School Corruption Links
Last updated December 28, 2007
Having 90% of schools in the United States run as a government owned and operated monopoly creates an insatiable, wasteful and corrupt blob that primarily serves employees and politicians, and lastly serves children. In some respects, Illinois leads the way in public school inefficiency and corruption. Following are a number of examples.
Illinois School Districts
Following are examples of two Illinois districts, one which apparently broke the law, both of which employed business practices that were questionable at best. Both districts were taken to court. Both districts prevailed. Whether or not they broke the law or didn’t act in the best interests of the taxpayer seems immaterial to the courts. No wonder -- if courts found for the plaintiffs in either of these cases, the floodgates would open, and Illinois’ current public school system would quickly crumble. Hundreds of districts employ these same questionable practices!!
Jersey County Coalition for Public Awareness – While investigating irregularities in how construction bonds were approved in their district, the JCCFPA uncovered a statewide pattern in which 250 Illinois school districts sold over $3 billion in bonds without voter approval or board action. In some cases, voters had even rejected a building bond referendum. See also http://www.thechampion.org/article.asp?id=7404.
The Illinois Energy Consortium (IEC) is a joint creation of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials. It’s governed by former and current public school officials. IEC sells gas and electric energy to public school districts under the guise of lowering costs to districts, yet it uses a “no bid model” which is actually legal in Illinois. In 2006, a resident filed suit against District 211 for not bidding out energy services. Like Jersey County, the court found for the school district. The following links document alleged questionable ethics surrounding the IEC and school districts entering into agreements with the IEC.
http://www.illinoisenergyconsortium.com/ (be sure to check out the FAQ)
Illinois Public Officials
In 2005, Gov. Blagojevich was implicated in a scheme to extort funds from the Illinois Teacher Retirement System.
Public school districts routinely mislead taxpayers about the cost of proposed tax hikes. One of the most visible examples was “Huntleygate”, in which the Chief Financial Officer knew the district was misleading the public, but failed to disclose the truth until after the referendum passed by less than one percent of the vote. It wound up in the departure of the superintendent and the CFO. Go to http://educationmatters.us/wharbor/WH_5reasons.ppt and start at slide 12. Slide 15 lists a few other districts that engage in the same practice.
In 2005, Thomas Ryan, superintendent of one of Illinois’ poorest school districts, was convicted of stealing over $100,000 from his district. Investigators found $730,000 in cash in Ryan's home. The state's attorney charged him with several felonies, including bribery, harassing a witness, intimidation, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct. Some articles about this are at:
http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17921 and http://respublica.typepad.com/respublica/2005/08/a_laundry_baske.html
What’s with all these public school employee associations?
Teacher Accountability in Illinois
Two great series of articles by Small Newspaper Group Bureau Chief Scott Reeder
Hidden Cost of Tenure – 2005 series about how tenure in K-12 schools frustrates the drive for teacher accountability, makes it near impossible for boards to fire bad teachers, creates costs averaging $219,000 to fire a tenured teacher, and can result in crippling students’ education for years.
Hidden Violations – Scott Reeder followed Hidden Cost of Tenure up in 2007 with a series of articles about how lax Illinois is in dealing with teacher misconduct.
Illinois Groups and Blogs that Expose Public School Corruption
EducationMatters.US! – by Lennie Jarratt, focusing mainly on Lake County
Citizens for Reasonable and Fair Taxes – by Jim and Cathy Peschke (now residents of New Hampshire), one of the original taxpayer advocate groups focusing on school taxes
Extreme Wisdom – by conservative radio talk show host Bruno Behrend, focusing on many issues, education and public schools being the largest
Straight Talk on District 211 – by D-211 board member Bill Loyd
District 211 Public Schools – blog by Cinny Agnew
National Groups and Sites that Discuss School Corruption
Education Intelligence Agency – great site by Mike Antonucci reporting on what teacher unions are up to
Peyton Wolcott – based in Texas, focused on Texas, but looks at national public school accountability and issues as well
John Taylor Gatto – former New Your City and New York State Teacher of the Year, and author of “The Underground History Of American Education” busts the myths of today’s public schools
Teachers and Trash Education – blog that reports on less than honorable members of the profession (you may be surprised at the numbers)
Wasteful Spending in Public Education – collection of links to articles about the rapid increase in public school spending, and the almost as rapid decrease in school and student performance
Are ADHD and other “Behavioral Disorders” a Scam?
ADHD Fraud – by Dr. Fred Baughman, adult & child neurologist, in private practice, for 35 years.
My Kids Deserve Better – by Joel Turtel, author of “Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie to Parents and Betray Our Children”
Finally, consider joining the School Corruption Yahoo Group