Thursday, March 3, 2016

EXTRA: Ill. House says “aye” to elected Chicago Board of Education

When all was said and done, it seems the Illinois House of Representatives treated the idea of an elected board to run the Chicago Public Schools as a no-brainer.

MARTWICK: Bill wins, but do voters?
The House on Thursday voted 110-4 in favor of a bill by state Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, to take the power of appointment away from the Chicago mayor in picking school board members.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL’S picks will get to remain for the time being. But under the bill that still needs state Senate and gubernatorial approval before it can become law, there would be elections in 2018 for five-year terms for school board members.

After that, school board members would serve for four years at a time – with school board elections being on the same calendar as the municipal elections.

Meaning Chicago voters would have to pick a mayor and other citywide offices, an alderman AND a school board member from their home district.

For the city would be split up into 20 districts, and a school superintendent would run city-wide – 21 new people who will get to go around with titles proclaiming them to be somebody important.

AND BECAUSE IT’S the schools, they’ll claim in their best Mrs. Lovejoy voice (think “The Simpsons”) that it’s all about “the children.”

I was sort of surprised by how overwhelming the vote would be. Then again, I suspect most of our legislators just gave it a knee-jerk “aye” vote before moving on to the next bill.

Only four legislators voted “no” – Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago; Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Westchester; David Leitch, R-Peoria; and Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford; with Chad Hays, R-Catlin, somehow not voting at all on the issue.

Personally, I’m inclined to think the four of them got it right. I’m skeptical that putting school board members on the ballot will make them any more accountable to the public than they are now.

MAINLY BECAUSE I think it creates even more obscure political posts for uninformed voters to have to cast ballots for on Elections Days of the future. Just think of the confusion and apathy surrounding all those judicial posts you vote for, and multiply it by school board members.

You’ll have more posts that the political party hacks will wind up picking people for, then getting the voters to uphold because of their electoral cluelessness.

At least with the current way, when the school board screws up we can come right out and place blame on Rahm Emanuel for picking incompetents to run the schools. Now, we won’t be able to directly do that! Then again, there are those of us who always will be able to find a way to "blame Rahm" for everything!

Besides, my own observation in suburbs where school board members are elected is that all it does is create another layer of people running for office to feed their egos – and that those schools aren’t run all that much better than those in the Chicago Public Schools system.

IT’S UP TO the state Senate now. But it seems that an “aye” vote does nothing more than create more political positions for people who, if they really wanted to help our society, would get off their duffs and get a real job!

Instead, they’ll go running around with an air of self-importance because they’re on the school board!!! And the schools aren’t likely to experience any significant improvement as a result.


No comments: