Renewed Call For School Funding

Download data findings released at the forum: (Reporter findings, Catalyst findings, PowerPoint presentation)

Illinois lawmakers and advocates said the Illinois General Assembly must increase the state income tax to fund public schools after new data released on Sept. 18 showed statewide education funding gaps greater than what officials once believed. “I don’t think that this issue is going to be solved unless we do something drastic,” state Sen. James Meeks said during a panel discussion attended by more than 150 people at the Union League Club of Chicago. Panelists said they support what Senate Bill 2288 purports to do–”to increase the personal income tax by up to 5 percent, in order to raise base-level funding for districts with low property tax revenues. Earlier this month, Meeks led a Chicago Public Schools boycott to bring attention to the inequities and during the panel discussion promised to protest again–”this time during a Chicago Cubs playoff game.

More Gun Violence Afflicts Black Communities

The news:

The Illinois State Rifle Association sued the City of Chicago in June to end the city’s gun ban after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law forbidding handgun possession in Washington, D.C.

Behind the news:

African Americans in Illinois were 4.5 times as likely as white people and nearly three times as likely as Latinos to die a violence-related firearm death between 2000 and 2005, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun violence killed more than 24 African Americans per 100,000 during this period, compared to more than five white people. Latinos died at a rate of about 8.4 per 100,000. No single factor causes this disparity, said John Hagedorn, professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But he pointed out that a sense of resentment–”toward the police, authority and society as a whole–”can lead to violent resolutions to many disputes, and this might be contributing to the high rates of gun violence among African Americans.