The Illinois legislature is considering diverting $100 million of education funding to public school vouchers. Just released emails between Chicago’s Catholic Cardinal Blase Cupich and Rahm Emanuel show they talked about the same thing last April.
Cardinal Blasé Cupich emailed the mayor in mid-April after learning that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was scheduling meetings with big-city mayors on Trump administration education priorities.
“I am personally interested in the proposal to fund a $20 billion federal education tax credit as part of the federal tax reform. I am convinced that this could be an enormous boost to the Chicago schools and the thousands of parents who use our [Catholic] schools,” Cupich wrote. “I am grateful that you understand the importance of school choice for poor families who see this as a viable way for the family to move out of poverty.”
Cupich closed by wishing the mayor a “blessed Passover to you and the family.”
Emanuel replied, “Have a Good Friday. Of course we will discuss.”
In Cupich’s email exchange with Emanuel, the cardinal referenced U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ push to expand private school choice by creating a federal education tax credit program.
The Trump administration hasn’t released specific details, but the idea is to give tax credits to anyone donating to a fund that would allow eligible students to attend a private school of their choosing. The same concept is now being discussed by Illinois lawmakers in the negotiations to overhaul public school funding across the state.
Parents and teachers will gather at the Thompson Center this morning, Thursday, at 11am to call for an override of Governor Rauner’s veto of the school funding bill and oppose any state voucher plan.
This Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers will have as our guests Jay C. Rehak of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund and teacher pension activist John Dillon. Live at 11am on 105.5fm and streaming at http://www.lumpen.radio.
We also discussed school funding with State Senator Dan Biss on last week’s Hitting Left. You can listen to that podcast here.