Editorials

Practicing penmanship with a letter to Illinois lawmakers

Dear state lawmakers, practice your own cursive and pass a budget

As Illinois lawmakers again busy themselves micro-managing what is taught in schools, the BND Editorial Board decides to write them a letter — in cursive — about the many unfunded mandates they have placed on our schools. We also ask about that ma
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As Illinois lawmakers again busy themselves micro-managing what is taught in schools, the BND Editorial Board decides to write them a letter — in cursive — about the many unfunded mandates they have placed on our schools. We also ask about that ma

Dear state lawmakers,

We take pen in hand to ask why, of all the issues facing you, you thought it was most important to demand that students learn to write in cursive.

You all are such an influence on the education system already.

Here is some vocabulary. “Unfunded mandate:” a demand made by a law without providing the financial resources to carry out the stipulation.

Here is some math. Between 1992 and 2014, Illinois lawmakers placed 145 unfunded mandates on the schools. That added $200 million in costs. The average is 6 per year or a cost of $1.38 million per mandate.

Here is some history. Illinois lawmakers want students to learn the historic contributions of African Americans, Polish, Lithuanian, German, Hungarian, Irish, Bohemian, Russian, Albanian, Italian, Czech, Slovak, French, Scots, Hispanics, Asian Americans, etc. Specifically, students must study the “forceful removal and illegal deportation of Mexican-American U.S. citizens during the Great Depression.” Students also must study the role of labor unions.

Here is some logic. If schools want Illinois money, then they must follow mandates. If Illinois is out of money, then schools are freed from mandates to teach cursive or fuzzy math or Bohemian history.

P.S.: Students learn state lawmakers are required to pass a balanced budget, thanks to mandated study of the Illinois Constitution.

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