Standing Up for Education
Public education is the cornerstone of our communities.
When my daughters were young, I volunteered a lot in their classrooms. So I got a firsthand view of the impact that exceptional schools can have on children’s lives. That experience inspired me to run Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education. I wound up serving two full terms, including two years as Board President.
My years on the school board taught me how much our schools depend on the State of Illinois to meet the needs of our children and our teachers – and how badly Illinois is doing in meeting its responsibilities to us and our children. When the State doesn’t pay its bills, our schools still have to meet their financial obligations, which leaves property owners to fill the gap.
When we fund our schools, we’re making an investment in the future that helps everyone in Illinois, because those kids grow up to be our employees (or, sometimes, our bosses.) That early investment in education yields decades of enormous returns – in shared prosperity, in an expanded tax base, and in greater opportunities for everyone.
I believe our leaders in Springfield have a responsibility to come up with a new plan to fund education that will take some of the tax burden off the backs of property owners. I know it won’t be easy, but we can do it if we work together and put the needs of our constituents and our communities ahead of political parties and personal agendas.
Illinois’ system of public colleges and universities used to be one of the best in the nation.
I was so proud to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an undergraduate. More recently, as an instructor at the College of DuPage, I’ve been so impressed by the talent, intelligence, and promise of our young people, as well as the drive and determination of our second-career students.
So why isn’t the State of Illinois paying its share of funding for our colleges and universities? When we lose our bright young people to out-of-state colleges, many of them never come back home. That’s a huge loss to their home communities and to our home state.
We need to increase funding for our state colleges and universities, so they can compete with institutions in our surrounding states to attract our high-achieving students.
We also need to find new ways to make our community colleges more affordable. For many young people, community colleges are a gateway to the middle class. Our community colleges make it possible for high school graduates to begin their college educations close to home, and they also provide important workforce education that helps to close the gap between employees’ needs and workers’ skills.