Educational Choice Illinois (ECI) is “a 501c3 public charity, dedicated to advancing public policy that expands quality educational options for Illinois children in need” that recently released an announcement celebrating the creation of its “bipartisan” Policy Advisory Board. Their board, 31 members in total, is tasked with “[assisting] ECI in setting its policy agenda” in addition to meeting with community leaders, legislators, participating in outreach, etc.
What is especially interesting about the Board is its composition. While ECI reports that the Board is “bipartisan,” it is clear that those who sit on the Board are far from bipartisan when it comes to educational policy. Of the 31 members, at least 23 work for organizations/think-tanks that are overtly in favor of pro-privatization education reforms (e.g., charter schools, vouchers, etc.), and none are known skeptics. Of the other 8 members, their history or current position on reform cannot be readily ascertained. Though, as a lobbyist, Vince Williams – who is among the 8 – is likely to advocate for the majority opinion of the Advisory Board – which, in this case, is predominately comprised of pro-privatization ideologues. Thus, given the history of pro-privatization activities from the members of this Board, one must ask if it was their disposition — as opposed to, say, expertise on the issue — that was ultimately the litmus test for their participation.