`

education reform

Transforming K-12 Education In Illinois

Due to the new tax credit scholarship program signed into law, families in Illinois who are not wealthy or politically connected are no longer stuck in a school district that does not serve the educational needs of their children. In honor of National School Choice Week, Dan and Amy are joined by Myles Mendoza of Empower Illinois to explain the tax credit scholarship program and how to donate, who is eligible to receive the scholarships, and the progress the organization has made thus far. For more information visit empowerillinois.org.

Proft: Top o' the morning, Dan and Amy. It's National School Choice Week, Amy! Jacobson: That's why you should be wearing your hat! Proft: Why? What does my hat have to do with it. Jacobson: You gotta show people who are watching on the web. You came in today with a fancy-shmancy hat! You got rid of the Bennett jersey, and now... Proft: It's a...y'know...felt fedora that I've had for 25 years. My friend...thank you for asking...my friend I went to high school with, Graham Thompson, he runs Optimo Hats, it's...they've got a shop at 102nd and Western, and he's also got a shop at the Monadnock Building. Jacobson: The Ma-Knock-Knock...oh yeah! Proft: Next to Union Lake Park. Jacobson: So it's very high brow... Proft: You thought I was referring to the Alabama quarterback. It's very tough to keep them... Jacobson: Tua-ma-ga-wa-ma-ga-nah! Proft: So, he makes, like, fine hats! He makes hats for movies... Jacobson: Oh really? Proft: Yeah, he's a really good hat maker. Jacobson: Can I borrow it? Can I borrow...your hat? Proft: No. Jacobson: Uh! So rude. Can I SEE your hat? Proft: Yeah, we'll get to my hat...it's National School Choice Week! Jacobson: Oh that's right! Proft: I'm tryin' to stick on the topic here. We're tryin' to... Jacobson: We're in the throes of selective enrollment right now. Proft: ...oh, for Peyton and Eli? Jacobson: Well, for Eli. Peyton... Proft: Oh, right right. He's got a year. Jacobson: It's a little dicey. He likes Jones Prep, Whitney Young, and Lane Tech. Proft: Hmmm. Alright. Well, someone's gonna have to... Jacobson: And they all have ups and downs. Proft: And people think that school choice doesn't occur in the selective enrollment...you're gonna have to find somebody to...maybe write a big check to one of those schools' foundations... Jacobson: That's what makes me so sick... Proft: Or talk to one of the feudal lords in your...in your circle. Jacobson: Well yeah, and we live in Tier Four...well his dad lives in Tier Three, people that live in Tier Four, that are in Section 8 Housing, I mean, they're screwed. They have NO chance. They're going to their local high school. Proft: Thus the importance of K-12 scholarships! And thanks to a consortium of folks, we've talked about this at length when it happen, an interesting and broad coalition of supporters...he actually got tax credit scholarships passed in Illinois, talking about $100 million a year for the next five years...half a billion dollars, if the money is raised, that can go to provide scholarships for children who aren't wealthy, or aren't politically connected, but have the chops to have access to better schools so they can get a better education so they can chart a course for a better life, and that's a good thing. And one of the individuals who has been at the tip of the spear on this is Myles Mendoza. He is with Empower Illinois. And it's one thing to pass legislation..."Yay, we passed legislation!" Then comes the implementation phase, and that's not sexy... Jacobson: ...then comes the work. Proft: Yeah, and that doesn't generate headlines. But one of the component parts of getting this scholarship program up and running so people can donate and scholarships can be granted is to build these scholarship-granting organizations, that can accept the money...are potentially recognized as providers of scholarship funds, so parents know where to apply to get scholarship funds. And this is what Myles Mendoza...the infrastructure he has been building. Myles Mendoza, Empower Illinois, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Mendoza: Good morning, Dan. Good morning, Amy. Proft: Good morning. So just kind of give us the state of play. I know there's kind of a lot of technical details to putting all this together. But the Empower Illinois Scholarship Granting...Ombudsman, of some sorts, and this is where people should look if they want to donate, and this is where people should look if they want to apply for scholarships for their children? Mendoza: Correct. Dan, I would back up just a minute to the beginning part of the segment. You talked about the broad consortium of individuals that led to the passage of this law. Your listeners should all know that YOU were a big part of that consortium