Leveling the education playing field in the South Suburbs
March 13, 2017: Wynell Verrett-Butler, a great-grandmother and resident of Dixmoor, is a dynamic force in the fight for a fair education system in Illinois. Of the roughly 3,600 people who live in Dixmoor, a south suburb of Chicago, 86 percent of students are low-income, 23 percent are English learners and 15 percent have disabilities. In 1986, Butler became involved with the inception of what would later be an influential agency for improving social issues in the South Suburbs – the South Suburban Action Conference (SSAC).
By Anna Schneider
South Suburban Action Conference (SSAC), a coalition member of Funding Illinois’ Future since 2014, brings together grassroots organizations to have a major voice in shaping the futures for the people of their communities. Over the last 31 years, its accomplishments have been vast, unprecedented and nationally recognized, including winning improvements to housing and economic development, addressing drugs and public safety, advancing civil rights of immigrants and expanding access to health care.
“School funding is our number one priority right now,” said Wynell Butler, Vice President of SSAC. “In order to give all children an equitable education, the system will have to level the playing field.”
Wynell Butler says that despite progress in education reform, Chicago’s South Suburban schools are still inadequate and inequitable and Illinois’ broken education funding system is making matters worse. She is determined to give an equitable education experience to not only her 11 grandchildren, but to all children being shortchanged by the state’s outdated funding formula.