Students at any grade level have different needs in order to feel challenged and supported in the classroom. Sometimes, public school fits the bill. For Lila -- who is, in her mother's words, "a beautiful, vivacious eight-year-old little girl...who just happens to have Down Syndrome" -- it didn't. Her public school wasn't equipped to help her thrive. Palmetto Promise Institute recognizes that Lila and many other students need flexibility, and their parents want their education tax dollars to follow their kids to the schools that suit them best. They are helping Lila's parents and many others fight for school choice in South Carolina. In order to do that, lawmakers and the community need to understand why this is necessary and even urgent.
The Palmetto Promise Institute hired Iron Light to tell Lila's story. It's important for decision makers and voters to understand why school choice is so vital to students. Illustrating how Lila thrives in a specialized school shows the human lives impacted when parents have a choice where they send their child to school. It puts a shining face behind the facts and figures, the policies and paperwork.
As pressure was mounting in the South Carolina Statehouse for lawmakers to do something about their state's struggling education system, the Lila video was promoted aggressively, geofenced around the Statehouse and legislative office buildings, earning more than 56,000 views. Just as momentum was building and lawmakers seemed poised to act, the legislative session was canceled due to COVID. However, in July SC Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order, providing funding for a program that would extend much-needed aid for thousands of families like Lila's. In the video announcing the program, footage of Lila was prominently featured.