The 21st Show

What Educators Want From Gov. Pritzker; IL Video Gambling; How Shutdown Affects Crisis Hotlines


Juhamanninen/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

On The 21st: Video gambling machines were meant to bring in money for the state, but as a ProPublica Illinois investigation found, it’s actually created both financial and social costs. Plus, the government shutdown has started to hurt crisis center hotlines for sexual violence. We’ll hear from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault on how they’re trying to keep things running. But first, what should Governor Pritzker do about our education system? We talk with educators about what they hope to see from our state government.

Illinois faces significant challenges at every level of our education system. College isn’t affordable for many people, our public schools have gotten unequal funding for years, and we see inequities even before students start kindergarten.

That’s why this morning, we wanted to speak with educators about what they want from our new governor, J.B. Pritzker, along with our state lawmakers. 

Cristina Pacione-Zayas is the director of policy at the Erikson Institute, an education organization and graduate school focused on early childhood development. She joined us on the line from Chicago. 

Robin Steans is the executive director of Advance Illinois, a nonpartisan group that advocates for public education. We were also joined by Timothy Killeen, president of the University of Illinois. 


When you think of gambling, what comes to mind? Maybe the bright lights of casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. But try thinking a little closer to home- perhaps your local bar, truck stop or restaurant that’s home to video poker or slot machines.

Back in 2009, Illinois lawmakers legalized video gambling. And now, with more than 30 thousand video slot and poker games (outside of casinos) Illinois officially has more places to gamble than Nevada. Actually, we have more than any other state in the country.

Revenue from video gambling was originally meant to help bail Illinois out of its financial problems. But in reality, the past decade of video gambling has been filled with both fiscal and social costs.

ProPublica Illinois reporters Jason Grotto and Sandhya Kambhampati have been investigating this with WBEZ. The first part of their multipart series, “The Bad Bet” was released last week and they joined us on the line to tell us more. 

John Kindt also spoke with us. He’s a professor emeritus of business administration at the University of Illinois. He’s also testified before Congress and the state legislature about the effects of decriminalizing gambling. 


It’s Day 32 of the partial government shutdown. And it has affected people across the country in many different ways whether it’s federal workers or contractors missing a paycheck, TSA officers calling in sick, or national parks and museums being closed.

Today, we took a look at how sexual assault hotlines are being affected.

Last week the Justice Department announced that it would officially stop processing funding requests, starting Friday. The Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault is still managing to get some funding, but they and other hotlines could be in limbo if this continues.

Carrie Ward is the executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault and she joined us on the line. 

Story source: WILL