My Letter to Senator Durbin: RE: Charter Schools

Dear Sen. Durbin,
In your reply to my response on the recent survey question, you said:

That is why I am backing legislation to expand the opportunities of parents to send their kids to Charter Schools. While not the answer to all concerns, Charter Schools in Chicago account for 9 of the top 10 non-selective, public high schools in the city.

You also said,

By giving school principals increased flexibility to hire/fire teachers, add instructional hours and increase school days, Charter Schools offer a way to improve educational performance from within the public school system.

Firstly, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, since we don't know whether the charter schools had the same quality of incoming students as the public schools. Most likely they didn't, as the lower graduation rate shows. What statistics are you comparing exactly? Are my eyes privy to those same stats?

Secondly, Mr. Durbin, yes, there are problems with our public schools and we need to address and fix them; but, in all due respect, you don't save our village by burning down our village. Our public school system is worth saving! Any way you slice this, you are supporting the privatization of our public education system. This will inevitably lead to our poorest without an education at all. Which in time, will hurt our national economy because our workers will not be able to compete on a global market.

Finally, this Charter School solution is a band aid on a much bigger problem. While it may appear to be a fix-all now, what happens in, say, twenty years when there are only Charter schools. I sincerely hope you see the tremendous value in a free public education run by our government. At the very least, we (tax-payers) will have a say in how our money(tax revenue) is spent at public schools, not to mention a say in the curriculum. Can you say the same at Charter schools?

In case you haven't read the latest results from a study from POGO, the federal government spends nearly twice as much having the private sector perform the identical job than if the government hired and did the work itself. Interesting concept when you support the transition our public school(and dollars) to the private sector. Will our educational costs eventually double too?

I could go on, but it seems you've made your decision and are now closed minded on this issue. That is too bad, because this issue, in itself, could lead me to vote for your opponent in 2014. But perhaps a change is good, I don't exactly think career politicians are the best for their constituents, and you've been a US Congressmen since 1982.

Kind Regards,
Mark Hillebert

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