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Illinois’ Next Governor J.B. Pritzker Faces 8 Education Issues, Starting With Funding

Steinmetz High School in northwest Chicago, where Emily Jade Aguilar graduated last year, had just four school counselors. In a school of more than 1,200 students, that simply wasn’t enough.

“We need more mental health resources in our schools,” said Aguilar, who spent Election Day knocking on doors with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, “to have at least a safe space for 15 or 30 minutes where I could let someone know what is going on.”

If Pritzker doesn’t deliver, Aguilar said, he’ll hear from her and other Chicago students. “I want to tell the governor he should be ready to pay attention to us,” she said.

Now that the victory speeches have ended and the confetti has been swept away, Pritzker faces a host of critical public education issues, from the mental health needs of students and teachers, to a dire educator shortage, to finding the funding required to help the state’s struggling districts.