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NCLB Outrages

Two hundred bucks to risk a child's life

Ohanian Comment: The old rule of following the money applies here.

Here is PURE's Mission Statement: Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) exists to build support for and enhance the quality of public education in the city of Chicago by informing parents about educational issues, bringing the views of parents into the decision-making process, and acting as an advocate for parents in their relationships with the school administration.

Here's Advance Illinois' Mission Statement: Advance Illinois will be an independent, objective voice to promote a public education system in Illinois that prepares all students to be ready for work, college, and democratic citizenship.

Independent? Not independent of the same old corporate-politico line. The old Business Roundtable stalwart Edward Rust even sits on the board, among cronies.

Not independent of Gates money.

Advance Illinois Board of Directors:

Jim Edgar, Co-Chair
Former Governor of Illinois

William M. Daley, Co-Chair
Chairman of the Midwest Region, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Ellen Alberding
President, The Joyce Foundation

James Bell
President & CFO, The Boeing Company

Lew Collens
Professor of Law and President Emeritus, Illinois Institute of Technology

Miguel del Valle
City Clerk of Chicago
Former Chair of Illinois Senate Education Committee

John Edwardson
Chairman, President & CEO, CDW Corporation

Joseph Fatheree
Illinois Teacher of the Year 2006-2007, Effingham High School

James C. Franczek, Jr.
President, Franczek Radelet P.C.

J. Dennis Hastert
Former Speaker, United States House of Representatives

Former Illinois State Representative

Dr. Timothy Knowles
Lewis-Sebring Director, The Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago

Sylvia Puente
Director, Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives, University of Notre Dame Institute for Latino Studies

Edward B. Rust, Jr.
Chairman and CEO, State Farm Insurance Co.

Patricia Watkins
Executive Director, TARGET Area Development Corporation

Advance Illinois supporters:

* Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
* The Boeing Company Charitable Trust
* The Chicago Community Trust
* Grand Victoria Foundation
* Joyce Foundation
* The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
* McCormick Foundation
* The Wallace Foundation


Are you willing to risk your child's education for $200?

Advance Illinois and other maligners of public schools are dangling $400 million in our faces, hoping that we will ignore the consequences to children and rush into compliance with all aspects of Arne Duncan's Race to the Top program. With 2 million children in Illinois elementary and high schools, that works out to about $200 per child, at best.

Using the catch phrase, "Yes, We Can!" (yes, they really do) Advance Illinois has put out a report breathlessly urging Illinois to move quickly to pass a number of new laws to increase our chances of winning RTTT funds.

If we do what Advance Illinois tells us, we will radically increase reliance on and use of standardized tests, which already have a stranglehold on education. Advance Illinois wants more tests and more testing, including kindergarten readiness tests, statewide end-of-course exams for all high school classes, on-line tests, and mandated interim practice tests for the annual state tests. They want us to use tests to help determine teachers' and principals' salaries. They want to use elementary and high school student test scores to evaluate college and university education programs.

If we do what Advance Illinois tells us, we will have hundreds more charter schools, despite the research showing that the charter schools now operating in Illinois are not serving students as well as traditional neighborhood schools. Advance Illinois thinks we should have more school turnarounds like those done under Chicago's Renaissance 2010, even though the research shows that those schools, too, are less successful than the neighborhood schools they are replacing.

Advance Illinois wants us to radically, fundamentally change the system of education in Illinois to comply with program requirements that have no track record of improving schools, and many if which have been shown to be harmful to students and their education, and to have undermined or destroyed neighborhood schools.

If we are just trying to raise some cash in a hurry, why not expand casinos, racing, and the lottery? Then anyone who feels the need to gamble can do so with their own lives and not those of our schoolchildren.

— Staff
Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE)


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