“We are a military family and when we moved to Lake County in 2021, we decided to send our daughter to our local public primary school for kindergarten. We researched the school, talked to the staff and we were comfortable with the decision.”
“Soon after the school year began, we encountered a couple problems. There were some students in the class that she was desperate to make friends with and they were extorting her for her costume jewelry in return for their friendship. Her teacher had no idea about it.”
“Then, her peers talked to her about the Uvalde shooting, which was traumatizing for our 5-year-old. Those issues were compounded by our larger concern, which was whether she was learning.”
“We didn’t really see much growth and communication was really lacking from her teacher about her progress. Granted, this was still in the midst of COVID and parents were not allowed in the schools yet. But we were less than thrilled about her education and that propelled us to seek private schools in the area.”
“We started looking at private schools and in one of the schools that we toured, the principal mentioned the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program. So we researched the program, applied and found a great school for our daughter.”
“The Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship really changed our lives. Not only is Emilia able to receive a first-rate education, but it changed her life in the sense that it provides her with a nurturing, yet rigorous space and structure where she can best learn.”
“And the friends that she made. I mean, she’s a military kid, so she’s going to have several moves in her future, but these kids will be lifelong friends for her.”
“Not only that, but the community that we found at East Lake Academy is amazing. As a military family, it is really hard to find people who understand what we go through, and East Lake is so supportive of the military. To find a community that cares about and values you and your family, versus an environment where you may or may not know the teachers or other parents, is so welcoming.”
“East Lake has been the best decision we made in terms of the formation of our kids and us as a family. The school has truly been life-changing for us. The improvement in Emilia’s education and academic achievements has been so impactful for our daughter.”
“I’m aware of a lot of brass-knuckles power politics at play surrounding the scholarship. But as a military spouse with two little girls attending a small private school, if the tax credit scholarship program goes away, that is going to be an absolute nightmare.”
“You can’t help but see the hypocrisy in the fact that the Chicago Teachers Union president sends her eldest son to a private school because the lack of resources and less than desirable state of her local public high school. I know the director of government relations at the Illinois Education Association also sends his children to private Catholic schools.”
“The teachers unions and the Illinois Education Association are basically playing hardline partisan politics when our children’s education is at stake. To the Democratic representatives, they’re saying that if you vote for this bill to make it to the floor, we will retaliate by ousting you in the next election.”
“The fact that this program could end because of partisan politics is insane. These representatives are supposed to represent us, the constituents, not the teachers’ unions and not the IEA.”
“This is the education of the children of your state. It’s not about politics. A good education shouldn’t be about which district you’re in or how much money your family needs. That’s the entire basis of the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program.”
“If you take that away, not only are you taking the choice away from thousands of families in the state, but you’re also squashing all our hopes that our kids get to be in their best learning environment. And for a military kid, that means a lot.”
“We make a lot of sacrifices as a military family, but one thing we don’t want to sacrifice is our kids’ education. Our kids are going to move a lot in the future and go through difficult academic transitions. One curriculum may not be the same as another curriculum from state to state.”
“We don’t always have the ability to choose where we go, that rests with the government. But we should have the ability to choose where our kids can get the best education just like the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union and IEA do.”
“Illinois legislators are playing partisan politics as opposed to looking out for the education of our kids and it’s not right to take that tax credit scholarship program away from military families who already sacrifice so much. It’s like our Illinois representatives are shutting the door and leaving our children behind.”
“There are a lot of issues going on in the world today. But at your local level and the state level, I think this is an issue that can unite us.”
“The scholarship is called Invest in Kids. Invest in your kids, Illinois.”
April Colette, Ph.D.
Geographer, mother of two
Have a story to share?
Tell us how a state or local policy affects your life.
If we decide to feature your story, one of our writers will reach out to you directly.