We must demand that the “Invest in Kids” voucher program created and promoted under Bruce Rauner be closed down as quickly as possible.
Invest in Kids, under the guise of providing scholarships for private schools, is effectively diverting public funds away from our already underfunded public schools. Wealthy donors funnel their money into an organization specifically created for this program, only for the government to give them back 75 percent of their contribution using funds that should be allocated to our public schools. This diversion of resources has serious consequences for our students, teachers, and the quality of education in our state.
Download factsheet (PDF in English and Spanish) about ending Illinois’ voucher program that you can distribute to parents, students, and community organizations.
Download zine from Illinois Families for Public Schools.
Send a letter to your state senator and representative below, and scroll further down to learn key facts about Rauner’s backdoor voucher program.
Public Dollars for Public Schools
- Stealing Public School Funding: Since 2017, Invest in Kids has siphoned off up to $450 million from our public schools, with an annual theft of up to $75 million. This staggering amount could have been used to improve our public education system instead of benefiting a select few.
- Historical Roots: Voucher programs, like Invest in Kids, have their origins in the resistance to school integration in the 1950s. Even today, these vouchers continue to support schools that discriminate against LGBTQIA students, students with special education needs, and Black and Brown students. Shockingly, 43 percent of voucher money goes to schools with no Black voucher students, perpetuating inequality.
- Parental Support for Public Schools: The overwhelming majority of parents in our community support their local public schools and the dedicated teachers who work tirelessly for their children’s education. They entrust their tax dollars to support public education, not to fund private schools through these vouchers.
- Failed Educational Outcomes: Extensive evidence demonstrates that voucher programs do not improve educational outcomes; in many cases, they worsen them. Our public schools deserve our investments, not experimental programs that undermine their effectiveness.
- Disproportionate Funding: Some private schools on Chicago’s far north side have received millions of dollars through this program, exceeding the budgets of 67 of our CPS elementary schools, including several in the same neighborhood. This disparity is unacceptable and perpetuates educational inequity.
Invest in Kids is not a solution for our educational system; it is a problem that exacerbates existing inequalities. We must prioritize and adequately fund our public schools to provide every child with a fair and high-quality education.