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Education

  • Koehler: Local schools to get nearly $2 million for digital upgrades

    E-learningPEORIA – School districts in the 46th Illinois Senate District are set to receive nearly $2 million in government funding to improve students’ access to digital technology, including more than $700,000 for Peoria School District 150.

    “E-learning is playing such an important role as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “I know our local school districts will use these funds to help ensure every student has access to the technology they need to continue their education during this difficult time.”

  • Black Caucus demands racial equity at all levels of education and workforce development

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

    CHICAGO — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus called for equitable resources for Black students who have been historically marginalized and underserved in a press conference on Wednesday at Chicago State University, prior to a scheduled Senate committee hearing on the matter.

    The Black Caucus discussed their efforts to develop an agenda to overcome racial disparities in early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education and workforce training.

    ILBC Chairman Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said Black students deserve to have the same quality of education as students of any other race in the state.

  • Bertino-Tarrant, McGuire to lead hearing on Early Childhood Education Funding and Access to Early Literacy

    preschool 091620SPRINGFIELD –State Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) and Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) will host a subject matter hearing on early childhood education funding and access to early literacy Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m.

    “Illinois children should be given the opportunity to succeed – from the day they enter preschool,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “That starts with expanding evidence-based funding to early childhood education programs.”

  • Black Caucus agenda to take on racial disparity in education and workforce development

    black student 091620CHICAGO—In response to longstanding racial disparities in early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education, and other forms of workforce training, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will discuss their developing agenda to provide equitable resources to students in Black communities throughout the state at a press conference at Chicago State University on Wednesday.

    Education is the second of four major policy pillars the Black Caucus is focusing on to develop their legislative agenda. They include:

    • Criminal justice reform, violence reduction and police accountability
    • Education and workforce development
    • Economic access, equity and opportunity
    • Health care and human services

    A virtual joint hearing on education and higher education will follow the press conference at noon on Wednesday. The Black Caucus plans to have a series of hearings for each of the pillars. A hearing for the first pillar was already held. It focused on police accountability.

    Who:Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

    When: Sept. 16, 10 a.m.

    Where: The press conference will be held at Chicago State University located at 9501 South King Dr., in the 4th floor auditorium of the Gwendolyn Brooks Library. It can also be viewed on www.blueroomstream.com, a subscription-based service.

  • Bennett highlights local schools set to receive grants to support future educators

    TeacherCHAMPAIGN – In an effort to recruit and support future educators, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is excited to announce nine local schools will receive Education Career Pathways Grants from the Illinois State Board of Education.

    “Teachers play an important role in our society and have the power to bring about change in a student’s life,” Bennett said. “This grant is an opportunity to support diversity in the teaching workforce, which will contribute to students’ desire to learn and overall performance in the classroom.”

    The Education for Employment System #330 in Champaign has been awarded $85,450, which will be distributed to nine high schools in Champaign County to assist these schools in developing Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to prepare students for careers in education.

    CTE programs help students develop technical and employability skills while strengthening their core academic abilities to enable them to pursue higher education opportunities and succeed in the workforce. Students in CTE programs also have the opportunity to earn dual credit or credentials and certifications from partner institutions before graduating high school.

    The programs will place a special focus on recruiting underrepresented students into education careers to help meet the high demand for teachers of color across Illinois.

    Nearly $2 million in total funding has been awarded to 11 Education for Employment Systems statewide to recruit and support future educators at 62 high schools and vocational centers across the state. For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about career and college readiness programs in Illinois, visit www.ISBE.net/CTE.

  • Jones supports tax credit for West Pullman Elementary School to become an affordable housing complex

    Senator JonesCHICAGO – State Senator Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) applauds the West Pullman Elementary School project being a recipient of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, which will allow for the recently-closed school to turn into an affordable housing complex.

    “This program prioritizes revitalization projects in underprivileged communities and will ultimately accommodate the improvement of the local economy,” Jones said. “I fully support any agenda that drives investments to low-income communities and leads to new jobs, better housing, and other ways to redevelop the community.”

    In 2013, West Pullman Elementary School was one of the 49 schools closed across Chicago. The school will be renovated into a 60-unit affordable senior housing. The project is a certified rehabilitation project making it eligible for a tax credit of 25% of its qualified rehabilitation costs up to $3 million per project. Credits are limited to $15 million per year, with a total of $75 million in tax credits available over the five years.

    The West Pullman Elementary project is one of four building rehabilitation projects receiving allocations for state income tax credits in the second application round. During the first application round, 16 historic properties in nine different communities received the state’s tax credit across— putting the total private reinvestment of all projects to exceed an estimated $290 million.

