School Board elections and the joke that is the IL GOP

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The most informed “choir” in human history continues to do almost nothing to fix America’s public school system. What choir am I referring to? Political conservatives who listen to talk radio, watch Fox News, and read all the excellent research and commentary via the think tanks, magazines, and the web.

Too bad there isn’t a political movement to back up all of that wonderful learning.

I’ve noted in previous columns my complaints with the Republican Party in Illinois on almost every front. When it comes to the management of the 800 or so government-run school districts, the lack of organization and brains and backbone costs us all dearly.

You would think that the Republican Party would care about this costly behemoth that is ill-serving parents, students, and taxpayers. But you would be incorrect in that thinking.

If anyone wants to pretend the Illinois GOP can win statewide next year – you might want to start rousing yourself from the fantasy world you inhabit. As I’ve written – if we can’t get the important small elections right – forget the big ones.

There were some wins yesterday – some very excellent school board members won election and reelection. Those victories almost universally resulted with no thanks due the local Republican organizations.

A few key defeats also took place. We can all expect those districts to return to their profligate spending and re-entrenching of mediocrity all around. The students don’t benefit, but the adults being paid by the system certainly do.

Any reform-minded school board candidate faces off against selfish teachers and school district employees that constitute a ready-made grassroots army. Then there is the unlimited cash reserve of teacher union PAC money that is at the disposal of any anti-reform, pro-school system blob candidate.

The reason most good people are kept out of politics is because of the daunting challenge of raising the needed funds to compete – even in a local race. When that local race means contesting candidates funded by greedy special interests that represent nearly everything that’s amiss in our society (as teacher unions and school district vendors do), is it any wonder most clear-thinking people decide against serving on a school board?

So let’s review. A local teacher union collects a boatload of money from teachers within a district and then with that dough, and with the assistance of its tax dollar feeding-allies, spends what’s necessary to defeat reform-minded school board candidates.

The only antidote is a real GOP platform principle driven organization with volunteers and resources committed to change.

Ironically, as we pointed out here, sometimes local “Republicans” actually endorse and work for the candidates funded by the Democratic Party’s biggest ally – the teacher unions. Odds are those Republicans were educated in the public schools too.

Their side does what it takes to win. Our side tunes into Rush Limbaugh and is up on all the latest fantastic analysis about what the Democratic Party is doing wrong. While in our neighborhoods, the Democrat Party continues to screw up the education of the next generation.

So please spare me your statewide election victory hopes next year. The Illinois Republican Party at the state, county, township and ward level continues to be an absolute joke in Illinois. Until the choir decides to leave the choir loft and start working at the local level, statewide victory is a delusion of grandeur.

©2009 John Francis Biver

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