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Letters to the editor, March 22

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Updated: April 23, 2013 1:19PM



Legislature is ignoring what voters wanted for education

The legislature is on pace to completely alter public education on the misguided belief that our schools are failing. Their actions affirm their allegiance to the Daniels/Bennett reforms aggressively advanced by the private sector even in the face of Bennett’s overwhelming defeat in November. They have arrogantly chosen to ignore this reality by pushing their reform agenda with their super majority.

Laws are being proposed that impact your schools and teachers, ranging from the IRead-3 test to the expansion of vouchers, which sends tens of millions of dollars of public school funds to private ones. We are now looking at REPA 2 which lowers teaching standards, allowing virtually any organization to qualify as a teacher training institution and which would allow noneducators to become superintendents with no teaching experience or special training. A to F school grading replaces improvement with performance based on standardized testing results. The scope of so-called turnaround academies expands to incorporate them into full-fledged school districts with appointed boards. The number of charter schools is growing and if they fail, as they frequently do, imagine the total disruption of the lives of students and families.

In effect, the legislature is complicit in creating a dual-education system. Our constitution calls for a Common School, free and open to all, not a hybrid private/public system wherein tax dollars are sent to predominantly religious-based schools, and now more frequently and insidiously, to for-profit entities.

Consider the money being spent to promote vouchers and the hundreds of millions of dollars made by testing companies and privatization endeavors being driven by free-market proponents with their dubious claims of better education stemming from their competition with public schools.

Michael Walsh

Bloomington

Rodman would be better than Kerry for secretary of state

It appears President Barack Obama has made a huge blunder by not taking more time before selecting Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to replace Hillary Clinton. Nothing against Kerry, but since the world is in such turmoil, we need someone who can accomplish excellent diplomatic missions in a short time.

Dennis Rodman has shown that he can do exactly that. He quickly developed a “lifetime friendship” with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, with whom the U.S. has had great problems connecting. Unless Kim was temporarily overcome by a fascination for jewelry, this was a great achievement. Perhaps this could be duplicated in Iran and other trouble spots around the globe. The savings in military preparedness and monitoring the many trouble areas could even balance the budget.

Since the president and Rodman are both Chicago alumni and basketball enthusiasts, this probably could have happened.

Hugh SellerCrown Point



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