Chalkbeat Chicago reports that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s 2024 budget, just approved in Springfield, adds another $570 million in education funding, a 6.2% increase that brings annual K-12 funding to $10.3 billion. And yet the legislature could not muster the courage to extend the modest Illinois Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program.
Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin, in now classic union fashion, has said that “once we get to fully funding our schools, then let’s talk about adding these types of programs.” Hogwash!
The scholarship programs, signed into law by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, costs the state $75 million, or less than 1% of annual state spending on K-12 public education. Analysis from Chalkbeat Chicago shows that since 2017 when the scholarship program was enacted, state funding for K-12 public schools has risen by $1.6 billion, with almost all of the new state funding going to districts with high percentages of students from low-income families.
An analysis of 2021 U.S. census data by Wirepoints shows that Illinois spends 20% to 60% more per pupil than its neighbors and other Midwestern states. At $18,316, Illinois ranks ninth in the nation on education funding per student. Teacher union-led efforts to block the scholarship programs renewal is a continuation of a campaign to eradicate competition to the traditional public education system that is defined by poor results, high taxes and little accountability.
What has the state to show for the increases in public school funding? State test scores that were low before COVID-19 have plummeted. The Illinois State Board of Education reports that 87% of students graduated in Illinois last year despite just 1 in 3 students taking the SAT at proficiency. Only 1 in 3 of all Illinois public school students, between third grade and eighth grade, could read at grade level on the state exam. For Black students, it’s closer to 1 in 10.
Closer to home, Chicago Public Schools spends almost $30,000 per pupil (including debt and capital payments), considerably more than the state average. The district reported record graduation rates last year. But the grim reality is that only 11% of Black and 17% of Latino CPS students, who make up almost four-fifths of enrollment, read at grade level, according to state data. This is a system failure issue, not a funding issue.
One would think that the well-documented strong performance of parochial and other private schools would compel the legislature to not only extend the successful Invest in Kids scholarship program but also make it permanent and even expand it. Not in Illinois.
Instead, state officials continue to genuflect to the self-serving whims of the same teachers unions that wreaked havoc on the lives and future prospects of our children by forcing draconian school lockdowns long after the science had concluded schools were safe to reopen. The damage to the well-being of children may never be fully repaired.
We have seen more than two dozen states since 2019 enact or expand programs that support families electing to send their children to private schools. Thirty-one states and Puerto Rico now have state subsidized private parental choice programs.
Meanwhile, Illinois moves to eliminate its very modest private school choice program. Illinois would be one of the first states in the country to eliminate an existing parental choice program — this despite strong, post-pandemic public support for school choice in Illinois.
According to a poll conducted in the spring for the Illinois Policy Institute by Echelon Insights, 62% of Illinoisans support school choice compared to 28% who oppose it. Parents especially support parental choice, 70% to 21%, while nonparents favor it 57% to 33%. Nearly 60% of voters who were asked about the Invest in Kids program expressed approval.
A recent EdChoice survey found that 77% of Illinois parents and 70% of all Illinois adults support education savings accounts, or ESAs. These government-authorized savings accounts help pay for school tuition, tutoring, online education programs, therapies for students with special needs, and textbooks or other instructional materials, and they can be used to save for future college costs.
The assault on parental choice is not limited to private schools but extends to public schools as the state has all but blocked the creation of public charter schools. In Chicago, not only are the number of public charter schools capped but so is individual school enrollment. In addition, the 114 city public charter schools are effectively barred from even renting schools closed by the Rahm Emanuel administration. Meanwhile, the district imposes unfair financial obstacles to renting other buildings. This effectively forces a majority of Chicago charter school schools to educate children in inferior and often substandard buildings while dozens of public schools remain empty or are close to empty.
According to data from CPS’ 20th day enrollment from the 2020-21 school year, charter schools educate more than 54,000 school children in Chicago. In CPS, 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 10 elementary students attend public nonprofit charter schools. More than 98% of the attendees are students of color, and more than 85% students receive free or reduced lunch.
Severely limiting their ability to access taxpayer-funded public buildings is a blatant form of discrimination. Along with teacher union attempts to end Invest in Kids, which benefits a disproportionate number of poor minority students, this constitutes educational redlining.
