Illinois lawmakers send education reform bill to Gov. JB Pritzker

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois lawmakers are working to make changes to the state's education system, including the way Black history lessons are taught in schools.

Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D- IL 4th District) said the education reform bill ensures that Black children have the tools to reach their potential.

"I believe children in our future will have far better opportunities to receive a quality education than we did," Lightford said.

The legislation calls for new early childhood education programs.

"We want to make sure children are assessed when they arrive so that we can know what their needs are, and if those needs are requiring early interventions," Lightford said.

The bill also includes new standards for high school students, a whole child task force to address trauma, and a commission to make sure American History taught in schools is more inclusive. It also addresses the shortage of black teachers.

"We've seen years and years and decades and generations of disinvestment, specifically in particularly in Black and brown communities when it comes to education. And education gap turns into the achievement gap, which turns into the life expectancy and quality of life gap," said State Rep. Kam Buckner (D- IL 26th District).

Natasha Dunn, the mother of a CPS sixth grader and an education activist, applauds lawmakers' efforts to improve the educational outcomes of Black students.

"There are a lot of things in there that I'm excited about," Dunn said. "I do think that it's room for improvement."

Lightford said she spoke with Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday night and he's looking forward to signing the bill.
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