Linda Chapa LaVia’s 14,000 reasons for crippling charter schools

Paul Kersey

Labor law expert, occasional smart-aleck, defender of the free society.

Paul Kersey
/ Labor
April 11, 2014

Linda Chapa LaVia’s 14,000 reasons for crippling charter schools

A week ago, my colleague Josh Dwyer reported an exchange between state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia and Ron Sandack. Sandack, R-Downers Grove, recently asked Chapa LaVia – when they were debating the bill in the House to end the state charter school commission – what the logic was behind crafting the bill. Chapa LaVia responded:...

A week ago, my colleague Josh Dwyer reported an exchange between state Reps. Linda Chapa LaVia and Ron Sandack.

Sandack, R-Downers Grove, recently asked Chapa LaVia – when they were debating the bill in the House to end the state charter school commission – what the logic was behind crafting the bill. Chapa LaVia responded: “There is none.”

Linda Chapa LaVia was being too hard on herself. Her campaign to cripple charter schools is entirely logical. In fact, there are at least 14,000 reasons why the Aurora Democrat is determined to cripple charter schools. It’s just that none of those 14,000 reasons is a kid.

Chapa LaVia’s legislative agenda includes bills that would

  • Allow local school boards to block charters in their districts
  • Extend a moratorium on virtual charter schools that use Web video for instruction
  • Prohibit advertising by charter schools

All of which would put charter schools at a severe disadvantage against regular public schools – especially those with poor academic records. This would be a big boost for unions that represent teachers in regular public schools but have struggled to organize charters.

Which brings us to the 14,000 reasons why Linda Chapa LaVia is pursuing an anti-charter agenda. A quick look at campaign finance reports shows that she has been a major beneficiary of teacher union campaign contributions. Just this year, Chapa LaVia has taken in a $10,000 donation from the Illinois Education Association’s political action committee. PACs affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and its subsidiary, the Chicago Teachers Union, have chipped in another $4,000.

Chapa LaVia can expect more for doing the teachers unions’ bidding: There is more than a year to go before the next General Assembly election. In 2011 and 2012, teachers unions contributed more than $20,000 to Chapa LaVia’s campaign.

For a cynical, defensive politician, that is plenty of reason to push for legislation that will leave students throughout Illinois with no options if their local public school is failing. Chapa LaVia’s legislation would clear away competition for union-dominated (and often subpar) public school systems. What is a great deal for teachers unions is often a lousy deal for families and children, though. Chapa LaVia’s anti-charter crusade is a great example of why overpowered unions are an obstacle to reform in Illinois. Parents who hope to give their children a chance at a better education should be fighting on labor law changes that will rein in government teachers unions.

Image source.

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