Teachers Need to Write Letters on School Funding in Illinois

OK, let’s get serious and look at some numbers. I’m in the Chicago metro area, so I’ll focus on Illinois. A national study shows Illinois is the second worst state in the union for funding disparity between high and low poverty-level schools. This partly results from shortfalls in state aid to schools. In recent years, the state education budget has fallen hundreds of millions of dollars short of the legally required level of state aid — $518,176, 370 short for 2013, to be specific.

The State Board of Education has requested an $874,000,000 increase in state aid to begin making up for this, but after their testimony to the state Senate Appropriations Committee they were told it won’t happen. Instead, the Governor requests $300,000,000 in FURTHER CUTS. He’s focused on the state’s huge unfunded pension bill.

Meanwhile, Illinois tax revenues increased by 19% in 2012. Actually, personal income taxes increased 40% – which means corporate taxes increased by a much lower percentage, so it’s ordinary working people footing the bills. And yet there’s a “crisis” that calls for more education cuts.

So I hope you agree with the obvious: teachers need to write letters on school funding in Illinois. Letters to their local newspapers. Letters to legislators. Letters to the Governor. Get friends and families to write letters. Have classes full of kids write letters. Sure, unions can speak up – but unfortunately they’re too often seen as special pleaders. Individual teachers can tell stories of their victories with struggling kids in their classrooms. Don’t moan and complain. Don’t threaten to quit. Just tell your story to remind officials why schools matter.

If ever there were an occasion for teachers to speak up in Illinois it’s now. PLEASE let us know if you write one, and tell us what response you get.


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This entry was posted on 04/17/2013 and is filed under Reaching Out More Widely -Posts, Write Strategically -Posts. Written by: . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.