State Representative Roger Eddy told the Cumberland County Republican Committee on January 3 that he opposed a School Choice bill for Chicago not only because he wanted all the money he could to go to his downstate district, but because Chicago parents can’t be relied on to do the right thing for their kids.
As Mark Wachtler writes about Eddy’s school choice failure in the Chicago Independent Examiner:
After the Illinois legislature came to the rescue of the state’s teachers unions in 2010 by defeating a bill in Springfield that would have increased the use of parental vouchers so parents could send their kids to whatever schools they desired, Roger Eddy and the state gained national attention. As reminded by For the Good of Illinois in their announcement, even the Wall Street Journal commented on the power of the teachers union in Illinois, capturing even the support of certain state Republicans.
In response to conservatives saying that parents should be in control of school funding, and not administrators, Eddy drew a distinction between good parents and parents in Chicago. “But these are parents in Chicago. They might not make the right decision.”
Because Eddy believes “some of these people” in Chicago don’t care about their kids, his opinion is that the State must care for them.
But even assuming that Eddy’s prejudices against Chicago parents are valid, under a system in which parents controlled the funding for schools by deciding where to send their kids, the default, easy choice for this supposed group of parents who don’t care about their kids would be to send them to the closest public school.
Eddy told the Republican grassroots that if they only understood state funding mechanisms they would see why he opposed that bill. But Eddy is an expert in misdirection, and hidden in his explanation is the fact that despite how the state chooses to allocate and block off money between sources and programs, it all comes out of the pockets of taxpayers. The State of Illinois cannot pay its bills, and when it decides it must finally do so or face continued downgrade of its credit, it will get money from wherever it can.
One of the ways for the state to get more money is by allowing local taxing bodies to raise it instead. Eddy famously tried to make it easier for local authorities to raise property taxes, a move which would make it easier for his local Hutsonville school district to afford his sky-high salary as School Superintendent.
For the past 16 years, Roger Eddy has been the Hutsonville Superintendent of Schools. At the same time, for the past 8 years, Eddy has been the area’s elected State Representative. All told, Roger Eddy takes home $283,520 per year in taxpayer compensation. That’s pretty good for two part-time jobs.
Eddy faces a tough primary battle with conservative Shelby County Republican Chairman Brad Halbrook. Halbrook favors school choice, believing that all parents (even those who live in cities) love their children and will do what is best for them more often than will state bureaucrats.