In 2017, as a result of a backroom deal between then Governor Rauner, legislative leaders and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the IL General Assembly created a K-12 voucher program for Illinois in the form of a tax credit scholarship scheme. Known as the Invest in Kids Act, the law allows up to $75 million in tax revenue to be diverted to private schools each year.
This program was intended to last for five years and to sunset after the 2022-2023 school year. It has been extended for one additional school year already, and some supporters of private and religious schools want it to be made permanent and expand!
Illinois Families for Public Schools opposes extending or expanding this voucher program. Vouchers harm the public good in a variety of ways including by diverting public dollars from our already underfunded Illinois public schools, and research has shown that they do not improve academic outcomes for children who receive vouchers. Voucher schools in Illinois discriminate on the basis of religion, disability status, LGBTQ+ status and more---that's not what education equity looks like.
Public funds should be for public schools that serve all children. It should be "game over" for IL's voucher program—we need to ensure that the Invest in Kids Act sunsets as intended after this school year! Use this link to email your state rep and state senator a letter urging them to oppose any extension or expansion of Invest in Kids.
Learn more about the problems with the Invest in Kids voucher program:
- Slideshow: Illinois' Backdoor Voucher Program (Recording available here)
- FAQ Explainer: Invest In Kids Act: What you need to know to about IL's voucher program
- One-pager for legislators: Sunset the ‘Invest in Kids’ Act
- Vouchers fund discrimination: See a list of examples here.
- Who Supports Illinois’ Invest in Kids Voucher Program?
- Illinois’ Invest in Kids Act voucher program and the separation of church and state: Why it matters
- Voucher Expansion Elsewhere in the Midwest
You can email your state rep and state senator asking them to end the Invest in Kids voucher program using this form.
✶ More Resources
- Public Funds Public Schools Voucher and Funding Diversion Legal Cases
- National Coalition for Public Education Opposing Private School Vouchers: A Toolkit for Legislators and Advocates
- IL Dept of Revenue: Invest In Kids site
- Center for American Progress (May 2019) The Danger Private School Voucher Programs Pose to Civil Rights
- Network for Public Education's Privatization Toolkit
✶ Get Involved
Are you interested in helping us ensure that Illinois' voucher program ends? Sign up below to get updates about the campaign and opportunities to get involved!
We are happy to do presentations for your neighborhood or community group to explain IL's voucher program and why it needs to end. Email us to schedule a time.
If you represent an organization that would like to collaborate with IL-FPS on this campaign, please get in touch via email [email protected]
The following organizations have endorsed ending the Invest in Kids voucher program:
Access Living ● ACLU of Illinois ● Action Ridge ● Activate Chicago Parents ● AFT Local 604 ● American Association of University Women Illinois ● American Association of University Women Naperville Area ● Americans United for the Separation of Church and State ● Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago ● BG Pride ● Brighton Park Neighborhood Council ● Center for Tax and Budget Accountability ● Chicago Coalition for the Homeless ● Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights ● Chicago Teachers Union ● COFI ● ED-RED ● Equality Illinois ● Families 4 Students and Teachers ● 50th Ward Working Families ● 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice ● Healing to Action ● Illinois Education Association ● Illinois Families for Public Schools ● Illinois Federation of Teachers ● Illinois High School District Organization ● Illinois National Organization for Women ● Illinois Parent Teacher Association ● Indivisible Chicago ● Indivisible Evanston ● Indivisible Lincoln Square ● JCUA ● Journey for Justice Alliance ● League of Women Voters of Illinois ● Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois ● Legal Council for Health Justice ● LEND ● Library Defense ● National Association of Social Workers - IL Chapter ● Network for Public Education ● Network 49 ● Northside Action for Justice ● PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois ● Pilsen Alliance ● POWER-PAC IL ● Public Funds Public Schools ● Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education ● SCOPE ● Teach Plus ● 39th Ward Neighbors United ● 33rd Ward Working Families ● Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois ● United Northwest Side