Rep. La Shawn K. Ford.

Illinois school bells are about to ring for our children to put summer fun to rest and return to the classroom to continue their education.

I am afraid that the opportunities for a quality education will not be equal for every child, especially for the students on the West Side of Chicago.    

Article X of our state’s Constitution provides for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services, but time and time again, schools in low-income communities are strapped for resources and are labeled underperforming. This ongoing inequality of education resources is a human rights violation that needs to be investigated immediately.

The Illinois Human Rights Commission helps to enforce the Illinois Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on sex, age, race, color, religion, arrest record, marital status, handicap, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, unfavorable military discharge, retaliation, sexual harassment and sexual orientation. They are responsible for making impartial determinations of whether there has been unlawful discrimination.

The West Side is clearly at a disadvantage in our education system, and we need to be responsive to the needs of our students when they return to school this year.

The mission of the Human Rights Commission is to establish and promote equal opportunity for all residents in Illinois, which includes the West Side of Chicago.

We need to take a closer look at the discrimination in our schools so we can develop a clear understanding of the challenges faced by students and teachers on the West Side of Chicago.

I am calling on the Illinois Human Rights Commission to conduct an investigation on the education services provided to the families on the West Side of Chicago.

If we want to end the violence on the West Side, we must improve the delivery of the quality of education provided to the students.  Then, we can be assured that both the unemployment rate and the crime rate will go down.

Rep. La Shawn K. Ford represents the state’s 8th district in the Illinois General Assembly.