More electioneering

By: Diane Benjamin

The McLean County Museum of History is owned by McLean County. That makes this Facebook post electioneering.

Candace Summers is also wrong. If the referendum passes there is no guarantee field trips will be in the budget. There is no guarantee any cuts will be restored.

The only guarantee if the referendum passes is permanent higher property taxes.

The Normal police are already investigating electioneering and done ZERO so far. Electioneering is now a criminal epidemic. No prosecutions is why.

Candace Summers, Senior Director of Education here at the Museum, spoke to the Unit 5 Board of Education earlier this year. See her speech below. Early voting is happening now, and election day is 4 weeks from today. Please vote YES for UNIT 5!

“During my 17 plus year career at the Museum, I have helped educate thousands of students from Unit 5 schools through educational fieldtrips. I have seen firsthand the power and impact that a fieldtrip has on a student. According to the American Alliance of Museums, “schools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who appreciate the arts, culture, and humanities.”

Fieldtrips are vital to producing well rounded citizens. Without fieldtrips, students would miss out on amazing educational experiences that help shape their lives. A lot of learning happens outside of the classroom. Students who engage in fieldtrips possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have greater taste for consuming art and culture. And for some students, a school fieldtrip may be the only way they would be able to visit a Museum, historical site, art gallery, or see live theater.

One unique opportunity Unit 5 students would miss out on, should funding for fieldtrips diminish or be cut altogether, is the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. Since the Walk’s inception in 1995, thousands of Unit 5 students have benefitted from participating in this fieldtrip activity. In the last 5 years, (including 2020 when all fieldtrips were virtual) our award-winning live history theater program has served 3,051 students in Unit 5 alone. And because of the generosity of donors and sponsors, the Museum is able to offer this program FREE OF CHARGE (and has done so since 2014). To quote one local teacher who has brought their students on this fieldtrip for many years “students walk away with an experience that takes them to another place and time where they discover adventures, challenges, and events of the past that have relevance today.” The impact of this program is far reaching. The Cemetery Walk helps students connect what they are learning in the classroom to the history that has happened right in their very own community. It helps them see that history is alive and that people like them helped make it and experience it. I often run into students (who are now adults) that remember going on the Cemetery Walk when they were in middle school and how much they enjoyed it, AND who now continue to attend as adults too.

Should the referendum not pass and funding for fieldtrips be cut, the students are the ones who would lose the most by not being able to experience fieldtrips like the Cemetery Walk, as well as other fieldtrips that many of us in this room enjoyed and benefitted from when we were in school. Thank you.”

12 thoughts on “More electioneering

  1. But the wording of the referendum confirms that most of the proposed cuts will be reversed if passed, so her speech is true…


  2. The McLean County Museum is owned by the McLean County Historical Society, which is a nonprofit. That means this post is legal, despite it being an opinion.


  3. There is a lot of misinformation floating around with respect to the referendum. Saturday morning two women came to my door campaigning in favor of the referendum and the slate of school board candidates who are supporting it. One woman stated that she’s a teacher at Normal Community. Their line to me was that if we don’t support this all sports in both high schools will be cut for freshmen and sophomores. I pressed further on this point as I had not seen that mentioned as a cut anywhere. Nor do I see how that will save Unit 5 money. These two women were clearly fear mongering door to door. Exactly what Unit 5 is doing.

    I then asked about how we got in the financial mess we’re in. Again, blame the state and me for not paying enough property tax and short changing Unit 5. I then asked about holding current board members accountable. She then lied to me and told me that none of the current board members were on the ballot. When I called her out on that (Kelly Pyle and Amy Roser are both current board members) she then admitted I was right.

    So, flat out deception from this teacher at Normal Community. The sad thing is these tactics work. I’ve lost all hope of any intelligent community engagement on this or any other issue facing our community, state or nation. Stuff like I experienced with these two women on Saturday at my front door does not anger me as much as it saddens me.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Museum of History… another sacred cow of the Elitist Clique. Greg Koos basically stole money from the taxpayers as Director. Their wasn’t a soul that had a job at the place that wasn’t a buddy of somebody. It was a good place to sleep and hide and collect a nice salary. Only the volunteers had good intentions. If the leadership is so concerned about teaching local students history, maybe they should urge Unit Five and District 87 to require it in curriculum and and add civics as a requirement for graduation for freshman through seniors and not the Howard Zinn versions.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s