(Chicago, Illinois) – November 18, 2009. On Monday, Illinois 2010 Republican primary governor candidate Dan Proft and Rev. James Meeks, a Democrat State Senator and Chairman of the Illinois Senate Education Committee, met to talk education.
Proft and Meeks met at the administrative offices of the 20,000 member Salem Baptist Church in Roseland to discuss their mutual interest in “rethinking and reordering K-12 education” in failing school districts in Illinois, beginning with the City of Chicago.
After their discussion, Meeks and Proft released a detailed, lengthy joint statement, likely read eagerly by Mayor Richard Daley‘s office.
In a press release, Proft cited the experience of a bi-partisan, bi-racial coalition in Wisconsin that had addressed education reform in our northern neighbor, and suggested his meeting with Meeks represented a harbinger of Illinois’ future.
“Twenty years ago in Wisconsin it was a white, conservative Republican Governor named Tommy Thompson and [a] black female Democrat state legislator from Milwaukee named Polly Williams who came together to provide the necessary teamwork to bring school choice to Milwaukee. Tens of thousands of children in Milwaukee have received a better education in the intervening two decades because of that teamwork.”
And, of course, the politics of the meeting are equally ambitious.