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Saturday, February 13, 2010

LSC Battle in Chicago

James Meeks is at it again. Last year, he called Illinois a racist state and proposed that more education decisions be made by the state government.

I want the whole nation to look at Illinois," said a defiant Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church and a state senator. "I want the whole nation to ask, 'Why is Illinois racist?' I want them to ask, 'Why is Illinois treating low-income students like that?' "

Now, Meeks is proposing that local school councils be abolished and move their power to the City's government.

Firebrand James Meeks is proposing to eliminate LSCs, according to information being sent around by LSC advocates.

Local School Councils are the parent/teacher volunteer groups formed to oversee each school. Here's how one LSC member described their experience.

For starters, last spring, when our principal's contract was up for renewal, the teachers and parents who serve with me on our LSC spent scores of hours to ensure our principal got a fair shake. As just one small part of that process, we prepared hundreds of anonymous surveys and questionnaires, which we mailed to parents and teachers. We had a remarkably high return rate on those materials. We then spent many nights side by side in meeting rooms at public libraries compiling and discussing the survey results and detailed narrative answers. From time to time we disagreed with each other, but we always did so without being disagreeable. In sum, our LSC members can tell you far more about what's going on inside our school than anyone down at 125 S. Clark can.

The pattern with Meeks is forming. He appears to favor moving power as far away from the classroom as possible. Last year, he wanted to move power away from individual school districts and into the state's government. Now, he wants to abolish LSC's in favor of power in the city.

That's the opposite of the philosophy I take toward education. I believe the power should be as close to the classroom as possible. The bill, SB3063, which needs to get through the rules committee and thus it's entirely dependent on the approval of Michael Madigan.

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