Image by Jason Sung

Our Mission

One Chance Illinois – Action (OCI-A) believes that children only get one chance at a quality education. We must do everything we can to ensure that Illinois’s children get the education they need and deserve. One Chance Illinois – Action is a 501c4 social welfare organization with a mission to advance public policy that expands quality educational options for the low-income and working families of Illinois.

Our Initiatives

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, Scholarship Granting Organizations have utilized the tax credit to award more than 30,000 scholarships and raised approximately $275 million to help kids.

 

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.

Class Portrait

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 children go unnoticed. One Chance Illinois – Action works to improve funding for these programs and increase enrollment of low-income students, students with disabilities, 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, OCI-A 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. 

Computer Class

3. Course Access

OCI-A 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 the opportunity to take a wide range of coursework, regardless of local district resources.

Young Vlogger

4. Teacher Tax Credit

One Chance Illinois – Action 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 OCI-A 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. 

Image by Gautam Arora

5. Meeting Students’ Intellectual Needs

Students deserve to be in educational environments that meet their needs. That is why One Chance Illinois – Action, in partnership with Empower 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.

Image by Annie Spratt
 

One Chance Illinois-Action is proud to announce our new priority - kids with Unique Abilities!

 

OCI-A believes parents, grandparents, guardians, and foster parents of children with unique learning needs should be empowered to choose the high-quality, inclusive education options that best meets their children’s needs so they can become the people they were meant to be.

 

That’s right, the same advocacy organization that has successfully passed into law:

  • A tax credit for teachers’ out-of-pocket-expenses

  • “The Untapped Potential Act” to better identify low-income gifted children as gifted to enroll in specialized magnet schools

  • The “Acceleration Act,” allowing kids to advance at their level of competency

  • The "Invest in Kids Act," the tax credit scholarship program that has so far generated over $250,000,000 scholarships... 

 

…is now building on these successes, to focus on the learning needs of children with “unique abilities and needs” - kids living with Down syndrome, autism, twice exceptional, profoundly gifted, learning disorders, English language learners, and those with mental health barriers.

To join our movement, CLICK HERE.