Wall Street Journal editorial attributes school boards and teachers unions for Illinois’ failing schools

A Wall Street Journal editorial attributed school boards and teachers’ unions to the failure of Illinois’ school system.

The editorial board cited how 36% of all third-graders could read at grade level in 2019, which they highlighted that such an academic performance is an “F.” For Hispanic students, the number drops to 27% and 22% for Black students.

The Wall Street Journal editors also noted how for specific public school systems, the numbers plummeted to single digits. One school district in Decatur, 2% of Black third-graders are reading at grade level and only 1% are doing math at grade level.

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School districts are offering incentives and pay raises to get more teachers into the classroom before August.
(FNC)

Since those academic outcomes were pre-COVID, the current state of Illinois’ poor school system can’t be attributed to school closures due to the pandemic.

However, ratings for teachers would suggest that the schools are successful. The editorial states parents may not grasp how bad the school system is when students are promoted to the next grade and 97.3% of teachers were rated “excellent” and “proficient” in 2017 in Decatur, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. That percentage of teachers being rated “proficient” and “excellent” jumped to 99.7% and then 100% this year.

“That contradiction shows the system is corrupt as well as incompetent,” the editorial wrote. “Family and social dysfunction play some role in this scandal. But the overriding problem is school governance and the monopoly power of the teachers unions. The Chicago Teachers Union has walked out four times in the last seven years (2016, 2019, 2021, 2022 ), reaping higher salaries or benefits each time.”

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces Jazmine Sullivan during 2022 Lollapalooza day one at Grant Park on July 28, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois

Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduces Jazmine Sullivan during 2022 Lollapalooza day one at Grant Park on July 28, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois
(Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Reacting to the Wall Street Journal editorial, senior fellow at the American Federation for Children Corey DeAngelis told Fox News Digital that “the government school system has become more of a jobs program for adults than an education initiative for kids.”

“Illinois now spends more on pensions for adults than everything else combined in K-12 education. Illinois public schools have increased spending per student by 199% since 1970 and are still failing to properly educate children. Chicago Public Schools now spend over $27,000 per student per year. Give that money directly to families, so they can find alternatives. Only then will schools have real incentives to cater to the needs of students and families as opposed to the other way around,” DeAngelis said.

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Kid wearing yellow school bag when crossing the street on her way to school

Kid wearing yellow school bag when crossing the street on her way to school
(iStock)

Many school board meetings across the country have become battlegrounds since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with issues like mask mandates, virtual learning, critical race theory and gender identity driving heated debates.

The fight for parental control of education spawned local groups like Fishers One based in Indiana and Minnesota Parents Alliance who launched an effort to train and support school board candidates and get parents involved in their schools and communities.

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These parental rights groups hosted training for school board candidates across the state and plan to provide support for new school board members after being elected to speak out against what they deem is indoctrination.

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