Last month the Illinois state Senate passed a new school voucher program to help students struggling in Chicago’s lowest-performing public elementary schools. The bill now must be considered by the Illinois House of Representatives.
Democrat Senator and “outspoken advocate of public education” James Meeks sponsored the voucher legislation. “By passing this bill, we’ll give 22,000 kids an opportunity to have a choice on whether or not they’ll continue in their failing school or go to another non-public school within the city of Chicago,” said Sen. Meeks.
“Just as we came up with and passed charter schools to help children, now is an opportunity to pass this bill so we can help more children escape the dismal realities of Chicago’s public schools,” Meeks said.
The pilot program will run through 2014 and provide up to about $6,000 per student to cover tuition and other educational expenses at non-public schools.
Illinois’s voucher bill is the latest example of state legislators giving low-income children a hand up. Isn’t it time Oregon’s legislators did the same?
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade Policy Institute and Director of the privately funded Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland, which provides partial tuition scholarships to Oregon elementary students from lower-income families.