LAKE BARRINGTON… State Representative Martin McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills) from the 52ND House District released the following statement on the ongoing controversy over the Invest in Kids scholarship and the misinformation drive by teachers’ unions and partisan community groups.
Rep. McLaughlin said, “Is $16,800 greater than or less than $29,000? Leaders from the Public-School Teachers Unions and their advocates say it is less.
“Math scores are down at all public schools in Illinois. At the end of 2022, ISBE reports just 30% of students are reading at grade level and 26% are proficient in math.
“For years, most students have been graduating well below math proficiency and now we are seeing an alarming trend concerning all subjects being taught to our children.
“After three years in the General Assembly, I have come to understand how the Teachers Unions and their bought politicians do the ‘math’ in Springfield, especially when it comes to student funding for public education in Illinois.
“The bought politicians are told by the unions to kill the Invest In Kids Act, which helps 9,000 underprivileged kids annually to attend schools of their choice. When the big Teachers Union says jump, the legislators spring into action in lockstep with Executive Order Governor Pritzker’s support.
“The Invest In Kids Scholarship continues to be an overwhelming bipartisan success story that helps thousands of families in Illinois. This is a tax credit program, not a paid-in/paid-out from the state program, like the rest of the 89 Illinois Department of Revenue taxes that we get hit with each year.
“When public education advocates argue in committee that 87% of our schools are underfunded and Illinois is “defunding” public education, the opposite is true.
“In the Chicago public school system, the per-child spending alone has gone from $17,000 in 2020 to $29,000 per student in 2023. Unfortunately, their test scores have gone in the opposite direction.
“The Governor and many Democrats in the General Assembly will boldly announce their support for freedom and choice, but not on this issue. Parents are not free to choose a better option for their child other than sending their child to failing local public schools.
“The Teachers’ unions will haul educators in front of General Assembly committees testifying and lamenting the woes of working for 30 years next to Tier 1 pension employees who only work 25 years for their pensions. I have listened to many witnesses declare it is immoral and unfair to work in public education past the age of 62.
“Where is the compassion for the young kids and families who have benefitted from the Invest In Kids Scholarship and the 22,000 students waiting to participate? Where’s the morality and fairness for them to be able to choose the best educational opportunity for themselves? There is none.
“The money donated to politicians who seek to sabotage the Invest in Kids Program speaks loud and clear, and this is the only math the self-interest groups and self-serving politicians can accurately count in Springfield.
“This bleak reality will continue until the hardworking taxpayers of Illinois wake up and realize the obvious intentions behind bought-and-paid-for frauds pretending to be for equity and equal opportunity.