Thursday’s end to a month-long teachers strike in Waukegan, Illinois should be a good thing, but it also proves that schools are playing a joke on your kids. If you live in Waukegan you may have already figured that out. If you haven’t, then the joke is on you. The truth is that schools, not kids, are important to government. Just look at how the public school system is run and consider the battles over education funding, then ask yourself who the schools really serve.
Big promises were made when Illinois received a pass from the Department of Education on No Child Left Behind requirements:
“Today’s approval is a big step forward that will allow Illinois to do what’s best for our kids and improve the quality of education throughout our state,” Governor Quinn said.¹
The Department of Education and Democrats in general have been trying to distance public schools and teachers from accountability for what test scores say about the billions spent educating our kids (see: How Government Treats Teachers Like Professionals). Perhaps it’s best for funding purposes to have a school system that can never be held accountable, even though the Obama administration is making a showy display of forcing colleges to answer for what students get from their tuition dollars (see: Are Colleges the Next Government Takeover Target?).
The joke’s on us: unions aren’t the only ones who win in schools
It’s unfair to blame teachers for walking out on the job. Illinois government gave unions a say in whether schools will open their doors because keeping big labor appeased is more important than what the schools accomplish. So what’s the joke?
The Civil Rights Divisions of the Justice and Education Departments are making sure all kids are in school. One factor in particular should not impact school attendance:
Immigration or citizenship status is not relevant to establishing residency in the district, and inquiring about it in the context of establishing residency is unnecessary and may have a chilling or a discouraging effect on student enrollment.²
So focused are these agencies on making sure that being an illegal immigrant doesn’t prevent children from being in class that attendance is more important than proof that children even live in a school district:
However, districts may also choose to wait until students are already enrolled before asking for any additional documentation that may be required under state or federal law.³
Democrats in Illinois and elsewhere bemoan the sad state of school funding while ensuring that we don’t frighten illegal immigrants away from the classroom. Meanwhile, while the Waukegan teachers strike was going full throttle Secretary of Labor Tom Perez made this observation about big labor and Middle America:
Throughout history, there has been a direct connection between the health of the middle class and the vitality of the labor movement.4
Unions certainly don’t make the middle class more vital when they deny education to our kids, so here’s a question for leftist Democrats and liberals beholden to labor: how do you justify giving unions the right to shut down our schools while at the same time insisting that illegal non-citizens have the right to be in the classroom? The answer is that schools matter more than our children. Schools are big government fund raisers. Kids are only important because without kids in the classroom there wouldn’t be any money in education, including the money that goes to unions from teacher paychecks. That’s what matters in education. Money, not your kids, is what counts.
Worst Political News Story This Week published November 1, 2014.