Guest Column: Freedom Fever in District 205
By Jane Hayes
Corrupt regimes (whether in Rockford, Chicago, Egypt or Algeria) have to be abolished and overturned for the public good. We need to build our trust in leadership, just as Egypt is building its democracy.
The history of civil disobedience and public demonstrations shows that the public will reign victorious over dictatorial regimes. Thankfully, our local school board heard the public outcry and narrowly voted to have an independent audit done of the school budget, which will be paid by the Rockford Education Association.
Thank you for seeing that truth, transparency and trust are inviolable public concerns that must be addressed. Thank you for being accountable to the pro-democratic ideals that have elected you. We have had so much chaos over the past year-and-a-half when what we call for is stability throughout the district.
Perhaps Rockford will be the bellwether and model for a nation that is tired of Broad graduates and monied forces exerting influence by trying to take over our schools. We, the people, will not let this happen! We have the voice, and must use it collectively to restrict the mishandling of funds and needless school closings. Our most valuable assets, our children, are at stake as posturing occurs on which schools to close and which programs, regardless of how successful, to demolish.
At Court Street Methodist Church Saturday, Feb. 12, the people had their voices heard, and now, we must unite to empower our voices in a single-minded mission to save our schools and many beneficial programs.
According to Abraham Lincoln: “Public opinion is everything! With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” After this successful public meeting, we adjourned to attend the board meeting where, once again, there was no room for the overflow crowd. Such human indignity denies the public its place, so we have contacted the attorney general’s office about the Open Meetings Act. The school board and leadership could easily convene board meetings in a public school, which would be far more accommodating to the general public.
Just as Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the public will continue to exert rights of civil disobedience until the wrongs are rectified by the people.
In Gandhi’s words, “For me, every ruler is alien that defies public opinion.” I say, our Freedom Fever must be taken seriously before it becomes Freedom Fervor.
Jane Hayes is a member of Watchdogs for Ethics in Education and a candidate for the Rockford Board of Education in Sub District C.
From the Feb. 23-March 1, 2011, issue
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