Julie Vassilatos: The Undead “Invest In Kids” Act Creeps Back into the Capitol
Illinois has a voucher bill that is set to expire soon, unless some legislators can breathe new life into it. Julie Vassilatos, an activist writer mom, points out the problems.
Just in time for Halloween, Illinois Gov. Pritzker says he’ll sign whatever “Invest in Kids” legislation crosses his desk.
Hearing this news gave me a crickly, creepy feeling up the back of my neck. I honestly thought legislators had decided to allow this thing to die its timely death, reach its expected and planned demise. The legislation was originally supposed to sunset in 2023. But it sounds like it’s creeping back from wherever bad policy goes to die. Crawling back from the mostly dead, only to be reanimated, dressed up in a new school uniform, all its awful secrets covered up.
Secrets like: unaccounted-for dollars. Opaque student outcomes. More than $250M in taxes unpaid by the wealthiest Illinoisans. Private schools, with private school rules, getting public money. Discrimination against disabled students, non-religious students, LGBTQ students and families. Expansion of wealth gaps and inequity. Disinvestment of public schools.
And worst of all? Tax-credit scholarship programs have demonstrated not just bad, but downright terrifying longterm results.
Catastrophically bad results. I’m not being hysterical about this, either—these are results drawn from long term research by universities all over the country. Anyone concerned with education outcomes for children—for our most vulnerable children—should care about this data. Because offering children “choice” through vouchers does not help them.