Ed Czar Now Works For Kern Family Foundation

Sep 25, 2017

Shortly after Illinois lawmakers approved a new school funding plan, the state's top education official announced she was leaving to work for a national non-profit. Today is her first day on her new job.


Beth Purvis has joined the Kern Family Foundation, a Wisconsin-based philanthropy group that has given at least half a million dollars to Gov. Scott Walker and legislative candidates who support school vouchers.

The foundation's website says Purvis will lead its K-12 and "character" programs.


Purvis, who was Gov. Bruce Rauner's Secretary of Education, played a major role in pushing school funding reform in Illinois. She chaired Rauner's school funding commission — a bipartisan, bicameral group that spent six months developing recommendations for reform, but stopped short of drafting actual​ legislation. When Democrats subsequently put forth a plan, Purvis said Rauner liked 90 percent of it, but would veto parts he didn't like.


Lawmakers ultimately approved compromise legislation that incorporated the Democrats' plan but added provisions that help fund private schools. Rauner signed that into law last month.


Though widely-respected, Purvis drew criticism in Illinois due to her $250,000 per year salary, and the fact that it was drawn from the cash-strapped Department of Human Services.