and everybody should be grateful... Proft: Well... Mendoza: ...to YOU for having this law in place. *As Mendoza is saying this, Jacobson is doing arm gestures like "Bow to the King" towards Proft* Proft: Well hold on a second, I want to give...I want to hear...I want to give Amy just a second to express her gratitude. Jacobson: I'm sorry, just...I very much appreciate the fine work you do, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Just like Oprah! Proft: Alright, moving on. We can continue now....yes! Jacobson: At the Golden Globes! Proft: Alright Myles, I'm sorry, go ahead. Mendoza: Okay, so you know, you're right, the implementation phase is now, that is the tough part. So, when the law passed, all the schools that were out there, whether they be in the "Tippy South" of Southern Illinois or Rockford, Chicago, you name it, they find themselves struggling with it, with the complications of all the compliance, cybersecurity, all the kind of things that go into this. And we all kind of banded together and created Empower Illinois. So Empower Illinois represents 85% of the schools statewide, and what it does essentially is it serves like a PayPal of scholarship granting. It allows all those schools to go ahead and raise money, under the compliance with the law, and then it also allows children to apply for those scholarships, either at their locations, or it allows them to apply at other places. Jacobson: Well, how many scholarships are available per school? And will there be scholarships available at, say, Walter Payton Prep, or Northside Prep, or at Lane Tech? Mendoza: Yes, I'm hearing about your struggle to get into selective enrollment schools, the great news for all those Section 8 kids you referred to...they now have a chance to extend that list. So no, the scholarship doesn't apply to Magnet schools, but it does apply to any qualified private school. So if you're recognized by the State of Illinois, a private school, you're participating in the program, that is now an option for all those kids. Proft: Oh and by the way, comparing it to PayPal as opposed to an Ombudsman is a much easier and better comparison. That's why Myles is in charge of Empower Illinois and not me. So for...$100 million is the annual cap, so where are we in the money raised, and how can people who, particularly in light of tax reform in a high-tax blue state like Illinois, what that's doing...people who want to maybe find some tax relief through philanthropic giving like to this tax-run scholarship program, where is it at and how can people get involved that they want to participate to help finance these scholarships? Mendoza: Right. There are two parts to this program; one is donating, the other is scholarships. So, for the donating, the best thing to do is to go to EmpowerIllinois.org, we have all the instructions and details, it's a little complicated, first you have to register with the Department of Revenue to become qualified to give, and then roughly ten days later, you get a code in the mail, and you enter that code back at Department of Revenue, you reserve a credit, and then you donate to EmpowerIllinois.org. The state has $100 million in credits, they're divvied up in five regions. Right now...and it's amazing, within days, we've raised $40 million...or pledged, $40 million in credits to the state out of that hundred. Proft: Wow, that's great. Mendoza: Empower Illinois is lucky to have $30 million of that. Proft: Wow...that's great. So, we're doing well! Jacobson: We're doing good, we're cookin'! Proft: They're picking it up and putting down, yeah! Mendoza: Moving fast! Proft: And so... Mendoza: And the... Proft: Oh, I'm sorry, go ahead. Just the...the scholarships piece of this. Mendoza: ...yeah, go...go ahead, Dan. Proft: No, no, I mean finish your thought that you were...the donating, and the scholarship granting, so talk about the scholarship granting. Mendoza: Yeah, when I...first there's one more word on the credits, because it's divvied up in five regions, it might LOOK like there's $60 million left...but Cook County only gets $50 million, and Cook County is moving the fastest. So those credits are going to be gone very very fast, even if the other regions of the state might take a little longer to get there. Jacobson: And is the process laborious? Because I remember applying for Pell Grants and everything...is it difficult? Mendoza: So we're working to make it as easy as possible, and each scholarship granting or decision has a different start time. For example, High Sight...it's HighSight.org, their application is available now for students. Ours goes available on the 24th of January, and parents just need to bring with proof of income, and some kind of verification of their identity, and address, residency. Proft: Remind us of the qualifications, of the