K-12 Education

Released April 16, 2015

Recently, a number of states and cities across America have incorporated elements of school choice into their education systems in the hopes of improving student achievement. Starting in 2011 and expanded in 2013, Indiana joined this movement by enacting three bills—House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001, HEA 1002 and HEA 1003—which, when taken together, create one of the more comprehensive school choice programs in the nation (collectively the “Indiana Choice Legislation”).  At its core, the Indiana Choice Legislation utilizes public tax dollars to subsidize school choice. These subsidies come in the form of vouchers, state income tax deductions and state income tax credits.

Indiana’s goal of enhancing student achievement is laudable.  It also directly coincides with growing national concern over the academic performance of America’s school children as measured under respected, international benchmarks like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) exam.  Indeed, in the most recent PISA exams, the performance of America’s children (considered as a whole) came in at just 27th in math, 20th in science, and 17th in reading.

The question for policy makers in Indiana then, is can Indiana expect its school choice program to enhance student performance or help build a better public education system statewide?

This paper will not utilize in its analysis studies conducted by organizations with a clear bias, be it pro-voucher or anti-voucher. It instead draws on objective, peer-reviewed analyses. The goal is to answer two key questions about the Indiana Choice Legislation as objectively as possible.

First, does the actual documented track record of existing voucher programs demonstrate that those programs in fact achieved the desired goal of enhancing student achievement? Here, the short and clear answer is no.

Second, can voucher programs be expected to enhance student performance or improve public education systems, based on the education reforms implemented in the nations that currently rank in the top five in the world in reading, math, and science under PISA? Again, based on the evidence, the answer is no.

Released February 13, 2013

Independently Authored Materials by Equity and  Excellence Commission Members

Released November 11, 2014

To address concerns about inequity in the Illinois' K-12 education funding formula, the Illinois Senate unanimously established the Education Funding Advisory Committee or “EFAC” in July of 2013. One specific goal supported by EFAC was making said distribution more equitable from a needs-based standpoint. In April of 2014, Senator Andy Manar (D-48) introduced SB16 in part to implement some of EFAC’s recommendations. CTBA's Fact Sheet outlines the primary goals, basic mechanics, and equity concerns of SB16.

Released April 26, 2007

Fact Sheets on HB/SB 750 of the 95th General Assembly.

Released August 1, 2006

This Brief provides information on how K-12 public education is funded in Illinois.

Released October 10, 2006

This Fact Sheet provides information on how public education is funded in Illinois.

Released October 20, 2006

A presentation on the Illinois economy, and how it relates to education funding.

Released January 31, 2006

Information on education funding litigation in Illinois.

Released February 28, 2007

This Fact Sheet provides information on how Illinois could reform its fiscal system to provide equitable education funding.

Released January 1, 2006

An overview of education funding history in Illinois.

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