Chris Kennedy believes that education is critical to the future of our state. He believes we should benchmark ourselves against other states and identify what we want to achieve here in Illinois – a growing economy, shrinking government burdens, and generate great outcomes for every citizen. In all of these areas, the foundation for success comes from providing everyone with a great education. Education is the key to preparing all citizens with the chance to become economically self-sufficient and have full access to the American Dream.
Chris believes that the foundation for a strong, continuous education pipeline from cradle to career is a fairly funded public education system. But in Illinois, the state is not paying its fair share for public education, which is perpetuating educational inequality and causing a strain on working families through soaring property taxes used to fund our schools. He will improve upon the yearslong work of many state legislators and stakeholders to bring Illinois’ public school students more equitable funding by increasing the state’s investment in public education, particularly for our school and students in our low-income rural communities and communities of color.
Chris will establish an Illinois Promise Program, learning from the work of states like Tennessee, Oregon, Minnesota, New York and Kentucky, to provide a minimum of two-years of tuition and fees for low- to middle-income students who are eligible to attain a degree or credential at a community college or trade school in Illinois. He will also work with our public institutions to incentivize transitioning merit-based aid to tuition based aid, and expand upon the success of our Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant student assistance program.
Chris will build a stronger public education system that creates a cycle of opportunity for every student. His full plan for education will include: creating more equitable access to prenatal care; providing healthy food and nutrition for mothers and babies; supporting paid family leave and incentivizing affordable childcare services; moving the state toward full access to early childhood education; increasing state aid for more fairly funded K-12 public school system; and reinvesting in our higher education students and public institutions to revitalize our economy.