The Batinick Blueprint: Education Reform

In addition to my other suggestions to help direct more funding into Illinois classrooms, I also believe we should make changes to the tax scholarship program. We need to increase the size of the program and ensure it is utilized in areas where students lack access to quality schools.

For colleges and universities, many do not realize that on a per student basis, Illinois is one of the biggest funders of higher education in the nation. However, for many reasons, we don’t get a lot of bang for our buck. What makes it more expensive to do business in Illinois also makes it more expensive to educate in Illinois.

The state places burdens on higher education that make no sense and must be reconsidered or reworked. We have purchasing rules that are ineffective in achieving their goals, but very effective at increasing costs. There are government “third parties” that get involved in hiring and construction. The state requires reports that are similar, but not exactly the same as federal ones, which unnecessarily doubles workload. Additionally, we have a funding model that rewards failure and punishes success (schools that see growth receive less money per student over time, while schools that lose students receive more).

In this area, Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal) have the largest idea. In 2017, they filed legislation called the “Higher Education Strategic Centers of Excellence Plan. “Instead of having universities competing against each other in every field, they would have universities excel in a smaller number of degrees. This allows our smaller and medium-sized schools to be real standouts in specific fields. Schools can also play to their strengths. It’s worth a look.

To find more information about The Batinick Blueprint and its other parts, click here. Also, tell me your thoughts by calling (815) 254-0000 or emailing batinick@ilhousegop.org.