income level qualifications and to kind of just generally speaking what the scholarship provides for those who qualify, so people can understand how much prospective tuition would be covered. Mendoza: Yeah, so it depends upon your household situation, but the roughest explanation is a family of four can earn up to $73K, the scholarships range depending upon your income or your special needs. But at baseline, for those at the lowest level, poverty...it can be up to $13K in the scholarship. If you're low income and Gifted, it can be 1.1x that amount. We also go up to $26K for students who have special education needs and have an IEP. *Individualized Education Program, not explained on air* Proft: So you're talking...yeah, I just want to emphasize this point, because I think sometimes people hear scholarships and think "Oh, it's gonna be a portion, I'm still gonna have to come up with cash that I don't know where I'm gonna get!" I mean, the scholarship levels you're talking about here are...you can send your kid to Ignatius! I mean... Mendoza: This is a game changer, yeah. We wanted to create a market, Dan. If it didn't do that, it wasn't worth it. Jacobson: Well...I don't know if I make too much money to apply! Proft: Well, the fact that CPS sent you a Link Card application would suggest you don't... Jacobson: Well that's just because my kids have a Hispanic last name! Proft: Yeah, I know I know, I'm kidding. So just in terms of kind of navigating this, if people go to the Empower Illinois website, is this kind of all laid out, so people can kind of...on the donor side, on the scholarship side, they can kind of figure out how to get to where they want to go? Mendoza: Yeah...there's really THREE sections, we really shouldn't forget about the third. If you're a school...or school leader...and you want to participate under the EmpowerIllinois.org Umbrella...you've gotta register your school to participate. Donors have a section, they can figure out how to make that donation. And then there's a section for students and parents to figure out how to apply. Proft: What about donor latitude, with respect to the program generally or the school specifically, how does that work? Mendoza: Yeah, there are two groups of donors. There are individual donors, and they can designate to the school of their choice, within their region, or if they want to donate to different regions, they can do that too, a little more complicated process. And then corporations make an undesignated donation. What that means is that they donate to a pot of money, any student to go to any school anywhere. So we're kind of covering both grounds. We want to make sure that we get the alma maters and the donors with allegiance to schools, but then we also cover the kids in the schools that don't have a historical donor base. Proft: And where does this go? The comparison I've made on this show recently is to what Florida has done, with a similar program over the course of the last 15 years or so, and you know, in terms of the outcome here...how many kids can be helped by these scholarships within the strictures of the passage that was signed into law last year, and frankly, and we've talked on this show, the positive results from Florida for those kids who have gotten such scholarships? Mendoza: Yeah so...I like to look at it, you know, in terms of kids. So, there are a lot of kids out there with unique needs. They might be bullied at a school and don't have a way out, and now they have a new option. They may have special education needs, and then resorted to having an attorney try to figure out how to get their educational option that they need, now they also have an option. So our goal is to make sure we hit all those kids. We have 15K scholarships that are available in Illinois TODAY. Just to look at Florida, Florida started off with a $50M program, that's half of where we are, and they got themselves up to where they are today, which is $650M program. But really it all depends upon schools locally taking ownership, becoming empowered to make this THEIR law, for parents to make this THEIR scholarship, and everybody working to make sure they fight for it. Proft: Yeah well, we're talking about tens of thousands of children and families that are going to be assisted in the process. Good stuff! Myles Mendoza, the boss over there at Empower Illinois...and the website again, Myles? Mendoza: EmpowerIllinois.org, and Dan, thank you one more time for all you did in getting this law to be a reality. Proft: My pleasure. Myles Mendoza, Empower Illinois, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Mendoza: Okay, thank you. Jacobson: I'm on the website right now! Proft: Application will be done by the end of the show! Jacobson: Yeah, we'll see how it goes...and Myles joined us on our Turnkey Dot Pro Answer Line.

