Don’t let your children take the Illinois Youth Survey – Part 2

Don’t let your children take the Illinois Youth Survey – Part 2

Though I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals. – G. K. Chesterton

So, now that we’ve covered the specifics of the Illinois Youth Survey, let’s move on to it’s intent and whether the problems it purports to address can be resolved by the entities involved. And that process starts with asking the following questions:

“Do we really need a survey so progressives can tell us how to be good human beings?” and  “What can we reasonably expect from our school districts?

And the answer to the first one is a resounding “No!”

Every superintendent and principal in this state knows that bullying exists, and despite their best efforts, it will persist. Their abundantly basic job is to create an atmosphere conducive to learning by consistently minimizing the issues that negatively impact that possibility. So, if they’re doing their job, how will understanding the problem in greater detail make the least bit of difference?

Does the fact that gay children are bullied more often (you don’t need a survey to tell you that) mean a principal should change their approach to a problem affecting at least 20 percent of Illinois high school students? I don’t think so. Furthermore, schools already teach tolerance and inclusion, but it ain’t gonna make one whit of difference if parents are teaching them something else at home.

Likewise, every superintendent and middle and high school principal in the state knows that alcohol and drug use are an issue that will persist despite their best efforts. Their very basic job is to do their best to keep that problem from spilling over onto school grounds and negatively impacting the learning process. So, how is knowing what specific drugs their students are using going to make a damn bit of difference?

Of course, schools should offer support and the appropriate referrals when a student comes to them with an addiction problem. But beyond that, dealing with illegal drug and alcohol use is ultimately the parents’ responsibility, and if they fail to address it, then it’s up to law enforcement to intervene.

But it would seem that our University of Illinois progressive survey purveyors fully believe our schools should also be rehab centers.

And it’s that absurd contention that finally brings us to the core issue which is one I’ve been railing against for years. Our generally liberal and progressive school districts increasingly believe they’re responsible for raising our children, and this phenomenon is particular true of teachers and school boards.

They may rail against those “consarned lazy parents,” but the truth is they secretly relish that role because progressives love power, they always know what’s best for us, and just as it is with every other “woke” endeavor, it makes them feel superior.

Doubt me? Then please consider how our school districts utterly ignored parents in regard to their bizarrely bad collective COVID responses, particularly remote “learning.” And they refused to relent even in the face of overwhelming parental objections that frequently descended into shouting and violence.

The silver lining there is those stilted and dictatorial board/teacher responses have riled parents to the point where serving on a school board will never be the same. But that’s a topic for another column.

And as it always is with any nanny-stater initiative, this growing we-know-better-than-you mien always makes matters that much worse.

Doubt me? Then how is it that our private schools, who spend less than half the money of their public counterparts, somehow suffer half the problems and get twice the rest results? They never went to remote learning because their parents were against it. Unlike our public school districts, their basic philosophy is parents know what’s best for their children and their job is to simply educate students, not raise them.

Considering my vehement opposition to this survey, I sought opinions from ten of the smartest people I know. Half were mothers of local school children and the other half work in the highest levels of law enforcement. The unscientific but still meaningful result was that nine (me included) said they’d never let their children take the survey while two of my justice system friends said they would.

Their theory was, how could the State and school districts effectively respond to these issues without the appropriate statistical background. Putting my previous arguments against that possibility aside, let’s say the data actually would be helpful.

Do we really believe that any state, much less the State of Illinois where bad ideas come to flourish, could mount any sort of reasonable response? Aside from throwing money they don’t have at the problem, what are they gonna do? Turn it over to DCFS?

And my estimation of Illinois school districts isn’t much higher. If they’re not effectively addressing these issues now, what makes anyone think an insipid survey will change that anytime soon?

Case in point, my eldest son had an IEP plan throughout high school. For reference purposes, an “Individualized Education Plan” is a legally binding contract between a student’s parents and the district that spells out their respective responsibilities in no uncertain terms.

Though I still love – and speak with – Principal Tom Rogers, getting Geneva High School to abide by that abundantly simple contract was a nightmare of epic proportion. It required constant intervention on my part. And it was a nightmare in spite even though those administrators’ and teachers’ fully understood that I was a columnist with a voice who wasn’t prone to backing down. If we ever run into each other on the street, remind me to tell you about the summer school story.

And if a school can’t handle just one explicit IEP, then how the bleep is some abstract “data” gonna lead to any sort of new resolution for these survey problems? It ain’t just me, either. Ask any parent with a D304 IEP how it went and their sad stories will likely be far worse that mine.

As much as I respect those two law enforcement friends, I can’t begin to fathom their level of faith in an educational system that clearly hasn’t earned it.

Let’s not forget that it’s the perpetually incompetent, tone-deaf, and sanctimonious school boards’ complicity in this survey regard that’s the real problem here. No district is being forced to subject their students to this intrusion survey, but most Collar County school districts are happy to sign on.

I reached out to D304 Board President Mike McCormick a couple of times in this regard but no response was forthcoming. I can’t say I’m surprised.

Having served since 2011, McCormick is one of the most hypocritical, duplicitous, and lethargic school board members I’ve encountered in 15 years at the keyboard. All he cares about is how “school board member” looks on his resume. We need some reasonable and common-sense prone Genevans to step up and run against this entire Board in 2023.

It was COVID protests that finally galvanized parents against this incessant school board and teacher imperative to unilaterally determine what’s best for our children. But the plague’s slow recession in no way mitigates the need for an increasing public vigilance to defend our children against these ultimately destructive progressive initiatives.

(Please don’t forget I’m a liberal! (And apparently a man without a country.))

Please don’t think for one second that an utter lack of the predicted dire consequences for unmasking our children will in any way deter these progressives from thrusting their next “we’re from the government and we’re here to help” boondoggle upon us. They just can’t help themselves.

Just as it was with needlessly masking our children, we can fight back here, too, and that starts with saying “No!” to the Illinois Youth Survey.


Author’s note:

I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all the friends who so eagerly participated in this column process, some of whom graciously gave me more than an hour of their time. Not only did it make this two-part series far better than it would’ve been, but I got to enjoy the rare privilege of engaging in a series a civil debates with folks who really know their shit.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

There are days I could give up this gig in heartbeat, but thanks to all of you, today isn’t one of them.

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