Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship program generates private dollars for K-12 scholarships to low-income and working-class students who attend qualified non-public schools throughout Illinois. To date, over 50,000 students across the state have applied for tax credit scholarships from Empower Illinois. This program was established by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and maintains diverse support from trade unions, child advocates, passionate parents, business executives, faith leaders and private school educators. We continue our efforts to not only defend, but also grow and enhance the tax credit scholarship program.
Supporting Gifted & Unique Learners
In Illinois, both low-income students and students of color are greatly underrepresented in gifted programs. As a result, the talents of many of our smartest children go unnoticed. Empower Illinois works to improve funding for these programs and increase enrollment of low-income students and students of color so they have opportunities to realize their full potential. Together with our partner One Chance Illinois-Action, we have advocated for key legislative issues that support these students including a universal screening process to identify gifted and talented students from every community.
Empower Illinois advocates for expanding course offerings to students across diverse learning environments. Many students throughout Illinois lack access to adequate or diversified coursework to prepare them for college or future careers. The courses students take in school open opportunities for their future, and every student should be offered that opportunity regardless of local district resources.
Teacher Tax Credit
Empower Illinois strongly supports teachers and providing them the resources they deserve. Too often, teachers make personal investments to enhance their classrooms with supplies and other learning tools. That is why together with our partner, One Chance Illinois-Action, we championed a $250 tax credit for teacher expenses spent on out of pocket on supplies. Teachers are the backbone of a successful education, and we support policies that acknowledge their dedication to educating our children.
Meeting Students’ Intellectual Needs
Students deserve to be in educational environments that meet their needs. That is why Empower Illinois, in conjunction with One Chance Illinois-Action, advocated for the Accelerated Placement Act, which was signed into law last year and went into effect July 1, 2018. The bill requires all school districts to have a policy based on best practices that allows students to enter school early, enroll in above-grade level classes, or skip grades altogether. Research shows that acceleration benefits advanced learners both academically and emotionally, and has long-lasting impacts into adulthood.