Publication Date

Spring 5-2023


Helms School of Government


Government: Politics and Policy


Education Policy, Illinois Education, Education Reform, Tax Credits, Tax Vouchers, School Choice


American Politics | Education Law | Education Policy | Law and Politics | Models and Methods | Other Education | Public Policy


Public education in the United States has produced lackluster results in the past decades. Various forms of school choice have emerged in recent years to combat the poor results seen in the public education system, but these private schools are financially unattainable for many Americans. Bureaucratic overload, city corruption, inequities in funding, and frequent teachers’ strikes have certainly contributed to the destitute state of Illinois’ public education. In this thesis, the attainability of fiscal relief for Illinois families who choose alternative education and the necessity of the state in permitting such alternatives is discussed.

Current school choice policies in the state of Illinois are delineated and a case study in which Illinois’ current methods are contrasted with potential alternatives is examined as the effectiveness of each course of action is discussed. Recommendations include a four-pronged approach to education reform based primarily on school choice via extending and expanding the Invest in Kids scholarship, promoting homeschooling for able families, enacting a public-school mobility policy, and establishing a probationary period for failing schools. Ultimately, an alteration to the status quo is advocated through an adoption of tax credits over tax vouchers to relieve the fiduciary burden on Illinois families and resist any potential legal challenges.