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Politically-Charged letter from Chicago Public School officials is why we need Betsy DeVos

Amazing the speed of life since the January 20th inauguration. We’ve seen/read/experienced bursts and bolus of opinions, innuendos, lies, attacks, and counter-attacks, with resultant exasperation, exhaustion and confusion.

Imagine how this is affecting our kids, especially in light of our Country’s sub-optimal public educational system. An example, you ask? Where do I begin……let’s say Chicago!

Imagine your sweet munchkin skipping through the front door, bright smile, ready to tell you about his/her/ze/it/unknown/indifferent/confused…… day at schrewl! Oh! A letter from the public school system; how nice that they write. No, this letter is not to ask your input on curriculum, or to let you know of an upcoming field trip to Planned Parenthood to learn about trial and error systems in math (with goodie bags!). This letter is to force a political point of view, while indirectly supporting school choice.

All 381,000 students received such a political letter from Chicago public school officials on February 6th. Now, all-of-a-sudden, the concept of balancing a budget is a problem. The current Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, has a challenge that the many (many) past democratic governors ignored: Doing the right thing by spending within limits despite pathetic rhetoric: this will hurt OUR CHILDREN (oh boohoo!)

“Please understand that this means your principal cannot provide everything she or he knows should be available for your children. The principals are doing the best they can.”

First, congratulations to the Chicago public school officials for acknowledging, directly, that their teachers are one of ONLY TWO genders: “he or she”. We are making progress in the subject of biology. Awesome.

From the CPS FY17 budget website,

“Update February 2, 2017: Due to the Governor’s veto of the bill that moved toward more equitable pension funding through CPS, we have amended the online budget to reflect a reduction of $104 million in appropriation through furlough days and a freeze of non-personnel funds at schools. The Board will vote on these changes February 22, 2017.”

The FY2017 budget, as of November 21, 2016, increased appropriations for capital project from $338 MILLION to an amount not to exceed $956 MILLION. How is it possible for public school officials to presume the lottery is theirs for the taking? And then presume all parents will welcome a politically-charged letter filled with their “woe is us” idiocy? Governor Rauner’s appropriate action will result in a budget amendment to reduce the bloating by $104 million, for now.

Chicago TV station WGN published the letter, and parent reactions:

“One CPS parent who contacted WGN wrote: “This is so inappropriate. How can he send political propaganda home?” The letter, paid for by taxpayers, does not mention democrats who have been in control of the city and state legislature for decades.
Government watchdog groups questioned the district’s decision to use such strong partisan language in a letter sent home with kids. “Invoking partisan politics – especially at the national level – is not the most effective way to build trust with parents and students,” said Sarah Brune of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Gov. Rauner’s office released a letter of its own Tuesday. Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis wrote: “Rather than cutting services and creating a crisis to help justify a campaign to raise taxes in Springfield, it would be helpful to everyone if CPS would work with all parties to enact a balanced budget package that includes comprehensive pension reform and a new and equitable school funding formula.”

This brings us to Betsy DeVos. What can she do? Provide enthusiasm and motivation for parents and states to disengage from federally-forced, sub-optimal, politically-charged school officials and their systems. Also, she can provide a path for teachers to run so fast the unions will eat dust. How? Via five reforms:
– Decentralize education and abolish Common Core.
– Ask if a policy (or allocated monies) benefit kids, or unions. If the latter, scrap it.
– School Choice. School Choice. School Choice.
– Encourage, support, and harmonize homeschooling; if parents are in charge, maybe they’ll minimize warehousing their kids in daycare – wow!
– Promote freedom of speech, with intelligence, candor, and vibrant debate. No masked, Taser-wielding delinquents allowed.

Parents with kids in the Chicago public school system, and teachers that prefer to teach, must engage with Betsy DeVos. Take note, USA.

About the author

Tara Baney

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