In late January the Archdiocese of Chicago announced the closing of two schools and blamed the closings on the end of the Invest in Kids program. The Diocese of Belleville also announced two school closings, also attributing the end of Invest in Kids as a factor in the decision. The Diocese of Joliet also announced a school closure and a school consolidation last month and attributed the closure to the end of the voucher program. Below we take a closer look at Catholic school enrollment (and what little is known about their finances) to evaluate these claims.Read more
The Illinois General Assembly left Springfield at the end of Veto Session without taking a vote to extend the program beyond its current sunset date, and the program will begin to sunset on Dec. 31, 2023. This was a huge organizing win for public schools in Illinois and a major victory in the national fight to rollback privatization of the public school system.Read more
Today, the Illinois House adjourned until January 16, 2024 without passing an extension to the Invest in Kids Act. The provisions of the Act begin expiring on January 1, 2024.
This is a huge win for public schools in Illinois. It is also a win for the principle of the separation of church and state and for ensuring public dollars are not used to violate civil rights and are spent with the oversight, transparency and accountability that public spending should require. Public funds must be for public schools that serve all kids.Read more
Since 2018, more than $250 million has been diverted from Illinois' General Revenue Fund and sent to private, almost all religious schools under the Invest in Kids Act. Last school year 478 schools enrolled more than 9,600 voucher recipients. Unlike public schools, private schools receiving Invest in Kids funds have little oversight, transparency or accountability for the funds they are receiving and do not have to follow most of the same laws and regulations that cover public schools. Here are three case studies of Illinois private schools getting Invest in Kids funding that take a closer look at the problems with using public funds for private schools.Read more
Private schools in the 8th Senate District enrolled about 1,300 voucher students last year. Public schools enrolled more than 22,000 students, and 13,739 of those were in underfunded schools.
So, state legislators in the 8th Senate District and 15th and 16th House Districts are representing many families of students receiving vouchers but also at least ten times as many families of students that attend underfunded public schools. Public schools in the 8th District are short more than $47 million in state funding each year ($11M in House 16, $36M in House 15.)Read more
Why are Charles Koch & his rightwing billionaire friends trying to “save” Illinois’ voucher program?
A group founded and funded by the far-right billionaire Koch brothers, Americans For Prosperity, is making a new push in Illinois to stop the Invest in Kids voucher program from sunsetting. We're not taking it lightly, and neither should our General Assembly and Governor.Read more
The Human Rights Campaign has declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in response to the alarming surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the country.
Tonight, the HRC Steering Committee of Chicago is holding a town hall in Lake View at 6pm to discuss how to ensure Illinois remains a safe haven for all in the midst of this emergency. (Details and registration here.)
State Representative Kevin Olickal is on the panel and that raises a big question.Read more
Last week, voucher supporters, including Empower IL—the largest of the middlemen orgs that process vouchers and skim millions of taxpayer dollars off the top as they do so—launched a public relations campaign to “save” the Invest in Kids voucher program from sunsetting. Unfortunately, their PR push is rife with misinformation.
Here’s some facts you need to know about the program that voucher cheerleaders aren’t sharing:Read more
This fall's Veto Session in Springfield will be pivotal for the fate of the Illinois' K-12 school voucher program (aka "Invest in Kids"). The Illinois General Assembly must vote before the end of the calendar year if the program is to extend past its current sunset date. Veto Session begins October 24th, so this is the time that public school supporters need to mobilize and spread the word to neighbors, colleagues, family and friends about why privatizing our public system is wrong and why they need to contact their legislators about ending Illinois' voucher program. Here's a way to do that!Read more
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a month for celebration and remembrance of the struggle for equality and liberation. In the current political environment, wins and progress over the past half century cannot be taken for granted.
Across the country the civil rights of LGBTQ+ children, youth and adults are under attack and being stripped away, including the most basic rights to be seen, be included and be safe in one’s community. As we’ve seen in just the last year, we aren’t immune to anti-LGBTQ+ hate, harassment and even violence in Illinois—whether it's at a school, a bakery, a hospital or a library.Read more