This is a good summary of what’s going on in McHenry County compared with the rest of the State of Illinois.
It comes from the 2012 McHenry County Labor Report.
It comes from the 2012 McHenry County Labor Report.
Signs like the one you see above are all over Springfield this past weekend.
Illegally posted, but why should those opposing budget cuts follow the law anymore than political candidates do.
Regular readers may remember my extreme disappointment with liberal Democrat Jack Franks’ vote to sentence poorly-educated Chicago children to more of the same.
Chicago Pastor and State Senator James Meeks got a bill through the State Senate that would have offering an alternative. A variation of a voucher system in which parents of kids in failing schools would be able to take some money misspent now and use it to enroll their children in other schools where they hoped the education would be better.
The Chicago Teachers Union (which controls the Illinois Teachers Federation or IFT) didn’t manage to beat the bill in the Senate, but they killed it in the Illinois House…with Jack Franks’ help.
Now, with the announcement of his retiring from politics, Pastor Meeks seems to be saying that he tried the world’s way and it didn’t work. Maybe he’ll start a private school at his church.
The bill, by the way, would have saved state taxpayers about $240 million a year.
But Jack Franks voted, “No,” anyway.
He went with the Illinois Federation of Teachers union, instead of what he should have known was the right thing to do.
He got no heat for this disappointed vote from anywhere but McHenry County Blog to the best of my knowledge.
There are some local politicians whom the county’s newspaper of record, the Northwest Herald, make look good. No doubt about that.
More recently the IFT lobbyists who were undoubtedly whispering in Jack Franks’ ears were caught with their hands in the Downstate Teachers Retirement System Fund.
Pretty indefensible. One was going to get over a $100,000 a year for having substitute taught ONE day.
So, what does Jack Franks do?
Like a fighter jet under attack, he tossed chaff out to make sure he doesn’t get brought down.
He attacks the IFT’s lobbyists’ pension abuse.
What nobody bothers to ask is,
Could it be because State Representative Jack Franks has gotten a lot of money from teachers’ unions over the years?
Of course not.
There is never any connection between the way a legislator votes and the contributions he or she receives, is there?
But after you look at the campaign contributions that Jack Franks has received over the years, you might want to ask him why he voted to poor mainly black and brown students in the Chicago school system to a continuing subpar education when he could have done something about it that would have saved $200 million a year and not hurt anyone in his legislative district.
Anybody wonder why Franks sold out Chicago children or why he threw the IFT lobbyists under the bus, so to speak?
A press release from Patriots United explains what happened last Thursday night at its McHenry County forum on education:
Patriots United Education Forum Attracts Concerned Local Citizens
All Sides of Important Issue Discussed with Experts on Each Perspective
WOODSTOCK, IL – Patriots United hosted an Education Forum last night at McHenry County College Conference Center with nearly 60 concerned citizens in attendance.
The event included excerpts from the Cartel Movie followed by a panel discussion.
The Cartel Movie documented serious problems within our public education system as well as proven solutions.
Filmed in New Jersey, the movie showcased the sheer power of teachers unions where as little as 10% of education funding goes into the classroom; most of the funding goes toward administration and pensions for too many administrators.
The Cartel movie also offered compelling evidence to support alternatives such as charter schools as more public education choices ultimately improve the entire public education system.
Following the movie, a panel of local experts answered questions, consisting of
Illinois children rank 37th in education, and some of the problems in our public education system mirror those in New Jersey.
Parents and teachers alike voiced their frustration for over an hour, focusing in on the lack choice in education and the need for more parent involvement in their children’s education.
Although the questions were generally aimed at recurring problems in the system at large, panel members fielded several questions regarding highly contentious issues in local school districts.
Patriots United is thankful to the esteemed panel members and to all those who attended the informative event. Several similar events are being planned for neighboring counties, and will be announced shortly.
About Patriots United:
Patriots United is a conservative organization founded on five pillars:
Dedicated to uniting all like-minded citizens in order to change public policy, Patriots United is renewing America by changing the present course of government, one community at a time, to one that the founding fathers were divinely inspired to create.
Besides being able to view the movie about education entitled “The Cartel,” there will be air conditioning at McHenry County College this Thursday night.
The following message from Patriots United explains the event:
This Thursday, July 21st, there will be a private viewing of The Cartel at McHenry County College starting at 6:30pm.
As part of the event, Patriots United will be hosting a panel discussion with experts from every side of the issue discussing what can be done to improve education in our country. The attached flier has more details.
We hope you can make it out Thursday. Pass the word along to anyone you think might be interested!
Bruno Behrend, J.D., is director of the Center for School Reform at The Heartland Institute, where he is advocating the transformation of America’s education system.
