Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's Always About the Children in Illinois - Ain't It?

I always get a kick out of the folks doing the Emmet Kelly for the TV cameras whenever Illinois public school issues surface and along with the long-suffering frown of the down trodden souls is the 'shout-out' for more tax-dollars - 'It's All About the Children! Don't You People Care About The Children?'

The next best public school related TV wide -angle shot and sound bite comes during the annual strike of teachers at Whitebread School District 637530- NIYEEIYAN, when a person who appears to take every meal and snack fired from a sling-shot throwing down the Emmet Kelly with aplomb and mewling 'It is Only About the Children!'

This morning The Chicago Tribune treated us with this Thanksgiving Day morsel about the good folks who lead the educators, who love the children, who can't do enough with the tax-dollars stuffing the treat bowls at Districts around Illinois.
In essence the story tells us that school CEOs from the Mean Streets of Wilmette, Hinsdale, and Hard-Scrabble DuPage yank down in excess of $ 300,000 per annum. It's all about the children.

I have a pretty solid knowledge that my boss, the CEO of an inner city Catholic high school for boys ( 100% African American), operates on a balanced budget, zero deficit, receives ZERO Archdiocesan subsidy, accepts EVERY student who wants to attend Leo High School - no one is turned away: We ain't Iggy, Never have been; Hell, many Leo guys got tossed from Iggy - is paid less than a back-hoe operator for Local 150 and that is without the Bennies. This CEO oversees an operation that sends 93% of its graduates on to West Point, Northwestern ( Hi, Akim!), University of Chicago, Loyola, DePaul, & etc. Bob Foster says 'If we don't need it we can't afford.' If something is needed that will benefit 'his guys' (Bob never says 'the children')no stone goes unturned until that program, apparatus or gizmo can be paid for - he does not use a credit card. Illinois Rep. Mary Flowers has helped Bob Foster pay for an after school boxing/academic program run by Mike Joyce. Last week, the Leo Boxers raised over $ 40,000 to help fight Breast Cancer at Chicago's Park West - it's a round world in the square ring. That is just a small example of what school choice could do.

If Illinois tax-payers really want to say 'enough is enough.' it is time to get serious about genuine school choice - VOUCHERS. The things Rep. Dan Cronin
and other genuine legislators who want to see an end to Illinois public school hemoraging of cash. Of course the Emmet Kelly Imitators live by the dictum that 'enough is not a feast.'

Happy Thanksgiving, Neighbors! This year, in between the cranberry triffle and the return for the dark meat sandwich - about eight minutes for me - give serious thought to School Choice - it makes for competition ( Hell, St. Rita and Mt.Carmel proved that last week and will again this weekend) and it will save Illinois some dough.


Skeeter 9:56 AM  

Great idea.

When we are done with that, I'm having some problems with Streets and San. My street is not as clean as I would like. I would like a voucher to hire my own sanitation guys to clean up my street.

And frankly, even with Rumsfeld booted, I am not wild about how the defense department is being run.
I would like a voucher so I can hire my own.

That's reasonable, isn't it? Let's just get vouchers for any part of government that we find objectionable. We can have a new "opt out" system.

Nice plan you've got.

Bill 10:18 AM  

But Pat,
What about the separation of church and state?
Gobble gobble!!!

Pat Hickey 10:31 AM  


Why is it that you come across as having the temperment and social grace of a schoolyard snitch and not a very well-educated or reasonably bright one?

You must have a melon made of ivory. I am awed.

You always live up to my expectations.

Take the bag of giblets and the neck and stuff out of the turkey before you put it in the oven.

I am sorry - Take the whole bird OUT Of the plastic bag . . .

Sorry, Defrost the rock hard bird. . . .

Skeeter 10:32 AM  

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have some experience with the religions taking over the schools.

You are an educated man, Pat.

Tell us -- what was the experience in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

Pat Hickey 10:34 AM  


We are talking about Turkey! Stick to the issue!

