May 19th has come…and gone, but the General Assembly has not adjourned to end the spring session There’s no budget for FY 2024 yet, and we don’t yet know whether the Invest in Kids voucher program will be extended past the current sunset date.
Legislators will be back in Springfield next Wednesday. The real hard deadline to pass bills is May 31st, after which bills need a ⅗ majority to pass.Read more
Illinois Families for Public Schools, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the League of Women Voters of Illinois held a virtual forum on Tuesday April 25, 2023, "What You Need to Know about Invest in Kids: Illinois’ Tax Credit Voucher Program."
If you missed this event or want to share with others, here’s a link to the recording:
You’ll find the slides here from Professor Josh Cowen, looking at the research on student achievement for students who use vouchers, and here from Cassie Creswell, with details on the Invest in Kids program’s issues with oversight and discrimination. See also the new policy brief, "Illinois Lawmakers: Let the State’s Private School Voucher Law Sunset," co-authored by panelist Jessica Levin of Public Funds Public Schools.
More links from the forum:
- TIME How School Voucher Programs Hurt Students by Josh Cowen
- Indiana Coalition for Public Education
- Network for Public Education
- Blog - Vic's Statehouse Notes
Voucher plans are sweeping the country, transferring public funds to private schools. Many Illinois residents don't realize we have a voucher program right here in the form of a tax credit "scholarship" program, known as Invest in Kids.
Our expert panel looks at this national trend, examines the research on student achievement in voucher schools, gives a glimpse of the impact of vouchers on students in our neighboring state of Indiana, and presents important information about Invest in Kids. Learn how you can join the campaign endorsed by more than 50 local, state and national organizations to end the program permanently!
Jessica Levin, is the Acting Litigation Director at the Education Law Center and the Director of Public Funds Public Schools. She will discuss the dramatic increase in voucher program throughout the country, a massive transfer of public funds to private and religious schools.
Dr. Josh Cowen, Professor of Education Policy at Michigan State University, is a nationally recognized researcher on vouchers. He will share his research on the impact of voucher programs on student achievement.
Dountonia S. Batts, a community advocate and a board member of Network for Public Education Action. As a parent, she will share her first-hand experience about the negative/destructive impact of vouchers on students and schools in Indiana.
Cassie Creswell, the director of Illinois Families for Public Schools and a Chicago Public Schools parent, has long experience as an advocate for public schools. She will provide detailed information about the problems with Invest in Kids. You will come away armed with facts and arguments about our voucher program to share with your state legislators.
Thank you to all our co-sponsors:
On Wednesday night, IL-FPS broke the news that Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education under former (and now indicted) President Trump, was spending thousands in the mayoral race in support of Paul Vallas.Read more
CHICAGO — Last week ex-President Trump’s former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a $59,000 independent expenditure in support of mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’ campaign from a Super PAC she funds, the Illinois Federation for Children PAC.
The Illinois Federation for Children PAC was established in March 2022 and has received $465,000 in total from DeVos’ American Federation for Children Action Fund, a national 527 PAC. The Illinois Federation PAC’s chair, Nathan Hoffman, was a registered contract lobbyist in Springfield for the American Federation for Children until January this year.
[full press release after the jump]Read more
COMUNICADO DE PRENSA: El Super PAC de Betsy DeVos gasta miles para elegir a Paul Vallas alcalde de Chicago
CHICAGO — La semana pasada, la ex secretaria de Educación del ex presidente Trump, Betsy DeVos, realizó un gasto independiente de $59.000 dólares en apoyo de la campaña del candidato a la alcaldía Paul Vallas de un Súper PAC que financia, la Federación de Illinois para Niños PAC.
El PAC de la Federación de Illinois para Niños se estableció en marzo de 2022 y ha recibido $465.000 en total del Fondo de Acción de la Federación Americana para Niños de DeVos, un PAC nacional 527 financiada por Devos y su esposo. El presidente del PAC de la Federación de Illinois, Nathan Hoffman, fue un lobbista contratado registrado en Springfield para la Federación Americana de Niños hasta enero de este año.
[comunicado de prensa completo después del salto]Read more
Update: This bill was not heard on March 28th, and no vote was taken. It has a deadline extension through the end of spring session. We'll be keeping an eye on it.
Illinois Families for Public Schools is in Springfield today talking to legislators about our legislative agenda, including urging them to ensure that the existing Invest in Kids voucher program ends. Unfortunately, a bill to create an even larger, less regulated voucher scheme is in hearing this afternoon, HB 1573, the Education Savings Account Act.Read more
School board races are being flooded with dark money
Tuesday April 4th is voting day for local elections—including school boards—throughout Illinois. That’s when Chicago holds its municipal run-offs for mayor and many city council seats. And, outside of Chicago, in addition to school boards, library boards and village boards (or city council) elections take place on April 4th as well.Read more
More than 50 local, state and national organizations are calling for the Illinois General Assembly to ensure Illinois’ Invest in Kids voucher program ends as intended after the coming school year. Full press release below.Read more
Gov. Pritzker gave his budget address on Wednesday, and it was heartening to hear him call out attacks on school boards and libraries, including book bans and 'Don't Say Gay' laws, and say unequivocally that here in Illinois we want our children to learn the truth about our history as a country, “warts and all.”Read more