-Bev Johns and Fred Klonsky
The Illinois House is currently considering HB 2808 which was passed in the Senate as SB 1.
The House version is currently co-sponsored by Rep. William Davis, Robert W. Pritchard, Linda Chapa LaVia, Al Riley, Emanuel Chris Welch, Sue Scherer, Camille Y. Lilly and Will Guzzardi.
The bill claims to shift state funding to poorer school districts in the state, but with no new significant education funding, the money is being taken from direct and dedicated funding for teachers of students with special needs.
The House bill refers to funding using an Evidence Based Model.
What is that?
EBM is a theory – no state has actually done it – based on 27 elements that supposedly have research to prove that they work in schools.
What is wrong with that?
Some of the 27 things are supported by research and some are not. For example, the plan for special education is based on a study done for the State of Vermont that was so flawed that even Vermont rejected it.
SB 1 and HB 2808 are about how to make do with inadequate state school funding. It is redividing an existing inadequate pool of money and calling it equity. In the name of extreme local control, school districts do not have to do any of the 27 things. School districts can spend the money in any way that they wish, although funds for English Language Learners is restricted and funds for special education may be spent on on anything a school district calls special education.
SB 1 and HB 2808 repeal all sorts of current laws and parts of the school code, again in the name of extreme local control.
There has been almost no discussion or debate on this in House or Senate Committees nor has there been much public discussion.