Related Content

Successful After School Chess Program In Englewood

Although he’s no longer a member of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, Joseph Ocol has made tremendous strides for his students through his chess program. Not only are student test scores up at Earle STEM Academy in the southside Englewood neighborhood, but the school also has a near perfect attendance record. Ocol says, “My main goal is to make them better persons so that they can contribute to the world.” Joseph Ocol joins Dan and Amy to discuss the successes of his students and what resources they still need.

View full transcript


Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. So a couple years we took notice of the story of a teacher and chess coach, Joseph Ocol who teaches at the Earle STEM Academy in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side. And he started a chess program there, and for starting a chess program there he drew the ire of his fellow faculty members… Jacobson: Well, because they had a one-day...like a furlough day? And he didn’t take it, because he wanted to be with his kids. And he was expelled from the Union. Yeah, I don’t know if he’s back in, or out, or what’s going on. Proft: Targeted for elimination by Karen Lewis, and her friends there… Jacobson: Yeah, for not joining the one-day strike. Proft: The red-shirts, as they are. But Ocol has kept on, and continued coaching that chess team, and great effect. Back this Spring, the US Chess Federation Supernaturals...Super Nationals, excuse me, tournament in Nashville, largest chess tournament in history, hundreds of schools, 6000 students competing from around the country. Earle STEM Academy won THREE Super Nationals trophies, one team and two individual. One of his champions is as young as, I think, third grade. So it’s really an amazing story, an underreported story, I guess but he’s not locked up and walking with the Teachers’ Union, he’s focused on, I don’t know, teaching chess and imparting wisdom and intellectual curiosity and strategic thinking into kids, which I thought as a teacher is what you’re supposed to do, but anyway. But for more on where the chess team stands and where things are standing generally speaking at Earle STEM, we’re pleased to be joined once again by Joseph Ocol, Joseph thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Ocol: Hi, good morning Dan. Good morning, Amy. Good morning, Chicago. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to be on your station. Proft: So...oh, no. It’s a pleasure to circle back with you. So, I mentioned how well your team did at the tournament back in May. Tell us how things are going otherwise with the chess team, the program there at Earle STEM, and the kids. Ocol: We’re continuing with the program, in fact I have more kids this year and a lot of younger kids. I have Pre-K kids who have joined the chess team, I have kindergarten kids, I have a lot of younger kids this year. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to compete in the incoming national tournament, which would be next month, and I’m proud to say that our school has also become a Level-One school with almost perfect attendance, the number of our kids. Jacobson: Oh...almost makes me want to cry… Ocol: And last Saturday, our kids won three first-place trophies in the Chicago Latino Chess Championship at the Chicago Public Library, Lozano Branch. We just want to compete, I just want the kids to keep on competing, give them the chance to compete, we’re not seeking 4PP, though we would appreciate the opportunity, and for them to be able to shine, because give them the opportunity to shine, they will shine. Jacobson: Well, I know CPS is strapped for cash… Proft: *sarcastically* Oh, yeah! Jacobson: ...and it’s hard to have extracurricular activities… Proft: *still sarcastically* ...strapped for cash… Jacobson: ...so, how are you surviving? Do you have fundraisers, or is there a place that we can go to help you? Ocol: Yeah, we’re doing fundraising, and we welcome any opportunity for help. We’re not complaining, I’m not complaining, just want to do what I can do as a teacher. And with regard to the Union, I’m no longer a member of the Union, I was kicked out of the Union, but I have no regrets as long as I’ve done my part for the kids. Jacobson: So even years later, they wouldn’t let you back in the Union? Proft: Why would he even want to go back? Ocol: Well, I’m...I’m still not a member… Proft: *sarcastically* Yeah, and I’m sure you just miss them terribly. Ocol: Oh no I do...I do not. Proft: *laughing* Oh no, I know! I know you don’t! I got that. Jacobson: The thing is, do they still take your union dues? Ocol: Yes, they still take my union dues. Proft: Yeah, sure…*sarcastically* “their fair share”. For not… Jacobson: Only in Illinois… Proft: Well no… Jacobson: Hopefully not for much longer? Proft: Yeah, the Janis case next year may change that. But Joseph, how is the school in