The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


February 16, 2014

Efforts miss real issues

District 118 school board members recently spent a considerable amount of time discussing proposed changes in the dress code for students and residency requirements for administrative personnel.

The results are a few proposed changes in the style of dress for students — shirts of solid colors, for example, with stripes or checks prohibited — and a good deal of ire on the part of many parents.

The district’s existing dress policy apparently has not been enforced to the satisfaction of several school board members, so a different policy is being considered. One of the penalties for several violations of the proposed code is suspension. When the purpose of any school district is to provide the best education for its students, it seems a bit counterproductive to kick a kid out for wearing a striped shirt three or four times in a year.

The district requires certain administrative personnel to live within the district’s actual boundaries, and others to live within 10 miles of the line. The thought of some board members is that living within a certain area will improve the administrator’s performance.

Technology today allows a physician in India to read an X-ray taken in Illinois. Place of residence plays little, if any role, in how well someone does his or her job. Skills, technique and commitment to excellence are what count, not an address.

School board members could have used the time discussing dress codes and residency requirements talking about serious issues such as class sizes, whether curriculum really meets the needs of today’s students, whether standardized testing really represents students’ ability to learn and how to better involve parents in their children’s education, perhaps the most key ingredient to success.

Instead, we’re talking about where people live and what kids wear.

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