Meeks school voucher bill fails in house, put on postponed consideration

Ill-served public school parents and children across the state owe State Senator James Meeks thanks for his leadership on SB2494 –

– “a bill that would help students who would otherwise be failed by our current system of government schooling. His bill, would enable [up to] 30,000 Chicago elementary students who attend the city’s 49 worst performing schools to attend private schools by giving their parents a choice of schools through a school voucher program.”

The bill passed the senate but the house vote was 66-48 against. It was moved to postponed consideration – a procedural maneuver that keeps the bill alive for now.

I have to say, it was quite a sight to see Republicans arguing against educational freedom and Democrats arguing for it. Democrat Rep. Kevin Joyce did a fine job handling the debate on behalf of the bill.

After decades of research and evidence proving the case for school choice, Republicans who can’t comprehend the need for proper incentives probably should reconsider their party affiliation. Make no mistake – you cannot fix the public schools. They are structurally equal to the command and control economy of the former U.S.S.R.

And just as “Perestroika” couldn’t fix communism, no amount of pretend “reforms” or boatloads of money can put in what’s needed when proper incentives are kept out.

The debate was at times passionate and worth watching. Listening to public school administrator and State Rep. Roger Eddy certainly wasn’t easy. Just one of his ridiculous points: His bankrupt education blob fellows fought to limit the size of the voucher bill – and then Eddy expressed concern over the kids left behind.

Hey Roger, free them all – that’s how none of them will be left behind. Republican state Rep. Robert Pritchard took part of his allotted time blame parents for the failures of the schools.

Listen, you can’t call yourself an education “professional” if you’re going to blame parents. My parents attended Catholic schools when they were growing up and their parents rarely, if ever, concerned themselves with what was going on in those schools because they didn’t have to. They knew the nuns were all business and that they were getting the job done.

The time spent in school was used for education. If a kid didn’t cooperate, he flunked. The role of incentives works not just for the adults in the system but for kids, too.

It’s true that not all of the Republicans that spoke were an embarrassment, but the passion in support of the bill came from the Democrat side of the house floor.

Friends compiled the roll call – here are the 22 house Republicans who shamefully voted against the kids:

Dan Brady Sid Mathias Raymond Poe Jim Sacia
Rich Brauer Bill Mitchell Robert Pritchard Skip Saviano
John Cavaletto Jerry Mitchell Randy Ramey Jil Tracy
Sandy Cole Don Moffitt Dennis Reboletti Jim Watson
Roger Eddy Rosemary Mulligan David Reis
Renee Kosel Sandy Pihos Chapin Rose

Again, congratulations to Sen. Meeks and Rep. Joyce – the bill lives to fight another day.

Illinois children, parents, and taxpayers are much like those trapped behind the iron curtain of yesterday. They cling to the hope that the current public school system will someday join communism on the ashbin of history.

To learn more about genuine school reform – visit the organizations that have done fantastic work on this subject:

Illinois Loop

Heartland Institute

Heritage Foundation

Cato Institute

©2010 John Francis Biver