terms of supporting the kids in your program? Ocol: Oh, the school has been supportive, as well as Chicago Public Schools. I’m not complaining, I’m just doing what I can to campaign for funds to help the kids whatever way I can. Proft: And do you have any Gary Kasparov’s...any budding Gary Kasparov’s in your crew? Are we gonna see somebody, are we going to see some international chess master taking on...I don’t know, Big Blue or something? Ocol: I have a number of potentials, including Tamiya...Tamiya Folks. She’s our top player, but this is her last year. She’s being...she’s applying at Whitney Young, hoping she’ll be accepted, she’ll have to take the test anyway next month. But we’re trying to train some more kids. But my program also entails for graduates, those who are in high school, to come back and mentor other kids. And that’s what we’re trying to do, and I have six former Earle students, already in high school, they come every now and then to mentor other kids. Jacobson: How wonderful… Proft: How do you see other kids change through their participation in your chess program? Ocol: Big change. You know, first of all, 90% of our kids are below poverty level. So this Englewood, you know we’re trying to improve their concept and lives, and we try to get them to be in the school, after school, to see some other opportunities. So my goal and my mission is to make sure that they become productive citizens of the world, and that’s my main goal. It’s not about winning, it’s just to change them, to become better persons, to be able to contribute to the world… Jacobson: And it’s sad to say...it’s sad to say that they’re safer inside than being on the streets...correct? Ocol: Yes, yes. 4 to 6pm, that’s the time when we have the chess program, Monday...Monday to Friday. And Saturdays we compete, we try to compete, certain tournaments that don’t charge registration fees. Proft: Has this...has the success of your program there at Earle STEM spawned other schools to start chess programs? Ocol: I believe so. We have more schools now having chess programs, and we have more competitors now, welcome competitors. Because the kids would like to compete, and we like the opportunity to be able to compete. And not just at Englewood, not just in Chicago, not just in Illinois, but nationwide. Jacobson: And you said attendance is up? I mean, have more people enrolled and they’re staying in school and they want to be there because of the chess program? Ocol: I believe so because we just became...we’ve just become a Level One School. Our school has just become Level One. And one of the factors there is the attendance...the just about perfect attendance of our kids, as well as the high scores in their NWA. You know, chess gives one the chance to develop the critical thinking skills...that’s the least expensive of all activities, and yet it’s one of the most effective in the developing of critical thinking skills in kids. Proft: Well, don’t be afraid to tell your kids to sweep the leg, if they need to, in a tough match. He is Joseph Ocol, teacher, chess coach at Earle STEM Academy in Englewood, Joseph thanks...congratulations first of all for the success of your kids and that program there, it’s great to see what you’re doing for those kids and what they’re accomplishing under your tutelage, and continued success there. And we’ll continue to keep track of you and spread the word, so people can continue to support the program. Ocol: Thank you, Dan. I just want to take this opportunity also if there are computers...even if they are used computers, it would be a big help to us. Because we have a program now where the kids are able to compete online, it will save us also on travel cost… Proft: Computers...okay… Ocol: So we just want to request if there are donors for computers, it would be a big help to our...to our program. Proft: And if someone wants to make a donation for the acquisition of those computers or donate those computers...Earle STEM Academy, Joseph Ocol, O-C-O-L, is the chess coach...is there any other information you want to provide? Ocol: Umm, no. Just the players...will be competing next month, we hope to be competing next month in the national tournament...next month...and also this coming February there’s a state tournament. So we’re hoping to get some funding for the kids to compete. You know, just to give them the chance...for the opportunity to compete. And I know they will shine, just the opportunity to shine, and they will shine. Proft: Yeah. Jacobson: Well, bless you. Proft: I could, I mean look Joseph, I just recently acquired a 5th and 6th grade girls volleyball team, over at Blaine, so I’m in the market to do more acquisitions in other realms, and CPS, and maybe this will be one. So Joseph Ocol, thanks so much for joining us, continued success, congratulations on the success you’ve already achieved, as well as your kids. Appreciate it. Ocol: Thank you Dan. Thank you Amy. Thank you Chicago.

