(The Center Square) – Republican state Rep. Blaine Wilhour says there’s a reason why parents came out in support of the Invest in Kids scholarship by a nearly 3-1 margin in a recent Illinois Policy Institute poll conducted by Echelon Insights.
“The Invest in Kids initiative is the single best program the state has to help kids escape failing schools and get the education they need and deserve,” Wilhour told The Center Square of the program that grants tax credits to people who use private dollars to fund scholarships that allow students to attend private schools.
“It is widely supported by parents and families across the state because it works and because real people (unlike career politicians) actually care about kids,” he added. “It is successful. So, of course, the political insiders profiting from the culture of corruption don’t want it.”
Conducted over a three-day period commencing on June 26, the poll of 800 Illinois voters found 63% supported the school choice program, compared to 21% in opposition. With the program paving the way for nearly 10,000 low-income Illinois students to attend the school of their choice, researchers also point out the program has at least 60% support from each main political ideology, topped by independents at 67%.
Wilhour argues it makes little sense that the program is now scheduled to sunset on Dec. 31 after lawmakers failed to extend it as part of the state’s new budget, leaving countless students and parents alike uncertain about what comes next.
“The purpose of our education system is to educate children,” he added. “We need to embrace and support programs that actually work. The teachers’ unions hate the Invest in Kids program because they are embarrassed. The Invest in Kids program highlights the failures of the Chicago Public Schools, which is why they are so adamantly opposed to it. We not only need the Invest in Kids program, but we need to institute a voucher system.”
With thousands of other students having signed onto a waiting list in hopes of be able to join the program, Wilhour said he is hoping to see lawmakers soon come to their senses.
“There is still time to reinstate the Invest in Kids program,” he said. “I will continue to fight to keep this program alive in Illinois.”