Getting Past Obama’s Partisanship: Illinois Goes Pro Student, Pro Education
Contrary to all the obituaries, hope and change and a new spirit of bipartisanship are alive and well in Barack Obama’s America. Just not in Washington.
In the state legislature of post-Obama Illinois, a largely white Republican Party is joining forces with reform-minded African-American and Latino Democrats. Together they are challenging two establishments: machine Democrats backed by teachers unions, and suburban and downstate Republicans mostly indifferent to inner-city issues.
The vehicle is an educational voucher bill that needs only the approval of the full Illinois house to land on the governor’s desk. Introduced by the Rev. James Meeks—a powerful Democratic state senator who has also been one of Mr. Obama’s spiritual advisers—the bill provides a voucher of up to $4,000 for as many as 22,000 elementary students now languishing in the worst Chicago public schools. The voucher will give them the opportunity to attend the private school of their choice. The state Senate passed the measure last month, and last week the leadership-dominated House Executive Committee approved it by a vote of 10 to 1.
image Hotel Florence in Pullman