Illinois Democrats Fail to Take Action to Invest in Kids Scholarship Program

Illinois Democratic Senators and Representatives are putting special interest groups like the Chicago Teachers Union before underprivileged kids who are looking for a better education

Barrington Township Republican Organization President, Edgar Alvarado, asserts, "It is too bad that the Illinois Democratic Senators and Representatives are putting special interest groups like the Chicago Teachers Union before underprivileged kids who are looking for a better education in safe schools with more opportunity for student success. Chicago Public Schools have failed these kids for decades, and this program costs the state nothing. I hope at the next election, voters turn out and vote for their opponents to show their disappointment and vote them out of office."

Illinois Senator Dan McConchie of the 26th District said, “While Gov. JB Pritzker was chasing the national spotlight in Florida earlier last week during Veto Session, Senate Republicans redoubled their efforts to save the states Invest in Kids Scholarship program and give low-income children access to better schools.” He further states “IL Democrats deny underprivileged kids the option of school choice and Invest in our Kids” Scholarship Program is set to expire Jan 1, 2024. The rules in the General Assembly solely empower the Senate President, Don Harmon, and Speaker of the House, Chris Welch, to determine what bills get called for a vote. Springfield Democrats held the power as to the fate of the Invest in Kids Act and whether a bill was called for a vote. They refused, and the reason they refused is because they are completely beholden to the main group opposed to the Invest in Kids Act: the Chicago Teachers Union. Since the inception of the Invest in Kids program in 2017, more than $308 million in private donations have been made to a tax credit scholarship fund that has provided more than 38,000 scholarships to help low-income K-12 students in struggling schools optimize their chances for academic success by attending a school of their choice. They are more concerned about appeasing special interest groups that fund their campaigns instead of standing up for low-income children crying out for a chance at a better future.”

Illinois Representative Martin McLaughlin states, I, myself, was an under privileged kid that got a scholarship to a high school. That changed my life and the lives of four of my best friends, people of color, who went on to successful careers. This is personal to me, and it is personal to hundreds and thousands of families that you put in terrible jeopardy, and youve destroyed their opportunity to an equitable education.” 

“IllinoisInvest in Kids school choice program for over 9,600 low-income students will end at the close of 2023. But supporters vow to resurrect it during the upcoming legislative session. What are IL Republicans going to do about this? Is there still hope to renew the bill? “So were gonna continue to push for this,” said state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, on Nov. 8 during during Illinois Policypress conference. Well start again in January. And well try to get this back on track because I think its a program thats clearly helped thousands of children succeed and become all that they were meant to be.” So why did the Chicago Teachers Union oppose such a bill. “Teachers unions, and especially the Chicago Teachers Union, were the main opponents of Invest in Kids. They publicly claimed it took money from public schools, but that claim was hollow when the state added nearly $2 billion for public education after Invest in Kids began. An analysis showed government saved about $12,100 per scholarship student by being relieved of the need to educate a scholarship recipient while still receiving public monies for that student.” Read More Here

How successful was the Invest in Kids Program since 2017? “In the 2022-2023 school year, 9,656 students received Invest in Kids scholarships to attend schools that best fit their needs. Since the program launched in the 2018-2019 school year, 40,940 scholarships have been awarded.” Read More Here

“A Democratic lawmaker who supports the program said the bid for an extension was hurt because some advocates, particularly the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, tried to turn the issue into a larger crusade against politically powerful teachers unions like the Chicago Teachers Union and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which are strong political allies and campaign contributors to many Democratic lawmakers.” Read More Here