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June 30, 2020, Chicago, IL – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark ruling supporting private education opportunities for all kids. In Kendra Espinoza et. al. v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s decision and ruled that state cannot bar students and families from using tax credit scholarships to attend the school of their choice.

“We are pleased to see the Supreme Court protect students’ rights and ensure that kids have the education opportunities they need to thrive. Kids find their best fit education in all kinds of schools: Catholic, Montessori, Jewish, arts, Lutheran, college prep and so many more,” said Empower Illinois Executive Director Anthony Holter. “Thanks to the Espinoza ruling, kids from low-income and working-class families can find the school that works best for them through tax credit scholarship programs, like the Invest in Kids Act here in Illinois. Every child, regardless of income or ZIP Code, deserves a quality education.”

Ms. Espinoza and her children, like many of the 30,000 kids in line for a scholarship in Illinois, sought the freedom to find the school that meets their needs. The top reasons families applied for a tax credit scholarship through Empower Illinois include:

  • 73.8% of families were seeking a school with higher academic quality
  • 62.2% of families were seeking a school with character/ values instruction
  • 54.6% of families were seeking a safer school

The Supreme Court has removed a major barrier in the path to education options. But no family can walk that path alone. That is why Empower Illinois will continue to advocate for low-income and working-class families to have a voice and a choice in their children’s education.

About Empower Illinois

Empower Illinois is a statewide education policy and research nonprofit and Scholarship Granting Organization created to serve Illinois’ children through the state’s tax credit scholarship program. Children only get one chance at a quality education, and Empower Illinois’ mission is to expand quality education options for low-income and working-class families of Illinois.

Illinois’ Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program was created in 2017 to benefit children whose educational options are limited by household income or ZIP Code. Empower Illinois serves as a conduit for processing donations, scholarship awards and program compliance for approximately 91 percent of all recognized private schools in Illinois.

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