Absent public spoils improvement

My original intentions were to share observations of District 209 school board members as a unit, their roles and some BOE election voting criteria, when it dawned on me, “Where’s the audience?”

Direct citizen participation essentially requires saliency and efficacy. If either is absent, participation will decline. If you total Proviso biological parents and students to equal 15,000, the turnout to regular board meetings is about one-tenth of 1 percent! My forecast for the upcoming election will be a record low voter turnout. Is that what we need to improve public K-12 education?

The public can’t leave public education to the government. Municipalities that feed into District 209 might as well be renamed the Confederate Municipalities of Proviso Township. Does low voter turnout (indirect participation) exacerbate continuous school improvement whose lifeline is embedded in direct participation? We only have ourselves to collectively blame for Proviso high schools’ decline and failure. If you are alright with a small group of powerful people making decisions for you, then don’t vote and don’t directly participate in the solution for Proviso’s problems.

For the record, no District 209 or District 91 school board candidate has asked me for my vote, (I have a four-voter household). In fact, I am a school board member with an agenda of school reform, redemption, transparency, governance and pursuit of continuous school improvement. All of these salient and efficacy concepts are foreign to the candidates’ literature that I have received. A conversation would be nice.

The current economic condition drastically reduces the mobility of Forest Parkers who typically relocate to escape Proviso schools. Proviso East and Proviso West haven’t made AYP for six years. Most employers say high school graduates lack basic skills. Why is it so hard for us to do what works? Where is the public outrage or attention? What is the public’s contribution to find and support the solution? One-tenth of 1 percent is not the answer.

Bob Cox
District 209 Board of Education member

Little League

The Forest Park Little League would like to thank all who attended our registration/spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, March 11. We would especially like to thank John Tricoci, Sr. and his sister, Anne Marie, and brother-in-law and Joe, owners of Freddie’s Pizza in Cicero. They generously donated the pasta, homemade meatballs and sauce for our dinner. A special thank you goes to Sherri Ladd, owner of The Harrison Street Café, and her staff for hosting our event. They opened the restaurant after hours just to accommodate us. It’s because of these generous people that we were able to have this successful fundraiser.

Our registration is open until April 7. There is still time to register your children for the 2009 Little League season. We are looking forward to seeing everyone for opening day ceremonies on April 25 at 11:30 a.m.

Richard Gray
Forest Park Little League board

Collection time

Everyone in Washington is up in arms about the bonuses that were paid to AIG employees. They are outraged at the evil AIG employees who received bonuses as part of legal contracts. Then we learn that when Congress passed the recent economic “stimulus” bill, an amendment that would have limited such bonuses was defeated while language was added that specifically protected these contractually-obligated bonuses.

Now, Congress and President Obama are spending trillions of dollars left and right, so $165 million in bonuses is pocket change. But for those who are outraged and say we should get bonus money back, here’s my suggestion: garnish the wages of every congressman who voted for the stimulus bill, and President Obama who signed it.

Richard Wright
Forest Park

Letters to the editor

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Letters to the editor can be received by e-mail at jadams@wjinc.com, or by mail to Forest Park Review, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Ill., 60302.