Skeeter 10:46 AM  

You are one angry blogger.

Of course, if people kept pointing out that my "arguments" were completely ridiculous, I might be angry too.
Good thing that is not the case.

Happy Thanksgiving, Pat.

Pat Hickey 10:51 AM  


Anger? Heck,no! Every day on this side of the dirt is a sure fire giggle!

Only suckers beef!

Skeeter 12:27 PM  

I note the lack of substantive response.

That's a good way to handle the matter. Your post was ill-considered and as such, you are better off heaving insults (in a very Christian way, of course) than defending your post.

Keep up the good work.

Pat Hickey 1:31 PM  

. . . 'If Illinois tax-payers really want to say 'enough is enough.' it is time to get serious about genuine school choice - VOUCHERS. The things Rep. Dan Cronin
and other genuine legislators who want to see an end to Illinois public school hemoraging of cash. Of course the Emmet Kelly Imitators live by the dictum that 'enough is not a feast.'

Skeeter - that is the sum and substance of the post;it requires no response ( never stops you though) and no defense; it is a consideration of the endless non-sense (rhetoric) that refuses to address school choice; it is a request to consider school choice.

I can only imagine that your aldermanic candidate has taken a significant donation from some Illinois Teacher Union PAC and that your tireless, ablbeit jejune, efforts on his behalf mean something, to you, if not him.

It is Thanksgiving have that with your baloney sandwich and Kennel ration tomorrow, you pesty six footer. Now go back and irritate GOP. I'm busy getting the oyster dressing ready for tomorrow. so I can't play.

Skeeter 2:12 PM  

Nice response.
Typical of you.
No substance whatsoever.
Why did you even bother with that post?
Your posts are like the whining of a small child who wants it her way OR ELSE. There is a difference between an argument and an outburst.

Of course, if you had confidence in your positions (which you clearly don't -- or perhaps you just lack any intelligence) you would answer the question posed:

1. You want school voucher.
2. I want Streets and San vouchers.

Why should you get your personal choice of schools but I don't get my choice of streets and san?

Give it some thought while cooking. Of course, from your writing, it sounds like you've been doing more drinking than cooking.

Pat Hickey 2:22 PM  

Gee, Skeeter if that is representative of Brendan Reilly's campaign, to accuse one of alcoholism, what is next? You going to dig up my wife's death from brain cancer? Not very Progressive.

Skeeter 3:01 PM  

Your blog entries are strange, angry and incoherent, but you blame me?

I call them as I see them.

Have a nice Thanksgiving, Pat.

Pat Hickey 3:06 PM  

Sorry that I did not get back to you earlier - been swatting a Skeeter - and in this time of year no less.

Separation of Church & State - seems like that would be for the courts to decide. The Illinois Legislature should give a serious look at school choice - it has power on both sides of the aisle.

I am a big fan of your work in covering your boss's back.

Now, where did I leave my 40 oz. Olde English and that chilled bottle of Cisco Red?

Lovie's Leather 3:19 PM  

Skeeter, the United States didn't used to have public schools. Our founding fathers went to schools that were run privately, many of them christian. So, what is your beef against christians? There is a difference between having a moral compass and some direction in life, and going to school to learn to kill Jews. This school appears to be a fine example of private schooling. I know you want the government to control everything and that you think that if there are private schools that means the government is going to stop funding roads, but what is wrong with a solution that works? You want better schooling, yet you fail to consider the alternatives. Your solution would probably be more school funding, more testing, higher graduation standards. All of those ideas are crap. High schoolers don't need to learn more, they need to know the basics very, very well. 3 years of math? What in the hell are vocational students going to do with 3 years of math, 3 of science, 3 of social studies? Teach these people skills in classes they can pass. Don't dump them in pre-calc and expect them to succeed. Oy, the backwards thought that goes on in this nation is disturbing. Maybe private schools are the last crusade of succeeding schools simply because of federal gov't regualations over school districts.

