Chicago, IL, August 31, 2017—Teach Plus today released the following statement on the passing and signing of SB1947:
“Teach Plus and Teach Plus teachers commend Illinois legislators for passing SB1947, the education funding reform bill which directs state funds to districts that need them most and ensures that all of Illinois students have access to equitable and fair funding. We look forward to the Governor’s signing of the bill so that this much-needed reform becomes law.
“For far too long, the unequal funding formula in Illinois forced many of our students to attend schools that lacked the resources and opportunities children need in order to reach their highest potential,” said Chicago teacher and Teach Plus Policy Fellow Maggie DePoy. “This reform bill is an exciting step towards creating a more equitable system that ensures all students, regardless of their zip code, receive the top-quality educational experiences that they deserve.“
Teach Plus teachers worked tirelessly this year to advocate for funding reform. They organized their peers, spoke up for equitable funding across the state, hosted house meetings and town halls, and met with legislators, including House Speaker Mike Madigan, to explain how inadequate and inequity funding hurts students from Cairo to Chicago.
“As this compromise bill was being negotiated, the debate was often framed as Chicago versus the rest of the state,” said Carbondale teacher and Teach Plus Policy Fellow Bill Curtin. “But many of the districts that will benefit most from funding reform are right here in southern Illinois. We will be able to upgrade the resources in our schools to meet 21st century needs, pay teachers competitively to attract more qualified educators to our small towns, and provide rural students an opportunity to compete in a global economy.”
Teach Plus teachers also mounted a multi-faceted public awareness campaign in support of funding reform. They organized a rally and Footrace for Fair School Funding at the state capitol, published op-eds in seven of the top ten media markets in the state, and championed the issue on radio and television.
“The sustained statewide presence of teachers was critical to the funding reform effort,” said Teach Plus Illinois Executive Director Josh Kaufmann. “While neither side got 100% of what it wanted, this bill is a compromise which will help all students in Illinois receive a good education, and that’s what our teachers care about most.”
Teach Plus is a national nonprofit that empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students' success. www.teachplus.org