NPR Affiliate Peddles Claim Illinois School Vouchers Would Plunge State Back to ‘Segregation’ Era

On Wednesday, NPR’s Illinois affiliate WGLT promoted a claim without pushback by a McLean County, IL superintendent named Mark Daniel that, if the state passed a school vouchers program, the Land of Lincoln would plunge back half a century into “segregation.”

Illinois is in a heated battle led by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner to enact a voucher program to allow those trapped by underperforming schools a chance to succeed elsewhere, individuals like Daniel and the public sector unions have resorted to such scare tactics. 

Instead of denouncing this rhetoric, reporters Charlie Schlenker and Ryan Denham played along with this far-left venom: 

A plan being floated to steer taxpayer money toward a voucher-like program for families that send their children to private schools is a dangerous step backward toward segregation, Unit 5’s superintendent said Tuesday.

Lawmakers have begun privately discussing a $100 million program that offers scholarships to kids so they can go to private or parochial school. A draft proposal reviewed by WBEZ in Chicago indicates most Illinois families would be eligible for the program, which could have big effects on public school enrollment.

Teacher unions oppose the proposal, as does Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel.

“To me, that’s a voucher system,” he said on GLT’s Sound Ideas. “I’ll never agree with that.”

Vouchers could lead to a system of “haves and haves nots,” Daniel said, where parents’ choices about where to send their students could hurt the public school system overall.

“It’s the beginning of segregation,” he said. “We saw that all the way through the 1960s.”

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Schlenker and Denham explained that state funding for Unit 5 has been “held up” by the latest state government stalemate, adding that Rauner “used his amendatory veto on a bill that would rewrite how Illinois funds public schools, introducing an ‘evidence-based’funding model to improve fairness in state aid to public schools.”

“It would ensure no school gets less than it got this year and then funnels money first to districts with more poverty and other needs. The scholarship proposal is being floated as part of those negotiations, though Daniel says that doesn’t make sense,” they stated.

After another quote from Daniel, the article concluded with embedded audio clips of interviews with Daniel and thus zero pushback to his fear mongering. Their show is called Sound Ideas, but this sort of media bias shows that it’s anything but sound.


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