Mr. Behrend has a background in public policy research, database consulting (specialist in fund raising software), and corporate seminar and training development. Mr. Behrend is a graduate of University of Illinois (1983) with a degree in finance and a graduate of IIT-Kent College of Law (1990), and is licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
Lennie Jarratt – A business internet consulting company (OODAStrategies.com) owner, Lennie Jarratt became an education watchdog/researcher in Grayslake School District 46 in 2005. As a founder and supporter of the Lake County Tea Party, Mr. Jarratt remains a strong advocate for local government transparency as well as the education funding system known as “Fund the Child” (FundTheChild.com)
Chris Jenner – A resident of Cary, Illinois, Chris Jenner has served on the Cary Elementary District 26 Board for seven years. Avidly following education and public school curriculum for the past decade, Mr. Jenner has been employed in private industry for 33 years in both leadership and individual contributor roles. He holds a BS from the University of Illinois, an MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MS from DePaul University.
Yesterday, I took from the McHenry County Republican web site something State Rep. Mike Tryon had put up about educational reform.
It contained “Talking Points for Educational Reform.”
Undoubtedly handed out to all Republican members of the Illinois House.
One point, however, does not apply outside of Chicago:
“Averting teacher strikes is another key component of these reforms.”
There is a requirement for an extraordinary majority to authorize a strike in Chicago, but not impediment elsewhere in Illinois can be found in the bill.
A missive from McHenry County Republican Party Chairman and State Representative Mike Tryon:
The month of May brings the close of the State of Illinois’ General Assembly, it is at this time that most of the controversial bills will be been voted on and this May is no different.
Votes on issues like The Medical Cannabis Act and Concealed Carry both of which did not pass but were significant changes in public policy and received a lot of media attention, will be issues that the sponsors have said they would bring back for next year.
However, there was a significant effort for education reform that passed both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate that changes issues like tenure, school strike clauses, make contract bargaining for employees more open and informative to the public.
In keep with our commitment to keep you up to date on issues and especially those issues which constituents may have questions we are including talking points so that you may be answer the questions you may encounter.
Talking Points for Education Reform
• Ensuring a quality education for the children of Illinois should be our top priority.
• Republicans have long been champions of education reform. We led the way on numerous reforms, from Chicago School Reform to the Charter Schools Law.
• The landmark reforms contained in Senate Bill 7 and Senate Bill 630 are the result of months of negotiations between all interested parties – from the State Board of Education to the reform groups, teacher unions, and school management.
• First and foremost, these reforms will help to ensure that Illinois students are being taught by highly-qualified, excellent teachers.
• Teacher tenure will no longer be based simply on years served, but instead will be based on merit and performance review.
• Under these reforms, teacher reduction in force (RIF), recall, and the filling of vacant positions will be based on performance before years of relevant experience.
• We are streamlining the teacher dismissal process and giving the final decision-making authority to locally-elected school boards.
• Local control is a key component of these reforms.
• Averting teacher strikes is another key component of these reforms.
• The public will be able to see the final offers between districts and local bargaining units prior to a strike. Mediation will be extended in a final effort to avoid a strike.
• There are further reforms to Chicago collective bargaining and there is required school board training.
• We are creating a Survey of Learning Conditions to be administered to teachers, parents and students every two years.
• Finally, the State Superintendent of Education will have the ability to revoke a teaching certificate when a teacher receives two unsatisfactory evaluations within a seven-year period.
• The sweeping reform proposals contained in SB 7 and SB 630 represent the most significant reforms to education in Illinois in over a decade
• These reforms will improve teacher quality, cut down on strikes and help ensure that all Illinois students receive a quality education.
Former Huntley School Board Larry Snow has found a chink in the armor of Illinois Democrats.
And from whence did it come?
From newly-elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Snow picks up on an April 17, 2011, letter to the Chicago Tribune containing the following gem:
“Nothing is more critical to Chicago’s future than our children’s education. And yet for years we have cheated them.”
And, who has been running Chicago since before I was born?
Here’s another quote from Emanuel:
“It’s no wonder only half of Chicago Public Schools’ students graduate from high school.”
And, who was in charge of Chicago schools?
President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arn Ducan. From the Department’s web site:
“Prior to his appointment as secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, a position to which he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley, from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country.”
Read the rest of the article, if you think this might be an issue Illinois Republicans could capitalize on.
A press release from Joe Walsh:
Congressman Walsh Issues Statement on House Passage of D.C. Opportunities Scholarship Program
“Once again, D.C. parents will have the power and means necessary to emancipate their children from failing public schools”
Washington, D.C. — Today, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 471, the SOAR Act, a bill which Congressman Walsh co-sponsored, by 225-195 votes.
The bill reauthorizes the D.C. Opportunities Scholarship Program – a program that provides low-income students scholarships to higher performing schools in the District of Columbia.
Since its 2004 inception, the D.C. OSP has been a huge success. Providing more than 3,300 kids with the opportunity to attend higher performing schools, the program touts a 91 percent graduation rate, versus the overall high school graduation rate of 55 percent found in the District.
“Today Congress stood up for our kids,” said Congressman Walsh.
