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SPRINGFIELD – May 29, 2024 – The following statement can be attributed to Bobby Sylvester, executive director at Empower Illinois:

“It is with profound disappointment that we must address the failure of the Illinois legislature to pass the Enhancing Equity in Education Act. This critical legislation aimed at improving the tax credit scholarship program has been regrettably overlooked, leaving more than 15,000 students without the support they urgently need.

Despite extensive bipartisan efforts to advocate for the passage of this vital bill, the General Assembly has failed to prioritize the welfare of our most vulnerable learners. By failing to enact the Enhancing Equity in Education Act, lawmakers have perpetuated inequities within our education system and denied countless students the opportunity to thrive at their best fit school. Limiting scholarship opportunities for low-income students traps them in a failing status quo simply because their families lack financial means to move or afford different options.

The legislature’s inaction is particularly egregious given the urgent need to address the continuation of the tax credit scholarship program and thereby avoid disruption of children’s education. These are not merely abstract concerns but concrete barriers preventing marginalized students from accessing the quality education they deserve.

In the face of this disappointing outcome, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Leader Kelly Burke for her unwavering dedication and advocacy on behalf of equitable education. Leader Burke’s tireless efforts to champion this issue have not gone unnoticed, and we are grateful for her steadfast commitment to the well-being of Illinois students. We are also grateful to the many bipartisan supporters of the tax credit scholarship program.

Our students deserve better, and we will continue to advocate tirelessly until equitable education becomes a reality for all.”

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