Education – A way up, out, and to give back

I am the product of a public school education system – from Sharp Corners grade school, Old Orchard Junior High, Niles North High School, and the University of Illinois, to George Mason University in Virginia for my Masters in Business Administration.   Education is the great equalizer for Americans of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.  I worked full-time at Dominicks to pay for college, and full-time at the White House to pay for my MBA.  Back then, education was affordable.

As your state representative, my priority will be to establish a world-class education system (early childhood through high school) that is fully and sustainably-funded, accountable, and financially audited for complete costs.  Our efforts must begin with a complete audit of all public school funding and spending, as well as an honest review of the many school systems here in Illinois.  Some need to be consolidated to reduce our tax burden and improve education, and all need to be under the control of publically-elected school boards.

I will ensure our Illinois tax money is spent on actually educating students, rather than used as a political slush fund.  I’ve met many of my neighbors that pointed out how unfair it is for kids in poorer neighborhoods to not have the same educational opportunities as do their own children.  My job as your state representative will be to not only ensure that children in our community have access to world-class education, but to ensure all children throughout Illinois – whether from the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood or from the rural area of Effingham – have a chance to grow their potential.

The cost of a college degree in Illinois is outrageous.   For years, people have paid taxes in Illinois, paying the salaries of administrators, and for new buildings and sports programs.  Yet we still pony up some of the highest tuition rates in the country.  I’ve traveled enough to see how much more affordable a college degree is elsewhere.  I’ve even met two families in Morton Grove who send their children to London because it is less expensive than sending them to an Illinois university.  I will audit our spending and work to reduce college tuition for Illinois citizens.  You’ve already paid to support it – it’s your school system.

A strong, affordable education system will allow us to grow as a state and to attract businesses, jobs, and people.  It will also allow us to retain quality educators.  A world-class education will allow our children to realize their potential, and compete on a global basis.

School provided a pathway for me to escape poverty – I will ensure that everyone has this opportunity.  Hire me, I’ll make it happen.

Edit: And if you are a teacher, THANK YOU!