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June 10, 2014

Great, another state mandate

Just what Illinois' public schools need, another unfunded mandate. High schools will now have to teach students CPR and how to use automated defibrillators under a law just signed by Gov. Pat Quinn. Reading, writing, arithmetic and a host of other things apparently aren't enough.

Illinois already has a law recommending that students get CPR and defibrillator training. However, as usual, lawmakers think they know better than local school leaders about what should be taught.

Too bad they aren't as helpful in figuring out how the schools are supposed to pay for these extra requirements. The state is already shortchanging the schools financially. For the current fiscal year and the year that starts July 1, lawmakers have allocated only enough money for schools to get about 89 percent of the state aid they are supposed to receive. So how are they supposed to pay for this?

We also wonder about the wisdom of requiring 14-year-olds to take training that could thrust them into life-or-death situations. Not every teen is going to be ready for that responsibility. What if the person dies despite their efforts?

It makes more sense to let the adults at school handle emergencies. What, teachers aren't required to know CPR and defibrillator use in Illinois? How did lawmakers miss that mandate?

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