Something to think about before you vote

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By Rob Breymaier

Executive Director, Oak Park Regional Housing Center

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. You can go to the Journal's page describing all the candidates and make your decisions. But, I would like to suggest something to think about before voting – equity. I'm not saying it's the only issue. It is a critical issue though.

Whether for Village government or for school board, I hope you will take the time to think which candidates are most concerned about equity and are most likely to offer effective means to address it. In our community, we have a strong commitment to equity, fairness, and justice. No one is going to come out against these principles. But, how the candidates answer questions about equity tells us a lot about what they would do and if they have a reasonable chance of improving equity in the community.

Issues of equity in schools are fairly well known. The question I ask myself is, "Who among these candidates has the best understanding and ideas to ensure that every classroom will support the success of our children?" This is how I am determining who to vote for in District 200. In addition to making sure that our most challenging courses continue to prepare students for top–tier colleges, what will be done to improve other courses? Does the candidate propose that we widen OPRF offerings to promote courses for much needed middle-skills jobs that are currently under-filled despite high unemployment? Does the candidate support targeted tutoring and mentoring for students that are below grade level or at-risk? Does the candidate have ideas about how to promote more integrated settings in the high school so that kids of different races, incomes, and skills can find ways to learn from and support each other?

At Village Hall, I view equity as priorities. Does the candidate want to represent the entire village or a specific interest? Will the person you vote for work comprehensively or narrowly? Will the candidate focus on much-needed development on Madison Street, the Arts District, Chicago and Austin, Lake and Austin where economic development will have tremendous multiplier effects on the community? Will the new candidate lead with the ability to stand up to the inevitable criticism that is the norm of a hyper-educated population? Does the candidate have an appreciation for how the Village collaborates with other entities including non-profits, other governments, and businesses to improve the quality of life in the community?

Overall, we're lucky to live in a fantastic community. As I say often, we're not perfect but we are better off than just about anywhere else. But, we need to make sure the opportunities we have here are available to and enjoyed by everyone. On Tuesday, I hope you'll vote for the people you think will do the most to ensure opportunity and promote equity in our community.

Reader Comments

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Also a Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2013 2:04 PM

@ Resident: Since voters for D200 Board do reside in OP (or RF), let's assume that kids who reside in OP (or RF) are indeed those to which Rob Breymeier refers when he says "our children." The board's policies may happen to benefit a few kids along the way whose folks have snuck them into OPRF while residing in elsewhere, but the thing to do about that is to continue to enforce the residency requirement; it won't affect the soundness or validity of other types of policy.

Resident  

Posted: April 5th, 2013 7:59 AM

The question I ask myself is, "Who among these candidates has the best understanding and ideas to ensure that every classroom will support the success of the children who legitimately reside in Oak Park?".

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