Since moving to Illinois in 1958, I’ve been following Chicago schools.
The first reason was because Benjamin Willis, my mother’s Queen Anne’s County School Superintendent, was then in charge of the Chicago Schools.
Those were the days when trailers were brought in to house students in overflowing schools.
Critics named them “Willis Wagons.”
Over the years the school system always seem to be serving the poor poorly.
While I was in Springfield during the 1970’s, one could almost count on a request to bail out the schools by sending an extra $20 to $40 million.
Mayor Daley even came down once for a Committee of the Whole.
If the educational situation has improved over the decades, it’s hard to notice.
(Hard to believe that electing the Chicago School Board will make any difference other than giving the teachers union total control of everything.)
So, when the Rev. and State Senator James Meeks came up with a bill to help poor kids in Chicago by giving them vouchers and even got it passed over to the Illinois House, I was optimistic that Illinois might finally on the way to improving Chicago kids chances of getting a decent education significantly.
As a bonus, the program, according to calculations by then-Huntley School Board member Larry Snow, would save taxpayers about $280 million a year.
A “no-brainer,” wouldn’t you think?
But with sixty votes needed to pass the House, the bill came up 12 votes short.
Jack Franks was one of those voting, “No.”
Republicans in the suburbs were willing to help inner city kids, but McHenry County’s Democrat was not.
He was representing the Chicago Teachers Union, which was adamantly opposed to the program to allow kids’ parents to pick the school of their choice.
How liberals can condone his “No” vote, which would have saved the state $280 million a year, is beyond me.
After you look at the campaign contributions that Jack Franks has received through 2009, you might want to ask him why he voted to poor mainly black and brown students in the Chicago school system to a continuing subpar education when he could have done something about it that would have saved $200 million a year and not hurt anyone in his legislative district.
So, maybe getting Jack Franks out of the Illinois House would be a good thing.
The problem is that he has not withdrawn his candidacy for his tenth term.
Sunday, May 15th, Gonigam reported this about Franks not running for both offices:
“Franks qualified that saying he’d give up the Rep. race if the Committee can pick another candidate who’s both ‘electable’ and holds a political outlook consistent with his own.”
Has Jack Franks filed a Withdrawal of Candidacy statement yet?
Check whether Franks has filed the form yet, by clicking here.