Skillicorn bemoans attempt to pay more into broken education system
Illinois legislators need a lesson in finances when it comes to Chicago Public Schools, Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) contended recently.
“No amount of (money) can solve a #culturalproblem, #Zuckerberg's $100M donation to Newark public schools failed miserably,” Skillicorn tweeted.
Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark schools in 2010 in the hopes of turning around the long-troubled education system within five years. Critics say the donation was largely a waste of money. Although others helped out by matching Zuckerberg’s donation, a large portion of the money was not spent in the classroom, according to the book "The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools."
Skillicorn told the McHenry Times that no one should be surprised that the funding did not go where it was intended, and the same would probably happen in Illinois.
"Is the funding for students or is the funding for bureaucrats?” he asked. “Too many members of the Illinois House and Senate are beholden to special interests instead of the children. Instead of serving the students, parents and taxpayers, these adults use them as pawns to advance their own financial well-being. We must fund students, not the bureaucracy. The biggest problem in education is a system that benefits the adults connected to the system instead of the children.”
In the case of the Newark plan, Zuckerberg envisioned teacher contract reform being at the center of the overhaul, with at least half of his initial donation steered toward that effort. Zuckerberg also advocated for a system in which teachers were rewarded based on performance and those with subpar records of student achievement would be at risk of termination.
Skillicorn said he hopes Illinois legislators fare better in implementing the kinds of changes he sees as needed to achieve true reform.
“Funding should be tied to performance and enrollment,” he said. “We need to reward the excellence, not failure. The labor unions, administrators and collaborators on the school board want more money and less accountability.”