The Archdiocese of Chicago has the largest number of Catholic schools in the country at 258.  Chicago is also home to a struggling public school system,  with high school graduation rates around 50% and recent cases of disturbing violence.  Wouldn’t it be exciting if low income kids in Chicago could go to high quality private schools of their choice?  Wouldn’t it be great for this juggernaut of an Archdiocesan Catholic School system?

Well, here’s an important step in the right direction.

Sen. James Meeks, chairman of the state Senate Education Committee, Democrat, Baptist minister and Chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, is calling for an Illinois School Choice Program in Senate Bill 2494.

Here are two articles in the Southtown Star covering this development.

Meeks open to school vouchers

Meeks backs vouchers for worst schools

Its too bad Mayor Daley is passing on the opportunity to get behind this reform, when, as the Sun Times reports, he once advocated for vouchers as part of the solution.

In 1991, the mayor used his second inaugural address as a platform to push the idea of school vouchers to “break the stranglehold of bureaucracy and politics” at a Board of Education standing “in the way of change.”

We’ll see if the Democratic sponsorship on this will be enough to get it through the Democratically controlled House and Senate.