Given the enormous financial resources that the state commits to its K-12 public schools and with as much as 70% of local property tax revenue going to public schools, it’s high time to seriously consider offering parental choice on a major scale.
There is nothing progressive about keeping children’s education hostage because of their ZIP codes and families’ income.
Paul Vallas ran for Chicago mayor this year and in 2019 and was previously budget director for the city and CEO of Chicago Public Schools.
Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boiler Alert Podcast – Let’s Talk Illinois & BASKETBALL IS BACK
With just a few days to go until Purdue kicks off at home against Illinois Ryan and I take to the microphones to give you all a better idea of who this Illinois team is. We’ve got a look at the offense, the defense, and of course, the special teams. Ryan even quizzes me on the Sickos punting game that we generally make all of our guests play.
There are no guests this week as we simply couldn’t connect with an Illinois podcaster this week. They also wouldn’t connect with us to do our normal weekly Q&A so I think the hard reality of the situation is that Illinois is ducking us. They are scared. I think that says a lot about how dominant Purdue will be this weekend.
Am I delusional? Sure. You bet I am. Ryan and I provide our predictions for this weekend as well.
Don’t forget too, the first practice of basketball season was this week and Ryan and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk Purdue basketball. They’ve sucked me back in!
Ohio State Schedules Games Against New Hampshire in 2027, Northern Illinois in 2028
Ohio State’s non-conference schedules for the next five years are now complete.
OSU announced Thursday that it has scheduled football games at Ohio Stadium against New Hampshire in 2027 and Northern Illinois in 2028, filling the Buckeyes’ non-conference slates for those seasons.
New Hampshire, Ryan Day’s alma mater, will play Ohio State for the first time ever when it travels to the Shoe on Sept. 11, 2027. UNH will be Ohio State’s second FCS opponent in a five-year span after the Buckeyes played Youngstown State in their second game of this season.
Northern Illinois will play at Ohio State for the third time on Sept. 16, 2028. The Buckeyes won both of the first two matchups, defeating the Huskies 35-12 in 2006 and eking out a 20-13 win over NIU in 2015.
Ohio State, which just completed its 2023 non-conference schedule with its 17-14 win over Notre Dame, now has three non-conference games scheduled for each of the next five seasons. The Buckeyes will now play any non-conference games against Power 5 competition next year, but will play home-and-homes against Texas in 2025 and 2026 and Alabama in 2027 and 2028.
|SAT, AUG. 31||SOUTHERN MISS||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 7||WESTERN MICHIGAN||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 21||MARSHALL||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, AUG. 30||TEXAS||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 13||OHIO||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, OCT. 18||CONNECTICUT||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 5||BALL STATE||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 12||TEXAS||DARRELL K. ROYAL-TEXAS MEMORIAL STADIUM (AUSTIN, TX)|
|SAT, SEPT. 19||KENT STATE||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 4||BOWLING GREEN||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 11||NEW HAMPSHIRE||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 18||ALABAMA||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 2||BUFFALO||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
|SAT, SEPT. 9||ALABAMA||BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM (TUSCALOOSA, AL)|
|SAT, SEPT. 16||NORTHERN ILLINOIS||OHIO STADIUM (COLUMBUS, OH)|
BoilerUpload – How to Watch: Illinois Fighting Illini (2-2) at Purdue Boilermakers (1-3)
When, Where, How to Watch:
When: September 30th, 2023, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
Radio: 96.5 FM
Ryan Walters (1-3) All-time record.
Bret Bielema, (112-71) All-TIme Record, 15-14 Record at Illinois
Purdue has won 47 of the 92 matchups, having an overall record of 47-45. The Boilermakers actually have a losing record at home, being 22-23-4. As it currently stands, Purdue has a three-game winning streak against Illinois, and in the last ten games, Purdue has won seven. Purdue’s largest margin of victory came in the year of 1890, when the Boilermakers won 62 to 0.
What else happened during the year 1890? Jacob Riis published “How the Other Half Lives” showing the poor living conditions of immigrants in the USA. Wyoming and Idaho were admitted as the 43rd and 44th states.
Purdue -1, O/U 53.5
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