Related Content

How Northridge Prep Builds Young Leaders

Parents in Illinois are continuously looking for the best educational options for their kids. What schools provide the most both in the classroom and in terms of character development? Northridge Prepatory School in Niles prides itself on both. On this edition of Against the Current, Dan Proft talks to Northridge Headmaster Niall Fagan and Athletic Director Will Rey about how the school is working to build the next generation of male leaders. Specifically, they discuss the dynamics of an all-boys school, and how Northridge Prep differs from other private institutions. They also discuss Illinois' new tax credit scholarship program and how it might impact them.

RELATED CONTENT

School Choice Expands In Illinois

An education funding deal was finally reached in Springfield. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes discuss both the good and bad of the deal. The good comes in the form of a new tax credit scholarship program. Wirepoints' Mark Glennon and the Foundation for Excellence in Education's Adam Peshek join the analysis. Proft and Hughes also discuss the new Illinois Sanctuary State law and voters' reaction.
 

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

SEGMENT ONE

SEGMENT TWO

SEGMENT THREE

SEGMENT FOUR

SEGMENT FIVE

RELATED CONTENT

Misguided Hysteria & Priorities In Springfield

Instead of having substantive discussions on policy reforms, the media and politicians are in hysteria over a cartoon. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes critique the lack of attention being paid to important education funding issues in favor of focus on an Illinois Policy political cartoon. They also get an update on the negotiations in Springfield from state Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, the new House Republican floor leader. Proft and Hughes also discuss an immigration bill likely to become law in Illinois that would make the state a sanctuary state.

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

SEGMENT 1

SEGMENT 2

SEGMENT 3

SEGMENT 4

SEGMENT 5

RELATED CONTENT

The Truth About The Changes In Education Funding

What is "evidence-based" funding? That is the model of education funding in Senate Bill 1, the Democrats' education funding bill. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to Stanford Professor Eric Hanushek – a longtime expert and critic of the model – about what it does and how it has failed everywhere it has been implemented. Proft and Hughes also discuss new data on where Americans truly fall politically, and they talk to columnist Tom Rogan about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's lawsuit over Chicago's sanctuary city status.

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE

SEGMENT 1

SEGMENT 2

SEGMENT 3

SEGMENT 4

SEGMENT 5

RELATED CONTENT

The Cost Of A CPS Bailout

CPS owes three times more than the state will spend on public schools for all districts this year. Remember last month when suburban Democrats were pushing a massive tax hike as a solution to balance the budget? Well, under SB one, a significant portion of the new money from the thirty-two percent increase in your income taxes will go to bailout CPS.  If they have their way, Democrats will commit your hard-earned money to bailing out CSP – to the extent that it is even possible – for the next twenty to thirty years. Pat Hughes explains on this episode of Dollars and Sense. 

RELATED CONTENT

Fighting Cultural Colonization

Representative Jeanne Ives is taking heat for standing up to cultural bullies in our schools. Tiny Dancer sues the federal government for trying to make him follow federal law. Will Gov. Rauner follow suit and sign sanctuary state legislation? No action on K-12 school funding this week as IL Senate Democrats are out of town for the coronation of one of their own. Pope Francis calls it "terrible" that children are taught they can choose their gender. Don't tell Chicago Tribune's Kim Janssen who identifies as a "reporter." Dan & Amy covered education funding, sanctuary cities, and Illinois politics with State Representative Jeanne Ives.

RELATED CONTENT

Dems Have Been Using The Same Line Since 1979. How's It Working Out?

Governor Rauner has used his amendatory veto on Democrats' School Funding Bill. They say that Rauner and Republicans are hostile to Chicago schoolchildren. Has Democrat rhetoric on school-funding changed at all in the past 40 years? What's next for school funding legislation? If there is no possibility of a deal, is Speaker Madigan's next play to woo 4 Republicans to override the governor's veto? Illinois State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) joins Dan and Shaun Thompson to discuss. 

RELATED CONTENT

What's At Stake In Democrats' Education Funding Bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he will issue an amendatory veto to the Chicago Public Schools' bailout Democrats are proposing. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to Illinois Policy's Ted Dabrowski about the history of Springfield bailing out Chicago Public Schools, and how the new legislation would hurt school districts across the state. They also talk to a Republican legislative candidate who is stepping up to challenge a Chicago Democrat representative.