“They stood up to the teachers unions who were so scared of seeing our kids have the opportunity to break-free from their failing educational systems, that they spent millions of dollars trying to maintain the status quo.
“They stood up for the parents who desperately want their kids to have the chance to receive a high-quality education.
“Today Congress made the decision to put kids before politics, and once again, D.C. parents will have the power and means necessary to emancipate their children from failing public schools.”
“Educators and parents across the country should wake up and pay attention.
“The D.C. OSP is a program that should be modeled in Illinois and all over America.
“Its proven results are undeniable and through it, we’ve seen thousands of students receive an education that has prepared them to compete in a society where education is the keystone of success.”
“As a lifelong educator, the passage of this bill means so much to me. It was about our kids, about giving future generations the education they will need to lead our great country into the future.”
Rep. Joe Walsh ran the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, a Chicago-based privately funded school voucher program which gives high school scholarships to low-income Chicago eighth grader, from 1997-2001.
My Crystal Lake State Representative Mike Tryon is doing exactly what I would do. He is filling out all sorts of questionnaires and publishing them on his campaign web site.
Here it is the latest one, a comprehensive one from Project Vote Smart:
Project Vote Smart
2010 Illinois State-Level Political Courage Test
Michael W. Tryon
Abortion and Reproductive Issues
Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life? Pro-life
Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy? N
Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape? Y
Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered? Y
Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor? Y
Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor? Y
Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods? Y
Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs? N
Budget, Spending and Tax Issues
Using the key, indicate what state funding levels (1-6) you support for the following general categories:
1= Greatly Increase 2= Slightly Increase 3= Maintain Status
4= Slightly Decrease 5= Greatly Decrease 6= Eliminate
Higher Education 3
K-12 Education 3 (a #1 priority, but the system needs reform)
Health Care 4
Law Enforcement 3
Transportation and Highway Infrastructure 3
Welfare 3 (the system needs reform)
Alcohol Taxes 3
Cigarette Taxes 3
Corporate Taxes 3
Gasoline Taxes 3
Property Taxes 3 (however, the General Assembly does not control this)
Sales Taxes 3
Income taxes for low income families 3
Income taxes for middle income families 3
Income taxes for high income families 3
Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Illinois’ budget.
Tapping into Illinois “rainy day” fund Y (but there isn’t one)
Issuing the early release of certain non-violent offenders N
Increasing tuition rates at public universities Y (modestly, but only if needed after significant reform of expenditures)
Instituting mandatory furloughs and layoffs for state employees Y
Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients Y
Privatizing certain government services Y
Campaign Finance and Government Reform Issues
Do you support eliminating the position of lieutenant governor? Y
Do you support limits on the number of terms for Illinois governors? Y
Do you support limits on the number of terms for Illinois sate legislators? Y
Do you support limits on the number of terms for the four top legislative leadership positions? Y
Do you support limits on the following types of contributions to candidates for state government:
Political Action Committee Y
Political Party Y (though this could be unconstitutional)
Legislative Leader Y
Crime and Public Safety Issues
Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? Y
Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment? Y (I was chief sponsor of a new law that does exactly that for Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome)
Should the possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized? N
Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult? N (but Y is some rare cases)
Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges? Y
Do you support requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets? N
Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by states and local police? Y
Do you support reducing government regulation on the private sector? Y
Should video gambling be legal in Illinois? Y
Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers? N (I can not support any increased spending at this time)
Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits? N
Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation? Y
Do you support increased spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation? Y
Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure? Y (but no new spending)
Do you support National Education Standards? N
Do you support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams? N
Do you support using a merit pay system for teachers? Y
Do you support state funding for charter schools? Y
Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid? Y
Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Illinois high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities? N
Environment and Energy Issues
Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy? Y
Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (like coal, natural gas, oil)? Y
Do you support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops? N
Do you support state funding for improvements to Illinois’ energy infrastructure? N
Do you support state funding for open space preservation? Y
Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? N
Do you support requiring a background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows? Y
Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns? Y
Do you support requiring a license for gun possession? N
Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option? N
Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform? Y
Do you support interstate health insurance compacts? Y
Should individuals be require3d to purchase health care insurance? N
Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits? Y
Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Illinois? N
Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medical purposes? N
Should marriage only be between one man and one woman? Y
Do you support state funding for stem cell research? N
Do you support state funding for embryonic stem cell research? N
Do you support the state’s use of affirmative action? Y
Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Illinois’ anti-discrimination laws? N
Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Illinois’ anti-discrimination laws? N
Legislative Priorities (100 words or less)
Illinois is facing its worst economic crisis in the State’s history.
While the private sector is contracting due to the current economy, state government continues to expand.
Difficult decisions need to be made to reign in spending, but the leadership in Springfield is unwilling to make them.
Additionally, state government needs to be more transparent so that citizens have easy access to learning how their taxes are being spent. Lastly, ethics reform must be a priority.
Corruption in Illinois must end and significant reforms in the area of ethics are needed to restore Illinoisans’ faith in their government.