This is in response to “Sunset the Invest in Kids Act” letter in the March 1 Viewpoints.

I value the Oak Park and River Forest chapter of the League of Women Voters. In fact, I recently listened to the D90 Candidate Forum hosted and moderated by the LWV. I thank them for their service and contribution to our community.

However, I feel they missed the mark in their commentary on the Invest in Kids Act. The article stated, “Research shows that voucher programs do not improve student outcomes.” Is that universally true for all students in our state? I believe the situation in the Chicago area is a much more nuanced story. LWV, please share the research you noted for our state and let’s have a discussion with the hopes of increasing outcomes for our youth.

How do financially struggling families in Chicago, whose kids have been assigned an unsafe and subpar public school, feel about school choice while receiving tuition support? Personally, I have been impressed with the various programs, leaders, and schools in the Chicago area who support this work on behalf of families.

Oak Park and River Forest families are fortunate. We historically have had safe and academically solid public schools. We all hope that continues. However, the reality is, many Chicago public schools are failing. Why shouldn’t all families in our state have the option and support to send their kids to quality schools like we have had?

While the state tries to turn around failing public schools, school choice programs offer a solution now. If these programs help families increase opportunity for their kids (some nearby on the West Side of Chicago), shouldn’t our state and Oak Parkers and River Foresters support them?

Who are we to judge and remove choice and opportunity?

Ross Lissuzzo
Oak Park native, current River Forest resident

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