Eighty-two bipartisan state representatives and senators have added their names to the Network 21 Quality Schools Pledge to implement quality and accountability reforms and increase state resources to provide a $5,500 foundation level in order to ensure that every Illinois child receives an adequate education.
Eighty-two bipartisan state representatives
and senators — including Sen. Lisa Madigan (D-17, Chicago), candidate for State
Attorney General — have added their names to the Network 21 pledge to implement
quality and accountability reforms and increase state resources to provide a
$5,500 foundation level in order to ensure that every Illinois child receives an
21 is a broad-based coalition of more than 45 education, business, labor, civic
and civil rights organizations founded on the premise that there must be
adequate resources to provide a high quality education for every student in the
state. This means increasing the state’s share of the education-funding burden
and reducing the over-reliance on local property taxes to fund K-12 schools in
Illinois, which create significant disparities in educational opportunity
between property-poor and property-wealthy school districts. Critical to Network 21’s campaign are
quality and accountability reforms that will ensure resources are deployed
effectively and efficiently to enhance student outcomes.
to the pledge has been positive, quick and broad based. “Funding alone is not the answer, as
Network 21 so clearly demonstrates.
Without good teachers in every classroom, early intervention for at-risk
and failing schools, true accountability, and a strong commitment to early
childhood education, we will continue to witness the deterioration of our public
school system. I support the
coalition’s efforts and urge my fellow lawmakers to join me in signing the
pledge,” said Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-73, Sterling).
Democratic Leader Emil Jones, Jr. (D-14, Chicago) adds, “If the children of
Illinois don’t receive an adequate education, we all suffer the
consequences. It is time we take a
hard look at the achievement gaps in education and make the changes necessary to
provide sufficient funding to our schools.
I support the work of Network 21 and ask my fellow lawmakers to join me
in signing the pledge.”
have an education crisis in Illinois.
This year’s budget for K-12 education was slashed by $176 million,” says
Leslie B. Lipschultz, education and tax policy manager for Network 21. “We are
hopeful that the day may finally be at hand for the Illinois General Assembly to
take the bold steps necessary to ensure that every Illinois school child
receives an adequate education,” continues Lipschultz. Considering the severity of the state’s
fiscal crisis, the Quality Schools Pledge states that the foundation level
increase may be phased-in as long as it is adjusted annually for
21 was founded two years ago by the Metropolitan Planning
Council to build consensus on how best to provide a quality education
for every child in Illinois.
Organizations as diverse as the League of Women Voters, Voices for
Illinois Children, Illinois Farm Bureau, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce,
Illinois Business Roundtable, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, the
teachers unions and the Chicago Urban League have contributed elements of a
comprehensive education reform package that includes creating an adequate and
stable state revenue stream for schools paired with key quality and
cannot allow the achievement gap to grow larger,” said MarySue Barrett,
president of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “We are delighted to be joined
by such an impressive roster of Illinois General Assembly members in holding the
State accountable for an adequate education for every Illinois
$5,500 figure in Network 21’s pledge derived from research conducted by
nationally respected experts, Augenblick and Myers, who determined that this was
the amount spent by fiscally efficient, high-performing Illinois school
districts. The same researchers
conducted a study for the governor-appointed Education Funding Advisory Board
(EFAB), which released its interim report last August and made a similar
foundation level recommendation.
Both Network 21 and EFAB advocate reducing reliance on local property
here for the text of the pledge and a full list of signers.
more information, please visit Network 21 on the Web at
www.Network-21.org. Or, contact Leslie B. Lipschultz at
A comparison of the gubernatorial candidates'
positions on education is available here.