11/25/2014 03:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Illinois Must Use the Lessons of Ferguson to Build a Better State

Back in September, Peter Creticos of the Institute for Work and the Economy wrote a thoughtful and provocative piece in the aftermath of the first spate of rioting in Ferguson, Mo. It's even more relevant today: "Ferguson is a not just about a white police officer and a young African American man. It is also about a greater fear that grips us over what the future holds for all Americans."

Creticos writes:

In the meantime, we need to support the growth of jobs that pay living wages and that act as transitions to higher-skilled, middle-wage paying permanent jobs as they emerge and grow. Our immediate economic development strategies should be guided by strong moral and wealth creation principles and not simply by quick wins. Entry-level jobs need to truly be transitional opportunities and not dead-ends as many are now discovering.

See more of Creticos' thoughts on race and the economy at Reboot Illinois.

The perils of inequality that plague Illinois are not only racially distinct. There also remains a divide among school children in Illinois' wealthier communities and its poorer school districts. With Senate Bill 16, some lawmakers want to attempt to rectify that, but not all of them think SB16's proposals of redistributing money is a good idea. Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek recalls similar conversations and stereotyping happening around school funding reform conversations in the 1990s.

But it's time to end the class warfare. It's time to set aside the old regional differences and stereotypes. Providing a fair, base level of funding for all public school children is what we decided was best generations ago. It's one of government's most critical missions. And it's a smart investment.

Read more about her thoughts on education funding reform at Reboot Illinois.