The governor of Illinois recently signed a bill creating a tax credit scholarship program. The American Federation for Children says it also represents an important landmark in the school-choice movement.
In signing the measure, Governor Bruce Rauner said the current system "needed to change."
"For far too long," the Republican leader said in a statement, "too many low-income students in our state have been trapped in underfunded, failing schools .... We have put aside our differences and put our kids first." The legislation created the 52nd private school-choice program in the country and made Illinois the 18th state to have a tax credit scholarship option.
Tommy Schultz is national communications director for the American Federation for Children. He says the legislation also marks a critical milestone for school-choice advocates.
"Twenty-six states plus the District of Columbia [now] have private school choice options, making more than half of the country that have these types of private school options for children all across their states," Schultz tells OneNewsNow.
The AFC spokesman says considering that the Illinois legislature is predominately Democratic, the passage of this legislation was quite an achievement.
"And with a Republican governor leading the charge along with legislative leaders crafting a big bipartisan package, this resulted in successful legislation that should be a model for a lot of other states in how they should operate," he says.
The legislation also created funding equity for charter school students with an increase of $2,000/student per year.