1. 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, One Chance Illinois’ partner organization Empower Illinois has awarded more than 20,000 scholarships and raised more than $170 million through this program.

The Tax Credit Scholarship Program was established in 2017 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.

2. 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. One Chance 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. 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. In 2016, working alongside the Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) and Empower Illinois, One Chance Illinois Action helped pass the Untapped Potential Act, which requires local school districts to screen students universally using local norms in order to qualify for gifted and talented programs. Learn more about Illinois’ students’ untapped potential. 

3. Course Access

One Chance 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.

4. Teacher Tax Credit

One Chance Illinois strongly supports teachers and providing them with the resources they deserve. Too often, teachers make personal investments to enhance their classrooms with supplies and other learning tools. That is why One Chance Illinois 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. For more information on how to claim this tax credit, click here. 

5. 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, advocated for the Accelerated Placement Act, which was signed into law in 2017 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.


To tackle this problem, One Chance Illinois Action has partnered with a broad coalition of nonpublic schools, trade labor unions, businesses, and community organizations who are committed to ensuring students have more education and career pathways that are not limited based on income. Our partners in the Future of Illinois initiative include the Operating Engineers Local 150, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among others. LEARN MORE



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