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE

SEGMENT 1

SEGMENT 2

SEGMENT 3

SEGMENT 4

SEGMENT 5

RELATED CONTENT

Madigan And Cullerton Manufacture A Crisis

Are House Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton trying to manufacture a crisis by not sending the school funding reform bill to the Governor? When the bill gets to his desk, what will be the result of Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto? What does the hold harmless provision do? Will tax credits be included in the school funding reform bill?  Dan and Amy discussed with State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Champaign).

RELATED CONTENT

A Scam On Top Of A Scam On Top Of A Scam

Governor Rauner appeared in Decatur to oppose legislation that will bailout Chicago Public Schools by redistributing money from suburban schools. Should we trust the politicians who are promising no school will lose money?  Is that ‘hold harmless’ provision a scam? Why isn’t anyone talking about our school systems’ results? Where do we go from here? Mark Batinick, State Representative for the 97th district joined Dan & Amy to discuss why the proposed school funding changes are “a scam on top of a scam on top of a scam.”

RELATED CONTENT

Democrats' CPS Bailout

Democrats got their income tax hike, but there is still major legislation to keep an eye on. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, about Democrats' proposed changes to the education funding formula - which would force downstate taxpayers to bailout Chicago Public Schools. They also discuss a new study showing Illinois' declining fiscal health, and labor unions' purchase of the Chicago Sun-Times.

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE

SEGMENT 1

SEGMENT 2

SEGMENT 3

SEGMENT 4

SEGMENT 5

RELATED CONTENT

Suburban Democrats Sell Out To Chicago Machine

If you live in the suburbs of Chicago, you are already paying the highest property taxes in the nation. And yet, State Representatives like Deb Conroy, Carol Sente, Mike Halpin, Marty Moylan, Natalie Manley and Stephanie Kifowit voted to send your schools’ state funding to bailout schools in Chicago. State Senators like Melinda Bush, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Laura Murphy, Tom Cullerton, Linda Holmes and Julie Morrison opted to defend Chicago’s Political Machine instead of your community.  In their view, it is a greater threat to their power to cross their party leaders than to cross you.  Pat Hughes explains in this edition of Two Minute Warning.

Related Content

Charter Schools Fight To Expand In Chicago

With political battles both in Springfield and between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, education reform in Chicago and Illinois is an uphill battle – and students and parents suffer. On this installment of Against the Current, Dan Proft explores the ins and outs of that uphill battle with Andrew Broy, the president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Broy explains the political hurdles charter schools need to jump over to expand in Chicago and across the state, while also detailing how they can provide better options for students and parents.

What can be done politically to offer more school choice in the state? How and why did Chicago become the first U.S. city to cap its number of charter schools? Proft and Broy discuss this and more in a detailed discussion on education reform and how to improve the status quo.

Related Content

A Manufactured Crisis?

CPS is threatening to close schools early because they've run out of money, despite the fact that the district spends 20% more per pupil than the state average. They've filed a lawsuit to get the money they say they need. Can Chicago taxpayers Follow the Logic?

Related Content

Betsy Devos' First 100 Days

Is the Supreme Court poised to strike a blow against Catholic-bigoted Blaine Amendments? Why did religious liberty have a good week at the Court? What is the status and outlook for federal education reform after Betsy Devos' first 100 days? Will we see a federal tax credit for scholarships for low-income students? Dan & Amy discuss with Rick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute & author of the new book: “Letters to a Young Education Reformer.”

Hess joined Dan for a recent episode of Against The Current where they offer more on these topics and the future of the school choice movement.

RELATED CONTENT

What Is The Future For School Choice? AEI's Rick Hess On Education Reform

What is the future for the school choice movement across the country? Dan Proft talks to Rick Hess, the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, about education reform efforts at both the federal and state levels.

What mistakes do we need to correct in education? And why aren't more politicians willing to own up to them? Proft and Hess take a deep look at both the good and bad in education policy over the last few decades.

Also, which states are the best models for school choice? Could anything be done at the federal level to expand school choice? Hess shares his thoughts on Betsy DeVos' confirmation to lead the Department of Education, too, and whether or not he thinks school choice advocates are winning the arguments they're trying to make.

RELATED CONTENT