Investing in our public schools is the best way we can prepare the next generation of students to compete in the 21st-century economy. But Illinois’ education funding system is broken. Since 2009, we’ve lost $1.4 billion in pre-kindergarten, elementary, and high school education funding.
Christian has consistently advocated increased state funding for schools, and particularly districts with large numbers of low-income students. He was a strong supporter of education funding reforms passed by the General Assembly in 2017, which increased state funding for education by $350 million – including $60 million for Chicago Public Schools.
Christian is also passionate about improving funding for higher education. Colleges and universities serve as anchor institutions in communities by attracting new residents, providing employees for local businesses, and supporting local shops and restaurants. In his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Economic Opportunity, Christian toured the state's universities during the 2015-2017 budget impasse bringing attention to the economic importance of higher education to communities all across the state.
To improve education in Illinois, Christian is pushing legislation to:
Fund Education First
Christian’s bill (HB 4272) would provide an additional $200 million to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) immediately and over $1 billion in long-term relief — without increasing property taxes. The bill would also prevent any future cuts to education and provide taxpayers with increased transparency to ensure our education dollars are actually making it to our local schools.
Establish a Democratically Elected School Board for Chicago Public Schools
Christian believes the public should have more say in the decisions made by CPS, and that is why he is a co-sponsor of a bill to make the CPS board democratically elected.
Add a 3% Surcharge on Millionaires to Increase Education Funding
This bill (HJRCA 33) would impose a 3% tax on personal income over $1 million, which would bring in over $1 billion in additional funding for our local schools.
Increase Standards of Accountability for Charter Schools
Christian wants all of our schools to be held to high-quality standards. That’s why he drafted legislation that would require performance frameworks and increase accountability for charter schools.
Provide Illinois teachers with a living wage
State law sets the minimum salary for teachers with a master’s degree at $11,000 — well below the poverty line. Because of this, Illinois is losing experienced teachers who are the backbone of our education system. Christian worked with State Senator Andy Manar to pass SB 2892 which would set the minimum salary for a teacher in Illinois at $32,076 in 2019 and progressively raise the minimum to $40,000 by 2022, ensuring that teacher salaries keep up with the cost of living in the future. In May of 2018, the bill passed with bipartisan support but in August of 2018 Governor Rauner vetoed the bill.