If Ill. Sen. Rev. Meeks wants to quote Chi Trib as supporting him on school reform, he should do so carefully. Trib opens craftily:
Illinoisans who fear that state Sen. James Meeks is a dangerous threat may not know the half of it. The Chicago Democrat is a threat, all right—to timid lawmakers who really don’t want to overhaul this state’s school funding formula and to a public education industry that is terrified of being held accountable for its failures. [Emphasis added]
“Nobody’s going to put a dime into this system without demanding some reforms,” Meeks told the editorial writer, who ran with this estimable assessment and implied goal.
Trib does not like his keeping kids out of school for Alinsky-style bus ride to Winnetka — scroll down — but they agree that Illinois pols have not pushed for “better educations for Illinois kids”:
That’s in large part because many of those politicians are hostages to the politically active teachers unions. Most Springfield Democrats would rather have Dick Cheney as their party’s candidate for president than risk alienating those teachers union.
Not Meeks, Trib hopes, citing the op-ed on the next page, which notes that the bus riders will pass “many Chicago public schools—charter schools—that are performing on par with top-notch suburban and downstate schools.”
Oh. But Meeks took the lawmaker’s equivalent of the 5th amendment last spring, when he “refused to vote on legislation that would have raised the Chicago charter school cap to 100” — effectively condoning the “ghettoizing” of kids in badly performing schools, to use a Trib word.
The problem is that unions have their monopoly and do not like trust-busting and as the huge political action committees they have become, they decide what lawmakers do, including Meeks, who is very cautious not to offend his patrons among the unions. So he promotes a headline-grabbing cause that will be going nowhere, we assume, namely to force suburbs to take city kids.
[W]hile in Springfield last week, he filed legislation that would force suburban schools to accept any student who applies, regardless of whether the student lives within the district.
This is in the op-ed, by Collin Hitt, of the Illinois Policy Institute, a pro-charter schools operation which Chi Trib does not link, following its pattern and I assume policy of linking nothing but Trib stories.
So Meeks wants Oak Park to open its schoolroom doors to kids from Austin, Berwyn, and the city north of north? It is to laugh at the idea that even in ur-liberal OP that idea would gain traction. Libs did go for Baby Todd Stroger 40% in the last primary, however. You never know,
In any case, Chi Trib in its editorial would like to see Meeks declare support for charter schools. We call it newspaper editorial ploy #4550, to assume the impossible best of a run-of-mill grievance-oriented politician. Nice try!