Bill Clinton once told us it depended upon what the meaning of “is” is.
For Illinois citizens it depends upon what the meaning of “education” is.
Let us see if we know what the meaning of “education” is in Illinois.
We know that “education” means pensions of up to $186,000 per year for members of the Teachers Retirement System.
We know “education” means six-figure salaries for over 5,000 public school employees.
We know “education” means over $10 million in political donations to Illinois politicians of both parties by various teacher union organizations since 2000.
In Mundelein “education” means a school district job for one board member, a school contract for the spouse of another board member and the purchase of a public golf course for school expansion when less expensive property is available right across the street. In Carpentersville “education” means 10% per year salary increases for teachers at District 300 at the same time they are asking for more money for the Education Fund.
We know “education” means a nine-month work year and “you can’t fire me” tenure for teachers.
In Illinois “education” means teachers can’t be fired but they can go on strike.
That tells us what “education” is; let us see what “education” isn’t.
“Education” is not vouchers for poor parents so they can decide where their kids should go to school. Fifty years ago blacks were not allowed to eat in certain restaurants, drink from certain fountains or sit in front of the bus. Today they are still not allowed to choose where their children go to school. Jim Crow is alive and well in Illinois.
“Education” does not mean tax credits for dedicated parents who home school. They pay taxes for other kids to go to school but not for their own.
And in a recent article in the Daily Herald, the United Way is asking for donations for school supplies for homeless children so we know for sure the $20 billion Illinois spends on “education” each year does not mean pencils, crayons, tablets, backpacks or scissors for the poorest of the poor.
The Illinois constitution guarantees members of the TRS their $186,000/yr pensions but does not guarantee all children adequate school supplies. Doesn’t that seem backwards to you? Shouldn’t the word “education” consider children before teachers?
So remember when teacher union officials and politicians talk about what “education” is — they do not mean what you think “education” is or should be. And as long as they are in charge of defining what education” is, Illinois taxpayers will pay more and Illinois children will receive less.