    The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, provides a priority for buildings in low-income areas, federally declared disaster areas, and counties that border a state with a competitive statewide historic tax credit.

  • Bertino-Tarrant shares guidelines for in-person learning to resume

    classroom 062320PLAINFIELD — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to steadily decrease, schools across the state have the green light to reopen this fall, but not without following a set of guidelines, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) highlighted Tuesday. 

    “Teachers, parents and students have done a great job adjusting to a situation they never expected to find themselves in,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “However, nothing compares to the positive impact of in-person learning.”

     

  • Stadelman emphasizes funding for e-learning and federal support for Rockford Public Schools

    Senator StadelmanROCKFORD – Yesterday, Governor Pritzker signed into law a measure that will provide assistance to teachers and schools in light of the challenges they continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) supported that measure and has called for additional federal aid to help Rockford Public Schools weather the pandemic and implement e-learning.

    “The federal funds for Rockford schools, in addition to this law, will help Rockford area schools make the changes they need to guide our children through this crisis,” Stadelman said. “Both the funding and the law support e-learning at home – an important safety precaution that may still be necessary in the fall.”

    The education package extends teacher license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students don’t have to risk getting sick in order to take an exam they need to apply for college.

    The total amount of funding Illinois schools are set to receive is close to $570 million, with Rockford expected to receive about $11.7 million, second only to Chicago Public Schools.

    “I encourage school districts to find new ways to use this additional funding along with the guidance signed today, to strengthen the newly created infrastructures of e-learning and remote learning,” Stadelman said.

    The federal government’s coronavirus stimulus will send $13.5 billion to schools across the country for meal programs, technology purchases, remote learning infrastructure, distance mental health programs and counseling for students, sanitization and deep cleaning, and summer programs to help address learning gaps.

    The education package, Senate Bill 1569, was signed into law June 18. The measure takes effect immediately.

  • New education laws will help students succeed as remote learning continues

    elearningCHICAGO – Teachers and students will have extra support during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to an education package championed by State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) that was signed into law on Thursday.

    “These changes will help students and teachers to overcome the new challenges they face during the pandemic,” Villanueva said. “As we move forward, we must find new ways to ensure that students are able to maintain a path to success in their education.”

    The education package extends educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students will not need to risk infection while taking a required college entry exam.

    For higher education courses, a grade of “pass”, “credit” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses. The package also modifies the income requirements for the AIM HIGH education grant program. Under this new provision, a student’s income when they enter the program will remain their income for the duration of their inclusion in the program.

    Senate Bill 1569 was signed by the governor on Thursday and is effective immediately.

  • Crowe supports new law to assist schools with pandemic challenges

    crowe 060319MARYVILLE – As part of the state’s response to COVID-19, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) supported legislation to help school districts address the challenges created by the pandemic, signed into law Thursday by the governor.

    Senate Bill 1569 makes a number of changes that help schools adjust to remote learning and other challenges imposed by the pandemic, including:

    Allowing for the creation of remote learning days and remote learning plans,

    Allowing for a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction,

    Suspending clock hour requirements when a disaster is declared,

    Affirming graduation modifications granted to Spring 2020 graduates, and

    Allowing mandated exams to be completed remotely.

    “No one can predict our circumstances in the fall. This law allows school districts to adapt,” Crowe said. “It should help educators find new ways of educating students through e-learning.”

    Because teacher evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year have been paused due to COVID-19, the measure extends teacher license renewals by one year.

    The legislation also extends a law allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes for up to 120 paid days or 600 paid hours without impairing their retirement status.

    “Illinois’ teacher shortage continues to affect communities throughout the state,” Crowe said. “Recognizing the ongoing struggle for downstate school districts to staff qualified teachers, this initiative protects retired teachers’ benefits while allowing them to serve as long-term substitutes.”

    Finally, the legislation also makes it easier for college students who receive financial assistance through the Aspirational Institutional Match Illinois Grow Higher Education Grant Pilot Program, also known as AIM HIGH, to retain their aid for the duration of their four years of undergraduate studies.

    AIM HIGH provides financial assistance to eligible low-income students who attend one of the state’s 12 public universities. Under the measure, the income of a student when entering the program will be the income of the student for the life of the program.

    Senate Bill 1569 is effective immediately.

  • Belt supports new education package to help teachers and students through the COVID-19 crisis

    belt 050819EAST ST. LOUIS – To help schools overcome obstacles caused by COVID-19, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) supported a new package of legislation containing numerous measures to provide teachers and students with the tools they need to adapt during the current health crisis.

