As previously reported, the Illinois General Assembly has returned to Springfield to convene a “lame duck” session prior to inaugurating the 102nd General Assembly members.
Amendments were filed Saturday afternoon to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus education omnibus bill (Senate Am. 2 to HB 2170 & House Am. 2 to SB 458), shortening the bill by about 200 pages and removing or delaying previous proposals that caused significant financial concerns.
Although changes to graduation requirements and other coursework remain, the bill outlines that some of these requirements will be studied for future feasibility and available resources. We appreciate the acknowledgement by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus of the fiscal and staffing challenges schools face, and their efforts to address and study those challenges before implementing new mandates.
Items that remain in the bill include:
Curriculum and Assessments
- Codifying the KIDS (kindergarten) assessment.
- New graduation requirements:
- Beginning with the 2028-2029 school year, 2 years of a foreign language for high school graduation, and after financial impact review.
- Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, requiring 2 years of laboratory science (rather than "science")
- Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, students in grades 9-12 must complete one year of a course that includes intensive instruction in computer literacy, which may be English, social studies, or any other subject and may be counted toward the fulfillment of other graduation requirements.
- Requires all school districts to ensure students receive developmentally appropriate opportunities to gain computer literacy skills beginning in elementary school.
- Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, requires districts to provide an opportunity for students to take at least one computer science course in grades 9-12.
- Review of social studies standards to be inclusive and reflective of all individuals in this country.
- Creates an Inclusive American History Commission to review available resources to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the State and country, provide guidance for learning standards to ensure instruction and content are not biased to specific cultures, time periods, and experiences, and, review tools and support for professional learning. Commission members would include teachers, a principal, school librarian, school board member, and a superintendent.
- Adds the history of pre-enslavement of Black people and the study of the American civil rights renaissance to existing Black History curriculum.
Whole Child Initiatives
- Creation of a Whole Child Task Force to review training in restorative practices, implicit bias, mental health services, and SEL services, and make recommendations on anti-racist and trauma-responsive strategies and practices. Task force members would include 2 school administrators, a principal, and a school board member.
Diversifying and Growing the Educator Pipeline
- Removes GPA requirement (3.0/4.0) for alternative educator licensure programs.
- Increases funding allotments for the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program based on available appropriations.
Items in the previous amendment that were of significant fiscal concern have been removed. Those items include:
- Extending the School Year (15 additional attendance days; 5 teacher institute days) - This issue will be further studied by the Illinois P-20 Council.
- Evidence-Based Funding Formula Changes - The Professional Review Panel will instead be tasked with ensuring the formula addresses racial equity and examining adequacy targets for school districts.
- Dyslexia screening requirements.
- Reading/math interventions in grades K-3.
It is anticipated that these amendments will be considered and likely approved in both the House and Senate during the lame duck session which ends Wednesday. Additional Advocacy in Action reports will be sent if there are further changes or updates to the legislation.
Please contact Alison Maley with any questions or concerns.