Pritzker Administration Accused of Not Evaluating the Invest in Kids Program as Required by Law (Springfield, IL) (via The Center Square) — Now that the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program is being allowed to expire, some are wondering why it was not evaluated.
During the fall veto session that concluded Thursday, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, never called for a vote a bill to extend Invest in Kids past Dec. 31, when it expires. Nearly 10,000 students enrolled in the program are now in limbo in the middle of the school year.
Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said state education officials have never reported the academic performance of participating students as required by the Invest in Kids Act.
“The governor’s administration has failed year in and year out since 2018 to do that assessment, they’re not releasing anything and they are delaying the release this year until after the program expires,” Curran said. “Could you be more disingenuous?”
The Invest in Kids Act requires by law that participants take the same standardized test that students in public schools take each spring in an effort to measure the program’s success.
Teachers unions were the main opponents of Invest in Kids, and they funneled millions of dollars into campaign coffers leading up to the veto session. The Chicago Teachers Union called the end of the program a “historic win for public education.”
The Catholic Conference of Illinois did not mince words following the end of the fall veto session.
“Due to the cruelty of the Illinois General Assembly, those 9,500 scholarships will not be available next school year. In addition, the hopes of more than 26,000 students on a waitlist who so desperately want a scholarship have been dashed as has using Invest in Kids scholarships at high school-level trade schools,” the group said in a statement.
Some lawmakers have vowed to try to restart the program during the spring legislative session, but in the meantime, there will be a disruption of scholarships.
“So we’re gonna continue to push for this,” state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said during a news conference with Illinois Policy. “We’ll start again in January. And we’ll try to get this back on track because I think it’s a program that’s clearly helped thousands of children succeed and become all that they were meant to be.”
Pritzker Administration Accused of Not Evaluating the Invest in Kids Program as Required by Law