Local School Funding – a Barrier to Equality in Urban Areas

John Heintz Chicago

John Heintz, Chicago

As a senior legal consultant for Chicago firm Lydian, Inc., John Heintz offers high-end management consulting services to corporate leaders. John Heintz comes from a background in education, and previously served as the assistant superintendent for operations in Niles Township High School District 219 outside Chicago. He also continues to operate Second Rail, an organization working toward success and reform in public education.

Cities such as Chicago are overflowing with talent and human capital. Their selective enrollment schools produce some of the best students in the country, but their public schools are consistently outperformed by schools in nearby suburban areas.

Funding is one key problem. The public school funding system is based on property taxes, which means that wealthy areas tend to receive the most money for education. This creates large disparities. In Illinois’ wealthier districts, schools are spending $30,000 per student per year. In less wealthy areas, that figure is closer to $8,000.

A fleeing middle class can compound this problem. When big city schools do not meet expectations, many middle-class families move to the suburbs. They take their political capital with them, leaving families who are unable to move away with even less political clout.

Some experts suggest that changing funding structures may be the best way to foster equality between urban and suburban students. Local funding and control creates major disparities, so schools in and around urban areas may be best able to flourish under a more centralized funding system.


The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Melds Research and Patient Care

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab pic

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Image: sralab.org

After serving as the chief legal officer and assistant superintendent of operations for Niles Township High School District 219 near Chicago, John Heintz launched Lydian, Inc., a Chicago-based consulting firm that offers consultation on sustainability, economic development and human rights-related leadership matters. Throughout his career, John Heintz has balanced his professional pursuits with work supporting nonprofit groups such as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which recently received a new name and celebrated the opening of a brand new facility.

Located on Chicago’s Erie Street, the $550 million Shirley Ryan AbilityLab officially opened its doors on March 25, 2017. A cutting-edge research hospital, the 1.2-million-square-foot facility features an open design that enables clinicians, researchers, and technologists to work side-by-side surrounded by the patients they are trying to help. By melding research and patient care, hospital leaders believe the facility will lead to new research that can be applied in real time.

At the heart of the AbilityLab are five Innovation Centers, each of which focuses on a specific area of biomedical science, and five working labs, where teams of researchers will focus on achieving better outcomes for patients with issues related to brain function, locomotion, hand and arm movement, stamina, and child development. The state-of-the-art research and rehabilitation space also includes 242 patient rooms as well as on-site MRI and CT facilities.

ASCD Launches New Video Streaming Service for Educators

ASCD pic

Image: ASCD.org

Currently the senior consultant at Lydian, Inc., in Chicago, John Heintz previously served as chief legal officer and assistant superintendent at Niles Township High School District 219 for over six years. In his efforts to stay current with the latest developments in education, Chicago’s John Heintz has relationships with professional organizations such as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

In a recently released statement, ASCD announced the launch of a new streaming platform that will give educators instant access to its catalog of professional learning videos. A cloud-based service, ASCD Streaming features carefully organized digital content that can be accessed anywhere and at any time via a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

The streaming platform includes award-winning videos on a variety of topics, including school diversity, education policy, teacher leadership, and student success. Currently, the on-demand service features 40 videos, but ASCD will continually add more titles to the list.

Teachers and other education professionals interested in using the service can view the content with individual rentals or full-year subscriptions. Package pricing ranges from $14.95 to $995. For more information, visit www.ascd.org.

The Enduring Nature of The Great Gatsby’s Closing Lines

Great Gatsby pic

Great Gatsby
Image: amazon.com

John Marshall Law School graduate John Heintz has worked in a variety of positions throughout the state of Illinois, including chief legal officer with Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, and as an attorney with Chicago education law firms such as Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. When he is not working with school districts in and around Chicago, John Heintz enjoys reading classic literature such as The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has long been considered one of the finest novels in the American literary canon. In particular, the book has been remembered for its elegant, affecting closing lines, the last of which reads: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” One could argue the line is Fitzgerald’s single most revered piece of writing, as the sentence has been inscribed on the author’s headstone in Rockville, Maryland, and has been praised by countless critics, organizations, and writers.

