Happy Veteran’s Day! I had the opportunity to celebrate the holiday starting last Friday by helping honor our retired military at a ceremony in Elgin. We dedicated a new portion of their memorial and I spoke with several veterans and students who were present. I asked the students to thank those who have served our nation in the armed forces. Many of these students might someday be veterans and they will appreciate that sentiment when it is given to them in the future. It is important to remember the sacrifices of these men and women and show our thanks beyond the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month each year.
I joined the outcry last week by teachers and parents at the release of the scoring cards by the Governor and State Superintendent for Public Instruction for our schools. The A – F scoring system has been a mistake from the beginning. Weighted benchmarks that are biased are included in the grading system, along with punishments dictated by the State Department of Education to those schools not measuring up. This system is set up for many schools to fail, so I would rather we instead provide the necessary resources to better educate the students and see future success.
Programs such as this, along with the implementation of Common Core, the federal Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, which were initiated by the United States Department of Education, are examples of mandates on our schools that are detrimental to overall school success. I support our teachers, administrators and everyone associated with our public schools that encourage students to achieve to the highest level of success possible. By pushing students to learn and exceed beyond their wildest dreams, these students will excel all the way from Kindergarten through high school and beyond. I also feel strongly about the need for pre-K programs where available, and post high school with college or career-technology certifications. I do not believe the A – F grading system is the way to go for our schools. I hope enough bipartisan leaders come together to find a way that satisfies both the need to reward successful schools and help the others reach their potential.