Pat Hickey 3:29 PM  


well said and true. The problem rooted here is the lack of competition and any onus to improve the public schools coupled with the double-burden of tax-payers funding both school systems.

Let the market decide - the sick,lame and lazy will continue to wrap the failure of public schools and the unfair burden placed on the tax-payer in the mantle of 'separation of church and state.' - hogwash already charter schools have shown this.

Paul Vallas, who is now saving the Philly schools wanted Catholic schools in the inner city to retain their Catholic value system through after school programs. No problem with Church and State there. No problem with the Illiois Charter Act ( which are in effect public schools). The problem is rooted in the lawn fertilizer cast about every time school choice debate gets rolling.

Jeff Trigg 5:30 PM  

I noticed an interesting stat at the BoE page. Private school enrollment is declining.

2004 - 242,320 - 10.4%
2003 - 302,805 - 12.7%
2002 - 309,976 - 13.3%
2001 - 323,376 - 13.6%
2000 - 323,869 - 13.8%
1999 - 322,664 - 13.9%
1998 - 321,406 - 13.9%
1997 - 320,880 - 14.0%
1996 - 323,438 - 14.3%

Real wages are declining, job growth is stagnant compared to the region, taxes are increasing, and fewer people can afford good schools for their kids. One thing they could and should immediately do is up the tuition tax credit from $500 to $1,500. Madigan is a good Catholic isn't he? That wouldn't cost the state a dime.

Pat Hickey 6:30 PM  


It would be a fine start, but you will hear some real squeaking from the Emmet Kelly Impersonators ( "What about the Children?') amd those beholden to the Education Power PACs. If more Legislators like Cronin and Sen. Ed Maloney can stiffen more backbones among their colleagues serious dialogue could take shape.

You are doing a Man's share of the heavy lifting on this issue. I hope that the 'everything is corrupt' dodge can be shelved awhile to get some real work done on this vital issue.

Skeeter 6:53 PM  

The U.S. did not used to have nuclear weapons. Should those be abolished?

The U.S. did not used to have paved streets. Should those be abolished?

What have a lot of things now that are either good or necessary that we did not used to have.

Being a Christian myself, I have no "beef" against them. Why would you assume that I do?

I also am not against Catholic schools. I've attended Catholic schools and I expect that when my children get older, they will too.

However, my parents and I paid for my choice to attend Catholic schools, just as my wife and I will pay for our children to attend Catholic schools. I want my children to have an education that has a real Catholic foundation and that provides real Catholic teachings.

I just don't want the government to have to pick up the tab.

Lovie's Leather 8:30 PM  

Which is it, Skeeter? Do you not want the gov't not to pick up the tab, or do you want the seperation of church and state? So, since the US has nuclear weapons, does that mean we have to use them. We can't use conventional weapons because we have nuclear weapons. Like public schools, just because they are there, doesn't mean that we have to use them. Can you respect the use of conventional weapons, or should the government just use nuclear? What in the hell do paved streets have to do with quality education? You pull that card out like it is the greatest thing since the reformation and expect me to believe that something that only the government can do is comparable to something that the private sector does better than the government...

Bill Baar 7:07 AM  

Gov gives seniors a voucher for health care. They can use it at a faith based provider, or Cook County, or Mayo Clinic, or where ever they see fit as long as the Gov certifies the provider to participate.

Seems like the same principle can apply in education. It's worth a try. Especially for the poor where the Gov seems to especially fail the kids.

