I’m currently the president of the Indian Prairie Education Association, the district I grew up in. When I first went to college, I went to school as a business major, but I couldn’t see myself working in the business world. Eventually I realized I was put on this earth to be a teacher. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life to educating our children, first teaching 3rd graders for 10 years, then 5th graders for four, and now as president of the IPEA. I started with 28 kids. Now I’m responsible for 28,000.
Bruce Rauner’s failed policies have had a great deal of impact on my district. Other districts in the area take in almost 2.5 times more than we do, and we’ve had to really cut down on our already tight budget. When we make the cuts, the School Board tries to trim the fat and keep cuts out of the classroom, but our district doesn’t have fat left. It’s the critical programs that are suffering. We have some of the highest class sizes in the state and I’ve seen a massive increase in the extra social and emotional issues students need help with. But things aren’t getting any better. We don’t know how much money we’re getting year to year. Bruce Rauner says he understands what us and our children are going through, but it’s just lip service.
I’m with JB because he understands the needs of our school districts and our teachers. He actively listens to teachers and values the important work we do. JB is going to make sure schools get properly funded at the state level instead of forcing us to rely on property taxes. And he knows that school isn’t just about test scores, it’s about real human beings with social and emotional needs. Kids can’t learn if they’re hungry, they can’t learn if they don’t have a roof over their head. His work advocating for school breakfast programs shows me he gets that. He’s going to fight the systemic issues that our teachers have to deal with every day, and make sure our kids get the support they need to thrive in school.