Bills Spring 2021

Some bills haven't been filed yet, so they don't have a bill number. We'll update our page as soon as the bills get numbers. With the uncertainty around the pandemic and vaccination schedules, it is not clear how active the legislature will be this session, but we’re hoping that legislators get more done this year than they did last year. Note that things change rapidly in Springfield! This isn’t an exhaustive list of what will be introduced this year and what will need our support (or opposition!) You can take our survey on which bills you most want to help us get passed!

Elected Representative School Board for Chicago - SB2497 Chicago is the only school district in the state with a mayoral appointed school board. This bill would give CPS an elected board.

Right to Play Every Day - SB654 Provides all students in public schools grades kindergarten through eighth 60 minutes of unstructured, screen-free play time every day. Time can be subdivided into breaks at least fifteen minutes long. Schools are encouraged to hold this time outdoors, but may hold it indoors. This bill is an initiative of IL Families for Public Schools that's being reintroduced this session.

Seclusion/Restraint - HB219 Prohibits schools from placing students in isolation rooms. This legislation was addressed in response to an investigation by ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune of how students across the state were being tragically harmed by the use of seclusion. More about this legislation here

Inclusive Local School Councils - HB251 Reduces barriers for civically engaged parents and community leaders to serve as Local School Council (LSC) members in CPS. Allows CPS to amend the LSC candidate eligibility to that of parent and community members classified as Level II volunteers while ensuring that LSC candidates are screened against the Sex Offender and Violent Offender Against Youth Databases.

No Videotaping for Teacher Licensure Prohibits any requirement of videotaping of student teachers or their students in order for the student teacher to receive their license. Currently, ISBE requires student teachers to pass the edTPA an assessment for which video is uploaded and sent to Pearson, Inc. for evaluation. You can read more about the problems with the edTPA including the video component here.

Test Optional Admissions for Public Universities - HB226 Makes it optional for applications to submit a standardized test score to gain admission to any Illinois public institution of higher education. (For more information about the key role in test-optional admissions for resisting the misuse and overuse of standardized testing, see Fair Test's extensive list of resources.)

Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH)- HB376 Requires every public elementary school and high school to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history

LSCs for All - SB2042 Establishes elected Local School Councils for Chicago charter schools and other district-run CPS schools that currently have appointed LSCs ("ALSCs"). It also adds an appointed student member to LSCs that serve students in 7th and 8th grade but don't currently have a student member, and creates new support for LSC certification training. 

Absences for mental health - HB576 Adds mental or behavioral health issue to list of excused absence causes by illness 

Special education maximum age extension - HB558 Extends special education services throughout the school year of a student’s 22nd birthday, rather than cutting off services on their 22nd birthday. 

Schools closed for Election Day - HB27 Replaces Columbus Day with Election Day for a state holiday. Schools would be closed for Election Day

Cost of living refund - HB2792 The failure of the Fair Tax amendment means that Illinois' tax system is still deeply regressive. Those who can pay the least, pay the most, and we can't increase revenue without hurting those who can least afford to pay. This bill tackles that by expanding and modernizing the earned income credit, which will especially help low- and middle-income families with children, including adding credit for unpaid caregivers. More about this legislation here.

Indigenous Peoples Day - HB3982 Designates the second Monday in October as a new state holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day, replacing Columbus Day. IL Families for Public Schools is part of the coalition of over 80 organizations supporting this change for Illinois and Chicago.