    “Students have been deprived of many milestones, like proms and graduations, and remote learning hasn’t been an easy transition for kids or teachers,” Belt said. “This education package is an effort to provide schools with the resources they need to get through this difficult period.”

    The education package contains a number of measures to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a one-year extension for educator license renewals, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. 

    The legislation also allows mandatory tests to be taken remotely to enable students to take college readiness exams without risking their health. 

    Certain provisions relate to higher education during the pandemic. Under the new law, any grade of “pass,” “credit” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced college courses. 

    It also modifies income requirements for the state's AIM HIGH education grant program, saying a student’s income when they enter the program will remain their income for the duration of their inclusion in the program.

    Senate Bill 1569 was signed into law Thursday.  

  • COVID-19 response package for education signed into law

    bennett 052419SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) lent his support to a comprehensive education package that was signed into law Thursday. It addresses the unique challenges facing the state’s education system due to COVID-19. 

    “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, schools shifted to remote learning, leaving teachers, students and families to face unfamiliar challenges for the remainder of the spring semester,” Bennett said. “This package offers them support during an unprecedented time and ensures students will get the best education possible – whether it be online or in-person.”

    The education package does a number of things to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including extending educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. 

    Additionally, for public college and university students, any grade of “pass,” “credit,” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses. 

    The legislation – Senate Bill 1569 – was signed into law Thursday and takes effect immediately.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s education package signed into law

    Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — The state’s education package spearheaded by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), which will provide assistance and relief to teachers and schools that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, became law today.

    “Teachers and students are dealing with a situation they could have never planned for, so it’s our responsibility to ensure they get the support they need,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our educators must be equipped with the right tools to give students a quality education — even if they do so from a distance.”

    The education package does a number of things to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes extending educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students don’t have to risk getting sick in order to take an exam they need to apply for college.

    Additionally, relating to higher education, any grade of “pass,” “credit,” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses.

    “Students who worked hard on their classes during unprecedented circumstances should not have to sacrifice that work because they didn’t get a typical letter grade,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Allowing students who have completed the coursework to get the credit is a commonsense practice.”

    It also modifies income requirements for the state's AIM HIGH education grant program, saying a student’s income when they enter the program will remain their income for the duration of their inclusion in the program.

    “Investing in our children is one of the best investments we can make,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I’m proud to have carried this package through the Senate and onto the governor’s office.”

    The education package — found in Senate Bill 1569 — was signed into law June 18 and takes effect immediately.

  • Martinez announces Chicago Public Schools to receive grant

    Senator MartinezCHICAGO – To recruit and retain quality educators at city schools, Chicago Public Schools will receive a $200,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to support teacher residencies, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) announced Thursday.

    “Although teachers have always played a vital role in our communities by educating our youth, we’ve really seen a wave of appreciation and support due to the extra sacrifices and hard work educators have exhibited during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martinez said. “Encouraging more people to join the teaching profession and investing in residency programs is an important step to offer the opportunity to inspired, educated individuals considering making a career change.”

    Teacher residency programs offer an alternative to the traditional teacher preparation experience. In partnership with state-recognized higher education institutions that have approved teacher preparation programs, residency programs provide clinical experience alongside mentor teachers, while also providing additional staffing in high-need areas.

    ISBE is accepting applications for the next round of Teacher Residency Planning Grants. The grant application is open to local education agencies that serve high numbers of students of color or low-income students, or have a high demand for new teachers.

    Interested applicants can learn more about the grants and apply here.

  • North Chicago school district to receive $200,000 teacher residency grant

    Senator LinkNORTH CHICAGO – North Chicago CUSD 187 will receive a $200,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to implement teacher residencies, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced Thursday.

    “Illinois is facing a teacher shortage, and it’s essential that we provide school districts with all the tools available to recruit and retain qualified teachers,” Link said. “Teacher residency programs provide yet another pathway to help schools ensure they can put high-quality teachers in classrooms.”

    Teacher residency programs offer an alternative to the traditional teacher preparation experience. In partnership with state-recognized higher education institutions that have approved teacher preparation programs, residency programs provide clinical experience alongside mentor teachers while also providing additional staffing in high-need areas.

    The State Board of Education is also now accepting applications for the next round of Teacher Residency Planning Grants. The grant application is open to local education agencies that serve high numbers of students of color or low-income students, or have a high demand for new teachers.

    For more information or to apply, visit www.isbe.net/Pages/Educator-Effectiveness-Grants.aspx.

