March 29, 2011 12:34PM
Office sought: Board member Cook County School District 130
Name: Jane Blew Healy
Address: 12056 Maple Ave., Blue Island
Date of birth: August 10, 1964
Home: (708) 388-8662
Bachelor’s from Sarah Lawrence University. Master’s work at St. Xavier University, Wesleyan University, University of Illinois
Former high school biology teacher
Sources of Income:
husband’s salary, trust, coach of Eisenhower Area Swim Club
Spouse, spouse’s employer:
Michael Healy, Chicago Board of Education
Children, age of children:
Will Healy, 13
Katie Healy, 11
Genevieve Healy, 7
What other elected offices have you sought?
Have run twice for the position I am seeking re-election to
Arrested or charged with a crime?
I have served on the board of education for Cook County District 130 for eight years.
Two most important issues faced by constituents, and how I would address them:
1. State and Federal funding of schools
2. Student testing
I will address the issue of school funding by seeking to advocate at the state and local levels for better, more equitable funding of schools. There are inherent inequities that exist between schools due to the fact that districts are funded on local property taxes. High wealth communities can afford to pay per-pupil expenditures of over $11,000. Our district educates children with $9,349 per student. While money isn’t everything, it certainly can help to provide a higher quality education for children. Well funded schools provide more intervention to help struggling students, have lower class sizes, provide many more opportunities for learning through enhancements such as field trips and extracurriculars, and have tremendous access to new technology which is so important for today’s learners. Many states fund schools based on a state tax (rather than property taxes) that is equitably divided between districts, but not Illinois. We need equality! Adding insult to injury, the state has been horrible in making timely payments. Our district has been shorted up to $3 million dollars due to unpaid state bills.
One of the main results of the historic No Child Left Behind legislation has been the increase in school accountability, which is reflected in the huge increase in school testing. Children are routinely subjected to over 20 hours of mandated testing each year. While data collection is important, this loss of educational time is not acceptable. Standardized testing should be kept to a minimum, and should be giving teachers real-time, valid data on how to better help their students achieve. Teachers should not be forced to “teach to the test,” focusing all their energies on specific aspects of reading and math, to the exclusion of science or social studies. I will continue to advocate for useful, meaningful testing that helps teachers to teach, rather than merely cataloging a list of students who meet or exceed state targets without providing any clear insight on how to teach more effectively.
Something significant that I would like to accomplish in the next two years if I am elected:
I would like to see more wraparound activities for students, so that the classroom day is not just Periods 1-8, but also labs, gaming, clubs, sports, field trips, etc. either before or after school. Kids who are engaged in their school are more successful. I think we can reach all kids (not just the high achievers) by providing more hands-on events for them to participate in.
I would also like to see the academic day extended by 30 minutes. While we are no longer meeting the minimum minutes allowed by law in Illinois (thanks to a classroom day increase negotiated by the board in 2006-07), kids can benefit from being in school longer.
I would also like to see playgrounds installed at all of our grade schools. It is unacceptable that our children get only 10 minutes of recess a day —and that on a bare chunk of asphalt.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
Heck no! Please see my answers above for the Issues question.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
No, I think our district is very frugal and effective with the budgeting process. I would love for the state to be more timely in it’s payments, but that is outside the purview of my elected office!
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
No. I feel that our district provides a high quality education for children, although there is always room for improvement. I have chosen for my own kids to go to school here, something that I wouldn’t’ have done if I didn’t feel they were getting a great education.