Meeks Provides Model for ILGOP on K-12: Take the Fight not the Money

You cannot be on the dole of the teachers’ unions and be a credible, effective agent for system change of K-12 in Illinois.

It is on this basis that I have called for Illinois Republicans to stop taking campaign cash from the teachers’ unions.

Two of my opponents, State Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, have taken tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from the teachers’ unions and show no willingness to stop. Perhaps that explains why neither has introduced any meaningful K-12 legislation in their 15 years in the Illinois General Assembly.

Another opponent, Andy McKenna, the counterfeit “outsider”, is backed by Springfield insiders like House GOP Leader Tom Cross who has operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Illinois Education Association during his tenure. Perhaps this explains why McKenna offers little more than empty bromides like “we need to do whatever it takes” to improve K-12 without ever defining what the “whatever” looks like.

Contrast this with the bold step forward State Senator James Meeks, a Chicago Democrat, has taken to introduce school choice legislation for families whose children are relegated to failing schools in Chicago.

For breaking from the ranks of those who protect the status quo at the expense of children deprived of the opportunity to earn a quality education, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) vowed not to give Meeks any more campaign cash.

Sen. Meeks’ response? He wrote a check back to the CTU for the $4,000 they had contributed to date.

The message from Sen. Meeks to CTU is clear: I don’t want your blood money.

If only the ILGOP was as stout of heart.

If only the ILGOP was willing to stop taking the money and start taking the fight to the teachers’ unions who preside like Soviet apparatchiks over failing K-12 systems in Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, East St. Louis and throughout Illinois where children from low-income families are discriminated against based on their address and household income in terms of the educational opportunities they can access.

I am the one candidate for Governor willing and able to fill this leadership vacuum for the Illinois Republican Party.

I am the one candidate for Governor who has advanced a statewide school choice plan that expands educational opportunities by changing how the money flows and who gets to make spending decisions as it pertains to the education of our young people. Under my plan, we invest in families and let them choose the best course for their children. Under my plan, we stop financing command control bureaucracies and moribund teachers’ unions.

Last week, I had a productive meeting with Sen. Meeks on this very topic. We have slightly different roadmaps when it comes to school choice but share a common destination: a child-centered K-12 system that focuses on educational outputs.

As Governor, with the leadership of legislators like Sen. Meeks, we can build the necessary coalition across party lines to advance a school choice policy that provides every child in Illinois with a legitimate opportunity to be a successful, independent adult able to effectively compete in our global, digital economy.



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