The line, which was named the third best closing line to a novel by the American Book Review, is specifically praised for its beauty, complexity, and effortless ability to unify the novel’s various subjects and themes. Specific interpretations of Fitzgerald’s ending vary, but many cite the closing line’s evocation of both limitless optimism for the future and melancholic reflection of the past. According to the American Book Review, the ending of The Great Gatsby edged out that of the likes of Ulysses by James Joyce and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, falling only behind Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable.

Unequal School Funding, Student Poverty Result in Inadequate Education


Second Rail Education  pic

Second Rail Education
Image: secondrail.com

John Heintz, the founder of Chicago-based management consulting firm Lydian, Inc., is an attorney and educator with wide-ranging interests in education and the law. John Heintz, a Chicago resident, applies his 25 years of experience to advocacy for educational transformation through Second Rail Education, an organization he founded to mitigate inequalities in education funding, particularly as they affect students in low-income school districts.

Second Rail Education seeks to improve education across geographic, demographic, national, and political boundaries. The organization plans to do this by disseminating information relevant to educators and lawmakers, and linking entrepreneurs, educators, and other leaders to comprehensive solutions devised by the Second Rail Education team, which includes educators, attorneys, economists, and other experts from both for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

Second Rail and other education organizations may play an important role in the changing face of public education resulting from the recent appointment of Betsy DeVos as head of the US Department of Education. Mrs. DeVos has said she favors school choice for parents and students. School choice would allow parents to enroll their children in charter schools, possibly outside of their school districts.

Arguments for and against this anticipated change center on the effectiveness of public education, addressed in the past two presidential administrations’ “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” initiatives. An article recently published in the Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ), “School Transformation Hasn’t Worked – Isn’t That Reason Enough to Stop?” says that these initiatives were informed by the belief that schools failed because they were poorly run or poorly staffed. NPQ says that the proven impact of poverty on learning has been ignored.

Solving the Pension Crisis and Making Illinois Schools Competitive

John Heintz Chicago

John Heintz, Chicago

Currently guiding the Chicago consultancy Second Rail, John Heintz has past experience as assistant superintendent and chief legal officer of Niles Township High School District 219. Focused on ways of improving organizational performance and student achievement in Chicago, John Heintz authors regular blog articles on the Second Rail website.

In one recent piece, Mr. Heintz looked at ways in which transformation can occur in the educational realm. Unfortunately, the “what-was-good-enough-for-me-is-good-enough-for-my-children” syndrome stands squarely in the way of change. One aspect of the equation Mr. Heintz draws attention to is the pension crisis and a system that is rife with excesses.

Mr. Heintz proposes a simple solution, that of requiring all parties with financial exposure to sit at the table during negotiations. In Illinois, only school boards and teachers’ unions work out arrangements, with the state government that actually pays the pensions having no negotiating authority.

As the state cannot “go out of business,” the stultifying situation arises where the teacher’s pension is secure and there is no real motivating force for innovation in the way things are done. When the rewards educational employees accrue do not correlate with merit, risk taking is not encouraged and stagnancy easily sets in.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Develops 3D Muscle Imaging

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago pic

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Image: ric.org

John Heintz’ former roles in education include serving as assistant superintendent for operations and chief legal officer of Niles Township High School District 219. Outside of his current professional responsibilities, John Heintz supports the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, an organization that undertakes cutting-edge research into neuroscience and bionic and musculoskeletal medicine.

Recently, individuals at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago unveiled a new 3D imaging technique that could help make muscle disease and injury treatment more effective. About 20 million Americans struggle with these conditions, which encompass diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and injuries such as rotator cuff tears.

Using 3D rather than 2D imaging techniques, clinicians identified strange patterns of collagen structures within muscle tissue for the first time. Standard 2D imaging techniques had only shown collagen outside of the muscle. The discovery of highly organized chains of collagen within muscle could point to new ways of treating muscle diseases and injuries.

In patients that had developed fibrosis, the number of collagen cables was much higher than normal, suggesting that they may play a role in the development of disease. Reducing the amount of collagen in muscles could reduce pain and possibly eliminate the need for surgical intervention.