ILLINOIS – The Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery and Illinois Education Association President Al Llorens issued the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s support of the voucher system “Invest in Kids.”
“After the progress we’ve made toward adequate and equitable funding for schools during Governor Pritzker’s tenure, we are deeply disappointed to learn of the governor’s support for vouchers. This is especially disappointing because there is no evidence that these policies are beneficial for students. The fundamental values of public schools are centered around inclusivity, equality, and fairness. It is disheartening to witness the leader of our state endorsing a policy that goes against these core principles or considering funding private schools when 80 percent of public schools remain underfunded.
“Governor Pritzker has chosen to side with anti-public education Republican governors in other states with his support of vouchers, going against the values of the Democratic Party, which clearly stands opposed to vouchers. The recent data from Chicago, where 43 percent of schools benefiting from Invest in Kids funds had ZERO Black voucher students, paints a stark picture of the exclusionary trend perpetuated by the current voucher system. Illinois cannot afford to support two school systems – one, a public system where schools are held accountable, educate ALL students, and exist for the common good, and a second that does none of this. The situation highlights a disturbing disparity that cannot be ignored. It serves as a reminder of the harmful policies implemented by former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and underscores the urgent need for Governor Pritzker to reconsider his position on vouchers.
“A fair and just public education system cannot be built on exclusionary policies. By rejecting the current flawed voucher system and working toward fully funding public education, Governor Pritzker can align his actions with the values of the common good and ensure that every child, regardless of their background, has access to a high-quality public education.”
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.