  • Seclusion room measures excluded from education legislation

    seclusionroom 052320SPRINGFIELD – As the Senate approved an education plan without addressing the abuse of seclusion rooms in schools, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “I am incredibly disappointed that the provisions to protect our most vulnerable students were excluded from the final bill. Advocates and I are trying to address the reality of children being shackled in our schools, while the opposition is more concerned with administrative provisions in the legislation.

    “When physical attendance at schools resumes, our children should not fear that their basic dignity will be stripped away. I remain committed to ending the inhumane practices of prone restraint and the abuse of seclusion rooms.”

  • COVID-19 response package for education heads to governor’s desk

    manar floor 052120SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly today approved legislation to help rank-and-file teachers and school districts address the unique challenges to Illinois’ education system created by COVID-19.

     

    Senate Bill 1569 makes a number of changes that help schools adjust to remote learning, including the following:

     

     

    • Allows for the creation of remote learning days and remote learning plans
    • Allows for a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction
    • Suspends clock hour requirements when a disaster is declared
    • Affirms graduation modifications granted to Spring 2020 graduates
    • Allows mandated exams to be completed remotely

    “This package provides school districts more flexibility and creativity to work around the limitations posed by COVID-19,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “This will help them deliver the best possible learning experience for their students as the circumstances evolve over the next year.”

    Because teacher evaluations for the 20-21 school year have been paused due to COVID-19, SB 1569 extends teacher license renewals by one year.

    The legislation also extends a law allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom as substitutes for up to 120 paid days or 600 paid hours without impairing their retirement status. Originally passed by Senator Manar in 2017, the program has helped address the severe teacher shortage facing downstate school districts.

    “Over the past few months, aspiring, current, and retired teachers have stepped up to serve their communities in ways many of them have never imagined they would,” Manar. “They’ve gone above and beyond to be there for their students, despite a host of administrative and financial challenges. I’m pleased that we were able to remove some of those hurdles and sources of uncertainty.”

    Finally, the legislation also makes it easier for college students who receive financial assistance through the Aspirational Institutional Match Illinois Grow Higher Education Grant Pilot Program, also known as AIM HIGH, to retain their aid for the duration of their four years of undergraduate studies.

    AIM HIGH provides financial assistance to eligible low-income students who attend one of the state’s 12 public universities. Under the measure, the income of a student when entering the program will be the income of the student for the life of the program.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s education package passes Senate

    education 052020

  • Bennett votes in favor of education package

    Sen. Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD Students and educators have faced tremendous barriers with COVID-19, which has impacted every classroom in Illinois. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) recognized the challenges they face and favorably voted for an education package to make a high quality education available for students at all levels, whether it be in-person or remotely.

    “It is imperative we continue to invest in our education system, especially in these unfortunate times,” said Bennett, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “I have always prioritized education during my time in the General Assembly, and I believe people will need higher education and job training more than ever after this pandemic.”

  • The Majority Report 04/27/20 - Parks, some businesses reopen in May

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    Unemployment and the CARES Act: What you need to know

    Umemployment

    SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Dept. of Employment Security has released updates on unemployment insurance programs that have been put in place in response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Illinoisans’ jobs.

    Employees who have become unemployed through no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment insurance. A new program covers those workers who are considered part of the “gig economy” or other independent contractors who were not eligible before.

    There are three new federal programs under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus package recently passed by Congress: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    Read more.

     


    Lightford announces expansion of COVID-19 testing in black communities

    Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordCHICAGO — Senate Majority Leader and Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is backing Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in African-American and other minority communities across Illinois.

    “Governor Pritzker’s leadership has been incredible throughout this devastating crisis,” Lightford said. “His announcement today shows his commitment to people from every part of our state, and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus will continue to work alongside him to support his efforts.”

    Read more.

     

     

     

     


    Bertino-Tarrant reacts to governor's school closure Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

    PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Friday she supports Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to close in-person classes for the rest of the school year as a way to keep children and families safe from COVID-19.

    “The decision made by our governor Friday afternoon to close schools for the rest of the academic year is best for the safety and health of our community and all of Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Thanks to the hard work and support from our teachers, students will continue education through e-learning and other at-home programs.”

    Read more.

     

     


    McGuire urges people to donate blood, register as organ donor Donate Life

    JOLIET — To help the many people who will need it during the pandemic, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) urged residents to donate blood, bone marrow and organs during April, which is National Donate Life Month.

    “The pandemic is a cruel double whammy,” McGuire said. “Patients need blood now, and those who survive might need organs later in life due to the virus' damage to the body. People need donated blood and organs for lots of other medical conditions, too.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    In case you missed it

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    Senator Patrick Joyce, Essex: Only trust information on COVID-19 from reliable sources | Daily Journal

     


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