Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal featured the Illinois Policy Institute's recent efforts to advance a voucher program for students in Chicago's struggling public schools along with State Senator Reverend James Meeks:
'The voucher movement seems to have been born, or seems to have been started as a Republican idea. That's the way Democrats look at it. That's the way black lawmakers look at it. This is a Republican idea. This is what the Republicans want to push on us. . . . We don't seem to see public schools not working in your area."
The speaker was the Rev. James Meeks, explaining black resistance to vouchers. The venue was a sold-out lunch put on by the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI). The result? Something new in Windy City politics: a powerful black Democrat reaching out to a free-market think tank to force reform on the city's most hidebound institution—the Chicago public schools.
As my colleague Collin Hitt wrote in the Southtown Star:
Meeks is pursuing a voucher program that would allow thousands of impoverished families a choice of schools. This new power for parents promises that many children can enroll in schools that are better able to meet their needs. It promises that surrounding public schools will improve, and it promises that everyone in Illinois, as taxpayers, will benefit.
For more on the work we're doing at the Institute to advance liberty in Illinois and beyond, check out www.IllinoisPolicy.org