How you can help save school choice in Illinois
Some Illinois lawmakers and the Chicago Teachers Union want to cut off 9,600 students across the state from attending a school of their choice. Here’s how you can save their scholarships before they expire at the end of 2023.
Do your state lawmakers want to cut off or save private school scholarships for low-income children?
Invest in Kids provides life-changing scholarships for more than 9,600 students from low-income families in Illinois to attend private schools, usually after they find their public schools are not a good fit. The program expires at the end of 2023, and the Chicago Teachers Union is trying to stop state lawmakers from saving it.
Contacting your state lawmakers and asking about their stance on Invest in Kids can help gain traction to extend the program and keep low-income students across Illinois at a school of their choice. Lawmakers vote on hundreds of issues, asking them where they stand on Invest in Kids puts a spotlight on the program.
Your state representative and some state senators are likely out asking for petition signatures. Before signing a petition, ask them a few questions:
- What is your position on Invest in Kids?
- What is your decision based on?
- Do you know how many kids in our district are on these scholarships?
If you want to know how many children and which schools in your legislative district receive Invest in Kids scholarships, you can look that up here.
If you’re not sure who your state representative and state senator are, you can look them up and contact them here.
Income tax credits to incentivize donations for Invest in Kids have averaged about $50 million a year. Illinois will spend $10.3 billion on public education this year, which is almost $2 billion more than when the Invest in Kids program started. That makes Invest in Kids less than 0.5% of state education spending.
Some of the biggest opponents to Invest in Kids enroll their own children in private schools. CTU President Stacy Davis Gates sends her son to a private high school while trying to end the program for low-income Chicagoans. Sean Denney, the director of government relations at the Illinois Education Association, sends his kids to a Catholic school in Springfield. As their chief lobbyist, Denney is leading the IEA opposition to Invest in Kids in Springfield.
Both school choice opponents make many times more than the $45,046 average family income for those receiving an Invest in Kids scholarship. Davis Gates makes at least $262,429, or six times more than a scholarship family. Denney makes $188,802, which is four times more.
Voters support Invest in Kids 3 to 1 and 64% generally back school choice. But state lawmakers won’t know your preference unless you contact them before the fall veto session starts Oct. 24 – lawmakers’ last chance to extend Invest in Kids before it ends as 2023 ends.