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Illinois lawmakers are approving a massive reform bill designed to address racism and inequities in the state’s education system.
The legislation approaches the problem from several angles…such as kindergarten readiness and a lack of advanced placement classes in poorer school districts. Senator Kimberly Lightford says they also want to attract and retain more minority teachers, especially male teachers.
“In year one, we are looking to specifically dual set aside so that African American male teachers are created and in place as soon as possible. They need to be visible for our young people.”.
The legislation aims to attract more minority teachers, make sure pre-schoolers are ready for kindergarten, and eventually requires high schoolers to take two years of foreign language and lab sciences to help them get into college. Representative CD Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville says he supports improving education opportunities for students, but wonders how the state is going to pay for this.
“This is more spending for the state of Illinois. It is going to have to cut current programs or we will just go further in debt and it is a local property tax increase. So if you’re voting for this, it is a property tax increase. They have to pay for it somehow.”
Supporters say this is about equity and making sure minority students have the same access to a good education that all other kids do. The bill now goes to the governor for approval.