EDUCATION OMNIBUS REFORM BILL FILEDThe Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has filed amendments containing its social justice reform proposals. Separate, and lengthy, bills will be considered regarding human services reforms, judicial/police reforms, and education reforms. The 490 page omnibus education proposal was filed as Senate Amendment 1 to HB 2170. The bill is being sponsored in the Senate by Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood).
The amendment was filed in the Senate, but since the Senate has yet to announce its session schedule it is unknown when it might be considered in committee. The House of Representatives has announced its schedule, first convening tomorrow (Friday, January 8) and wrapping up by Wednesday, January 12. The House has scheduled committees for Friday and Saturday.
As drafted, here are some of the highlights of Senate Amendment #1 to HB 2170.
For School Districts:
Requires school districts to administer a universal screener to identify any deficiencies in reading or math skills to all students in the first and second grades.
Requires reading and math intervention for students in grades K-3 who exhibit a deficiency in reading or math skills.
Adds to high school graduation requirements (by 2024-25 school year) of two years of laboratory science (rather than science) and two years of foreign language.
Adds to high school graduation requirements (by 2021-22 school year) of successful completion of one year of a course that includes intensive instruction in computer literacy.
Requires school district accelerated placement policies to allow for the automatic enrollment, in the following school term, of a high school student into the next level of advanced coursework offered by the high school if the student meets or exceeds state standards in English language arts, mathematics, or science.
Adds 15 additional student attendance days and five teacher in-service days in each of the next three years.
Provides that during the 2021-2022 school year, if a school is closed for more than 5 days of actual pupil attendance because the governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency, the school board shall extend the length of the school day or extend the length of the school term during any of the 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 school years by one additional day of actual pupil attendance for every five days of actual pupil attendance that are missed during the 2021-2022 school year because of the public health emergency.
Requires ISBE to annually assess all public school students entering kindergarten using a common assessment tool to formatively assess their development and readiness for kindergarten (2021-2022 school year).
Requires ISBE to collect and publicly report statistical data on the racial and ethnic demographics of program participants for each program and to make all demographic information collected available to the public and to the General Assembly.
Creates the Whole Child Task Force to establish an equitable, inclusive, safe, and supportive environment in all schools for every student in this state.
Requires the ISBE (together with the Board of Higher Education) to compile a review that identifies, for each public university in the state, the courses the university requires or recommends a high school student take to be admitted to the university as an undergraduate student and requires every public high school to provide access to each course identified to any of its students who request to enroll in the course. Also requires school districts to make available to students in grades 8 through 12 and their parents or guardians the review before the student's course schedule is finalized for the student's particular grade level.
Requires ISBE to create a list of approved anti-racism initiatives that may be implemented by school districts to enhance the educational performance of African American students.
Requires ISBE to develop or adopt rigorous learning standards in the area of computer science.
Requires the Illinois P-20 Council to make recommendations for short-term and long-term learning recovery actions for public school students in the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Requires ISBE to establish Freedom Schools to supplement the learning taking place in public schools by expanding the teaching of Black history, developing leadership skills, and providing an understanding of the tenets of the civil rights movement.
Requires ISBE to establish and implement a grant program to provide grants to public schools, public community colleges, and not-for-profit, community-based organizations to facilitate improved educational outcomes for Black students.
In the Evidence-Based Funding Formula:
Adds criteria that provides for $250 per African American student enrolled if 15% or more of the students enrolled are African American and sets forth how the funding must be utilized and requires reporting.
Sets the funding level at $420,000,000 and if new state funds exceed $370,000,000, then any amount in excess of $370,000,000 shall be dedicated for purposes of property tax relief pool grants.
Requires the State Superintendent of Education to calculate and report to each organizational unit the amount the unit must expend on anti-racism initiatives.
Adds a requirement that Tier 1 and Tier 2 school districts submit documentation on how developmentally appropriate computer literacy instruction is embedded in the curriculum at each grade level.
Requires the Professional Review Panel to ensure that the formula reflects the needs of students living in poverty and that there is racial equity.
Increases amounts and limits in the Invest in Kids Act that provides scholarships for students to attend non-public K-12 schools.
Regarding alternative teacher licensure, removes the requirement that the individual must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale.
Increases scholarship amounts under the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program and provides that at least 35% (rather than 30%) of the funds appropriated for scholarships in each fiscal year shall be reserved for qualified male minority applicants.