Improving Education

As I taught elementary school social studies in the Chicago Public Schools for 6 years at Bridge Elementary, and was a teacher’s aide at elementary schools in the Austin community as I worked my way through college, I know that education is the key to future success and a strong economy. We must work to expand educational opportunities for all students in Illinois and throughout the nation. The future of our country depends on the education we provide to our children today, and we must invest in them.  I support better early education programs; support for our teachers and parents; lowering the mandatory school age for our children; school choice for all families, which includes charter schools and stronger traditional public schools; and determining the best governance structure to make our schools the best that they can be. – State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford

From Article X of our Illinois State Constitution:

SECTION 1. GOAL – FREE SCHOOLS A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities. The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free. There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law. The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 2. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION – CHIEF STATE EDUCATIONAL OFFICER (a) There is created a State Board of Education to be elected or selected on a regional basis. The number of members, their qualifications, terms of office and manner of election or selection shall be provided by law. The Board, except as limited by law, may establish goals, determine policies, provide for planning and evaluating education programs and recommend financing. The Board shall have such other duties and powers as provided by law. (b) The State Board of Education shall appoint a chief state educational officer. (Source: Illinois Constitution.) SECTION 3. PUBLIC FUNDS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES FORBIDDEN Neither the General Assembly nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money, or other personal property ever be made by the State, or any such public corporation, to any church, or for any sectarian purpose. (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

2014 11 22_33222014 11 22_3297Ascension Group Sec. of State White, Rep. Ford2014 10 25_3188

Rep. Ford with StudentsFord with Students2014 08 27_2946Ford Requests Funding Austin High AWN


Supporting Paul Simon Job Corps Center


Fighting for a Comprehensive Public High School in Austin

  • Introduced idea in Austin Weekly News to locate new high school at Brach’s location at Lake and Cicero, May 31, 2006, and June 1, 2006 and September 6, 2007
  • Working with Austin Community Education Network for a new high school, was Keynote Speaker at the Austin Education Summit at Austin Town Hall, October 27, 2007
  • Initiated efforts to place a referendum on the ballot urging the construction of a new comprehensive Austin High School

Improving the Quality of Education

  • Introduced and passed House Resolution 0056 (96th GA) urging the State Board of Education to establish a comprehensive plan to close the student achievement gap by the 2010-2011 school year
  • Chief House Sponsor of legislation that became law authorizing school districts to purchase electronic textbooks, instructional materials, and the technological equipment necessary to support the use of electronic textbooks from publishers and manufacturers (Public Act 96-1403)
  • Introduced legislation that became law that provides for a remedial summer school program emphasizing reading and mathematics for students performing below grade level for two consecutive years (Public Act 097-0086)

Increasing Access to Early Childhood Education

  • Chief House Sponsor of legislation that became law lowering the compulsory school age to 6 years, from 7 (Public Act 98-0544)

Improving Governance of Schools

  • Hosted three Town Hall Meetings in 2012 to hear community views on whether the Chicago Public Schools School Board should be elected
  • Introduced and passed legislation that became law which establishes a Chicago Educational Governance Task Force to study whether an elected Chicago Public Schools School Board would be the best structure of governance (Public Act 098-1053)
  • Introduced bill in 97th GA to give merit pay to elected Local School Council members – did not advance

Increasing Fairness in Education

  • Introduced legislation directing the State Board of Education to examine the impact and effectiveness of standardized testing (HB3163, 98th GA) – passed the House, now in the Senate
  • Introduced legislation to assist victims of domestic or sexual violence complete their secondary school education (HB 2213, 98th GA)– passed the House, now in the Senate
  • Introduced legislation establishing that certain lottery sales monies are redistributed to school districts based on the district’s percentage of lottery sales (HB82, 98th GA)
  • Introduced legislation directing the State Board of Education to establish a standard student expulsion policy (HB2880, 98th GA)

Hosting Town Hall Meetings on Issues in Education

  • Hosted Town Hall meeting on Early Childhood Education in Berwyn
  • Held Hearings of State of Illinois House of Representatives Sub-committee on Education in the Eighth District to improve education in the Eighth District – Chicago and Oak Park
  • Chair of Subcommittee Hearing of the House Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee at Bethel New Life
  • Sponsor of Education Summits in Austin and Oak Park to discuss education improvement and funding
  • Hosted public hearing on Renaissance 2010 at previous Austin High School
  • Co-hosted Truancy Town Hall Meeting, April 2013

Promoting Opportunities for Students and Personal Civic Engagement

  • Hosted more than 500 middle school students at Malcolm X College on February 1 to kick off Black History Month in a program called “College is an Option”, to learn about programs at the City Colleges of Chicago, 2011 and 2012
  • Principal for a Day at Spencer Math and Science Academy and at George Rogers Clark Elementary School
  • Commencement Speaker, Michele Clark Academic Prep. High School
  • Commencement Speaker, Paul Simon Job Corps Center, and Supporting Paul Simon Job Corps Center
  • Visited medical school in Cuba, September 2011
  • Visited secondary schools in the United Kingdom, July 2012
  • Previous Member, Board of Directors, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory High School, Austin
  • Elected as Community Representative on the Local School Council (LSC) of George Rogers Clark Elementary School in the South Austin Community, 2014


Education Events