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Teach Plus Illinois on Illinois School Funding Reform Commission’s Newly-Released Report

February 1, 2017

CHICAGO, IL―Teach Plus Illinois released the following statement on the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission’s partial framework to address the funding crisis:

“Teach Plus Illinois and Teach Plus teachers commend the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission for working diligently over the last six months to address the crisis in funding that schools in Illinois face.  We appreciate the efforts of the bipartisan, bicameral commission to find areas of consensus with respect to the development of a new school funding formula that serves the needs of all of Illinois students.

However, Illinois needs more than the report and partial framework that the commission is releasing this week.  It needs legislation to address the chronic underfunding of schools for the most vulnerable students in the state.   We must remember these sobering facts about education in Illinois:

  1. Only 33% of students are ready for the next grade level on the PARCC exam
  2. Low-income students in Illinois receive only $.81 in state and local funding for every $1.00 that a non low-income student receives.  Illinois is the worst in the nation for equity in education.
  3. Underfunding hurts students and teachers.  Teach Plus Policy Fellowship alumna Gina Caneva wrote in op-eds about how students lack critical resources they need such as technology and textbooks and libraries.  Teach Plus research showed that 80% of Illinois teachers doubt they will receive their full pensions, which hurts our ability to recruit great teachers to the state.

“The Commission’s report is not enough,” said Teach Plus Illinois Executive Director Josh Kaufmann.  “We need legislators to take action this year to ensure that all of our students have access to a great education.  Last year, over 300 teachers from 24 districts in the Illinois urged the Illinois House to take up legislation to fix Illinois funding.  We will continue to support legislators who are willing to fix Illinois’ broken funding system and we will increase our efforts to hold accountable those legislators who oppose or obstruct solutions.” 

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."