Bill 7:49 AM  

I hope that you have recovered from the 40's and red enough to eat today.
Don't buy into the charter school lies. Charter school performance should be compared to magnet schools, not neighborhood schools, since they have the ability to selectively enroll. Neighborhood schools do not. If you look at fair data, charters do no better and in many cases much worse than the magnets. Your pal Vallas was an expert at fudging numbers to make it look like there was improvement in the public schools when in fact they were becoming less and less effective as he padded the administrative ranks with political hacks making 6 figures while depriving schools of necessary supplies, equipment, and repairs.
The Catholic and other faith based schools do a fine job educating students. No one can argue that fact. They also can selectivly enroll and can instill discipline that the publics cannot.
It is just a question of who should pay for them. I say let the church and the parents who make that choice for their children pay for it and let the gov't pay for the publics as the state constitution requires.

Pat Hickey 9:50 AM  


Thanks for your thoughtful note - I did find my Cisco Red - going to stick to the pipe and crystal meth today - it's for the kids.

Pat Hickey 9:57 AM  


The dodge about selectivity is the same as the straw-man 'No geographic recruitment limits'for Catholic or Private schools in sports used by the leisure-suit wearing crowd in the IHSA - the only true test in both cases is Accountablity students, teachers, parents, and adminsitrators and then we work or way up the food chain to PUBLIC servants.

Accoutability its is the level playing field graded by school choice - not an IHSA playing field, Bill, that would be having the kids from Mt. Carmel and St. Rita play wearing armor plating and undergoing chemotherapy one hour before game time - I can almost hear Marty Hickkman now - 'It's good to see things get fair for the kids at Megtaxbase Tech; you know those Catholics and Dutch schools can recruit from anywhere? Hegewisch,Englewood,Gresham - our poor kids have to pay for a parking lot space to drive their Beemers to school It;s a Crime I tells Ya!''

Accountabilty, Bill, that's the bugaboo. Better monitored programs steeped in a sense of commitment and tradition will beat the scoreboard everytime. Same thing in the classroom - stewardship over ceritification any day. Them numbers can't be fudged

Pat Hickey 10:48 AM  

Bill Baar, Berwyn's Battling Barometer of Blogging Brotherhood!

Happy ThanksGiving to God's Own Good Man from a Four Year Letterman Sinner!


Lovie's Leather 11:39 AM  

Bill&Skeeter = Statists.
Anything not done by the government is not worth doing, eh chaps?

Pat Hickey 12:37 PM  


Happy Thanksgiving! Two shopping bags loaded with all the sides for today's bounty and now to venture into DuPage County for the Day - I hope that you and the family enjoy a great day and that my Toll $$$ hold up!

Anonymous,  5:00 AM  


He likes this site !

Pat Hickey 8:09 AM  


Well, your fella, you have a lot to say - let's hope that some Illinois Legislators will pick up the ball on this issue before you start growing hair in your ears.

Jeff Trigg 12:10 PM  

Thanks Pat, but I haven't even strained any muscles with my lightweight efforts yet. That'll change though.

What corruption? In Illinois? Now why would anyone think something needs to be done about corruption?

Pat Hickey 12:55 PM  


Hope you had a great holiday.

Bub, there's buckets of Capital C to go around; however, it is and has become the white noise of political thought - let's get some focus.

There are any number of people who think that Pat Fitzgerald poops strawberry icecream and farts chanel # 5. Come on.

Grfifters and grafters will get caught.

cermak_rd 4:41 PM  

Bill, you can't compare Charters and Magnets. Magnets test and select students on the basis of scores. Charters are forbidden by law to do so. So if a charter school in Chicago is using test scores to sort, they are violating the law.

Now Charter schools, like parochial schools do expell students who can't cope with the environment and those students wind up in the neighborhood school again. Some charters also have rules whereby the parents have to be involved in their children's education and sign contracts regarding this.

The point of Charter schools is to provide an opportunity for children who can't get into the Magnets or Selective Enrollments to attend a school where they can learn without being harassed, victimized, or distracted by delinquent children.

I think private schools are great. But I think they should be paid for by the parents, Foundations and Churches. I also think that the state would start intruding into the private school if it started to receive public money (whether in the form of a voucher or otherwise).

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