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By: Mark Glennon*

School administrators in District 39 in north suburban Chicago didn’t get what they expected from a survey on school climate.

The survey was taken in the hope to make the schools “a place where all students feel safe to express differing opinions…and that the climate is such that differences are not only respected, but also celebrated….”

It didn’t occur to them to ask about hostility towards conservatives, but that’s what they heard plenty of.

While race was the top concern, the report on the survey says, “the second highest number of comments were about political ideology, specifically with respect to the sentiment that students with conservative views are not respected and are even harassed in D39 schools.” “It should be noted,” the report adds, that “even though political ideology was not specifically asked about in the surveys, responses to this effect (indicating that students with conservative political views were not being treated well at school) were seen across the board in all three surveys, including those submitted to parents, teachers, and students in grades 5-8.” [Emphasis added.]

Administrators may have been surprised, but lots of us in the district weren’t. My daughter came home once explaining how she learned, as a matter of scientific fact, that men’s and women’s brains function identically. Education Secretary Betsy Devos, she believed from what she heard at school, is basically a composite of every form of the devil ever conceived by any culture. Not once in his eight years in the district’s schools, my son says, did he hear a description or debate about differences between socialism and capitalism. (Nor has he heard one in over three years following at the local high school, he says).

You’d think it would be standard policy to keep political opinion out of the classroom and, where it necessary enters, to keep things even-handed.

Not so, based on what I hear anecdotally, especially from other school districts. District 39 is actually pretty good compared to what I hear about some other schools, especially Evanston schools, which are off-the-charts wacko by all accounts. One school principal there recently held a staff meeting to “continue on our journey of equity” by exploring racial equity through “affinity groups” — racially segregated affinity groups. The principal’s memo is linked here.

What’s needed is a systematic collection of instances of education giving way to political indoctrination. Students’ accounts aren’t always accurate and what you or I hear anecdotally doesn’t suffice. To put an end to it, the stories need to be authenticated and counted as well as they can be.

*Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.

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The KEY is to elect a new School Board and new Superintendent. This is extremely important.Thereafter, making sure no teacher or administrator is allowed to bring politics of any kind into our schools or the classroom without being fired.

John Hawkins

This issue isn’t confined to just the conservative side. I grew up in a rural conservative school district and my children also attend a rural conservative school district. I have experienced the opposite effect of teachers promoting conservative viewpoints and being hostile to opposing opinions. I agree that schools shouldn’t promote one political ideology over another but it is naive to think it doesn’t occur both ways.

Mark Glennon

Yes, absolutely. Having lived in Texas, I heard lots of examples of that, and I have no doubt there are some places in Illinois that do the same. Point well taken.


Does anyone ever file for FOIA from local PRIVATE schools K-12. Maybe they are very transparent with the info. After all- they want to educate your children. Can any of the astute readers let us know if they ever did this and what the result was.


The illinois FOIA law applies to public bodies not private bodies.


I have. The school districts were very responsive. Each govt unit I’ve ever FOIA’ed has been responsive.


Thank You and be well

The school is fighting FOIA requests which ask to see the comments that were made, now that those comments have been referenced in a formal report and should be – but probably will not be – the basis for changes in the district. The district claims (and reiterated in a politically-motivated e-mail from the superintendent ironically and disturbingly bashing conservative news media) that respondents had an expectation of anonymity. Fair enough. Don’t give us the names, if you even have them. But nobody who took the survey – me included – should have expected PRIVACY with respect to comments that should drive district policy. What exactly is… Read more »

Kathy, so they will not release the comments to you, is that correct? I don’t even live in the district (I’m in DuPage Co.), but just seeing your comment makes me want to send my own FOIA.

I didn’t make the request; a local (conservative) media outlet did, and the school is refusing to release the comments from the survey under the pretext that people who responded expected these comments to remain private. But once they are used to formulate school policy, they should be fair game. North Cook News (who filed the request) is pursuing further, i believe.


North Cook News.

Illinois AG Will Review Wilmette Schools’ Refusal to Release School Climate Survey Results.

by Karen Kidd.

November 14, 2017.

Local units of government routinely fight requests and / or violate FOIA law, from the north shore to the most impoverished communities. Thus it is important to learn FOIA law including its nuances and case law. It boils down to what is allowable under the law. Expecting or asking a school district to do be transparent via a request is often a waste of time. One reason is often behind the scenes the public does not know the political landscape and hidden agendas unless they have an inside connection, attend a lot of board meetings, and understand the documents discussed at the meetings. The latter is a… Read more »
The 2016 – 2017 Community Review Committee, an advisory committee to the Wilmette Elementary District 39 school board, surveyed parents, teachers, and middle school students about School Climate. The Parent Survey was 361 questions with 1,070 respondents. Only one parent answered all 361 questions. All others had gradually dropped off by question 242. Some (not all) of the questions appear repeatedly in the report. What is the story behind the high number of questions and repeated questions that appear in the report? The published report did not include the parent responses for the following two questions (each repeated many times in the survey): Q9, Q33, Q42, Q81,… Read more »
Mr. Common Sense

It’s the war on the white male, brought to you from the democrat party.

The teacher union leadership is dominated by liberals and organized and networked at the local, regional, state, and national levels. In this case it is: Local – Wilmette Education Association, IEA-NEA. Regional – IEA Region 37 State – Illinois Education Association (IEA) National – National Education Association (NEA). The Local, State, and National levels elect leadership and have regular meetings. The IEA & NEA each have an annual conference called a Representative Assembly (RA). At the IEA RA the delegates vote on policy, legislative platform, etc. At the NEA RA the delegates vote on business items, amendments, resolutions, policy statements, constitutional amendments, standing amendments, and elect officers.… Read more »
Art in Lake County

Good post Mike – thanks. Very concerning. Also says this does not change until a forced situation, such as pension funds run out of money. Mathematics says they should. I wonder how long the pols will vote for there union money at the expense of there local constituents. Likely for a long time to come. Means real estate is a horrible investment in this state.

Art in Lake County

Your children can’t express conservative views in school, as the so called “more tolerant” libs (ie majority of teachers and administrators) will attack them viciously. But you can express your views using the ballot box. Have to vote in local elections, including school boards.


Why aren’t there 1,000 people posting here agreeing or blasting the info? Illinois taxpayers checked out?


This kind of crap is why I am fine with the schools going bankrupt and shutting down. Hopefully those in the North Shore have the same pension crisis as CPS. Schools are there to educate children and prepare them for a successful future. Not indoctrinate them with lies and theorist bullshit.