Stratton: On public education

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I’m a proud parent of children who attended public schools and an even prouder daughter of a public school teacher.

My three girls went to the same school I went to, the same school for which I had the privilege of serving as a parent representative on the Local School Council. That was the first elected office I ever held. I ran because I wanted to be a voice in the school that educated me and educated my girls. I ran because I wanted to be an advocate for quality neighborhood schools and quality public education for all children, no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status, or where they live. Now I’m running for lieutenant governor with J.B. Pritzker to do the same.

A quality public education opens doors to opportunity and lifts up the potential in all of our children. It changes lives. There is nothing more important, but we’re falling behind. Illinois is failing our public schools and leaving too many of our communities shut out from real opportunity.

A recent study found Illinois had the most regressive public school funding in the nation – by a wide margin. Our notoriously regressive funding system stemmed from one simple fact: Illinois failed to properly fund education at the state level, leaving local governments to pay for their schools through inflated property taxes. This gave schools in wealthy communities the funding they need, while others suffer from disinvestment, making it more difficult for their children to succeed. And while this problem didn’t start with Gov. Bruce Rauner, his failure to pass a budget for over two years did massive damage.

This year, I was proud to work with bipartisan legislators to help address these disparities and pass a new school funding formula. Unfortunately, that funding formula was vetoed not once, but twice, by a failed governor who was dead set on diverting much-needed money from our public education system to give tax breaks to the wealthy. I stood for the new school funding formula, and against Rauner, for the same reason I ran my first race for public office: because I believe in public education. I believe public money should be going to our public schools. As a candidate for lieutenant governor, I’m proud to be running with someone who shares those values.

J.B. Pritzker and I are going to put public education front and center, and make funding our public schools a top priority. Unlike Rauner, who focused on tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, J.B. and I will pass a fair tax, because those who can afford to pay more should do so to afford our students the education they deserve. By taking these steps, I’m confident we can turn Illinois’ regressive system around and achieve that ideal of quality public education for all.

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via Daily, local and breaking news for Joliet and Will County, Illinois | The Herald-News

September 23, 2018 at 04:21PM

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