Invest in Wrap-Around Services: Too many children in the 2nd Ward arrive to school at Nelson, Lincoln, Flinn, or East ill-prepared to learn due to malnutrition, a lack of physical or emotional well-being, among other issues. Let’s address the deepest issues of our most vulnerable children and once we do that, we will be able to see the true fruits of our education dollars for years to come.
End Charter Schools in Rockford: Unionized schools in RPS205 have been making great progress since the 1990s. Our city’s charter schools (Galapagos, Jackson, and Legacy), however, are underperforming relative to both RPS205 and to charter schools across the state. Mayor Morrissey’s plans to improve local education by increasing the amount of charters were both poor planning and poor public policy. As charter schools divert valuable resources from our good public schools, I will ensure our underperforming charter schools are either held to the same high standard as our unionized public schools or I will work to reconstitute schools with charters in Rockford. Let’s end the practice of privatization of public resources in our city.
Higher Education: Every year, our brightest teenagers leave Rockford for college and later find a career elsewhere, inducing a “brain drain” in our city. Let’s work to keep our intellectual talent right here in Rockford. It’s a big idea, but let’s work toward an affordable, public four-year university specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Rockford in the future. Coupled with the private liberal arts campus at Rockford University, a public STEM university would help keep our brightest citizens working in Rockford. It would also be another important anchor institution to our city and its development. If we can educate our local high school graduates in a growing STEM industry, our city would realize more jobs, better jobs, and a more resilient and diverse local economy, improving lifestyles for us all.