Education

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The K-12 years are the most important learning years in our lives. A good school district, and more importantly, good teachers can make a world of difference in our children’s future. As a defense attorney, I have unfortunately seen too many kids end up in jail or worse without the proper support. While we certainly can’t prevent every child from being led astray, with the right educational support, we can increase every child’s chance of success. In order to do that we need to do the following: 

  • Teach for the Future: Going to college isn’t for everyone, and it’s important for us to recognize that locally. Children need education to be engaging. We all learn in different ways. Some learn from books, some need a hands-on component. If we are going to get our kids engaged in their education, we need to commit to a dual program in our K-12 schools. We must continue to teach a college prep curriculum but our kids should also be able to learn a skill they can use right out of high school. When we do this, our kids will have greater opportunity and we will have a stronger workforce.
  • This is how we do it:  There is already a framework for this under the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. This is a law already on the books that values alternative education. I will go through the various state statutes and mirror this idea, making sure that we put value where it belongs, and making sure our kids are ready for life after high school. By also partnering with labor unions, local businesses, and others we can significantly enhance the quality of education our children receive, while also providing them with an engaging experience. 
  • This is how we pay for it: Illinois has the most administrators per student of any state. I want to work locally and down in Springfield to make sustainable reductions in school administrators. The money saved not paying for administrator salaries can be used to support the programs I’ve been talking about here, to increase teacher pay, and to hire more teachers. All of these will improve education in our community. I also want to work with local districts to apply for grants and other aid to help us better fund our education system.

I want to end this section on a personal note. My son Ryan grew up in a house with two attorneys who spent most of their early years in school and the next several years paying off debt. He graduated from high school and went to college, but it wasn’t for him. He tried for a few years, but he was never able to find his place. After he moved back home, he found a training program and now he’s a CNC operator. He is happy and proud of himself because he has a good job that he earned with his hard work, and he makes good money. I’m incredibly proud of him. I want all the kids in the 68th to feel how he feels and to live a fulfilling, happy life.