of Masters Degree teachers in the worst and largest school districts shows how harmful collective bargaining is to helping students actually learn.”
You can read the entire piece here.