Editor's note: The following is a press release from Bob Kalnicky. Kalnicky (R) will face Natalie Manley (D) in the 98th state representative seat.
The controversy surrounding the CPS teacher's strike has helped to shed light on the dismal state Illinois' education system is in. Bob Kalnicky, candidate for State Representative in the 98th district, believes this is the time when we need to put more focus on the students and their quality of education.
"It's time that we start focusing more on the students in our public school systems. We also need to empower good teachers and get away from burdensome regulations and unfunded mandates," said Kalnicky.
Kalnicky believes that there are several things we can do to lift Illinois' public education system out of mediocrity:
* Abolish the state-imposed limit on the number of charter schools that can be operated in Illinois. Charter school students show achievement levels up to two grade levels higher in the core subjects of math and reading compared to students attending standard public schools.
* Adopt a simple A - F grading scale for schools. The current rating system is cumbersome and difficult to understand. Everyone understands the A - F scale.
* Conduct a full review of all state-mandated regulations imposed on school districts. Burdensome regulations only succeed in diverting educators from time spent with our children.
* Allow greater control of school budgets by the local school districts. Local property taxes are far and away the major funding source for education. Allocation of those funds should be in the hands of local school boards, which will be held accountable by their fellow taxpayers.
"I believe we should place more focus on charter schools. One reason for their students' excellent performance is that charter schools are free to make necessary changes while traditional public schools have their hands tied by bureaucratic regulations," says Kalnicky.
"Putting emphasis back on the education of our children, where it belongs, requires bold reform, fewer state regulations, parental empowerment, and fiscally accountable stewards elected to our school boards. If it were only a matter of money, Illinois would boast one of the world's greatest education systems."