© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dusty Rhodes headshot
Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

Ed Czar Now Works For Kern Family Foundation

screen shot of Purvis on Kern Family Foundation website
Kern Family Foundation
Beth Purvis, former Secretary of Education in Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, is now with the Wisconsin-based Kern Family Foundation

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.


After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
Related Stories