CHICAGO, IL—More than 340 Illinois educators from 24 districts around the state have signed a letter to the Illinois House of Representatives, urging the lawmakers to pass legislation that creates a more equitable funding formula for all students. The letter, which originated with Teach Plus and Teach Plus teachers, emphasizes the need to direct state funds to support students in poverty who stand to lose most without adequate school funding.
“Without action from Springfield, my school could lose 40% of its budget. That equates to 11 out of 29 teachers being laid off and class sizes soaring into the mid-forties,” said Paige Nilson, a 2nd grade teacher at Hamilton Elementary in CPS and Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship alumna. “With the continued stalemate in Springfield, we are jeopardizing the future of students across our state and Illinois’ ability to attract and retain excellent teachers and committed families.”
Illinois is currently the worst in the nation in terms of supporting students in poverty. High-poverty districts receive 20% less funding from state and local sources than low-poverty districts. The Better Funding for Better Schools Act, also known as Senate Bill 231, ensures that districts that serve a large population of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, or English Language Learners have the resources they need to help students achieve.
The House just passed an unbalanced, partisan budget which Governor Bruce Rauner has threatened to veto. In contrast, Senate Bill 231 has bipartisan support. In their letter, the educators write that it is unacceptable “that children, a majority of them in poverty, are suffering at the expense of adults who are too proud to compromise.”
“Teach Plus has heard from teachers across the state about the inequities that are prevalent and damaging to their students,” said Teach Plus Chicago Executive Director Josh Kaufmann. “The Illinois Senate has passed legislation that will direct our limited state funds to those students most in need. Now it’s up to the Illinois House of Representatives to listen to teachers and do the right thing.”
About Teach Plus
Teach Plus empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of improvements in policy and practice: Teaching Policy Fellowship, C2 Initiative, and T3 Initiative. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in district, state, and national policy. Since its inception in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 22,000 solutions-oriented teachers across the country. www.teachplus.org