Hundreds of bills are introduced in Springfield every session. Here's some of the bills that we'll be supporting or following closely during the spring 2022 session of the 102nd IL General Assembly. (This is an unusually short session that is scheduled to end April 8th instead of May 31st; there's a smaller volume of legislation under consideration than in a typical year.)
Too Young to Test HB 5285 / SB 3986- [Fact Sheet] This bill would prohibit state developing, funding or requiring standardized testing before 3rd grade with exceptions for assessment for diagnostic and screening purposes, federally-required tests for English-language learners, the KIDS observational assessment tool that the state requires in kindergarten and tests paid for with local/district dollars. The federal government has never included K-2 in its regimen for annual math and reading tests; this is because large-scale standardized testing is not a valid or reliable measure of what children under 8 years know and can do. Expanding the state testing system into PreK-2nd grade shouldn't even be an option; this legislation would protect those grades from that encroachment going forward.
Other bills we support
Earned Income and Child Tax Credit HB 4920 Expands and modernizes the earned income credit, which will especially help low- and middle-income families with children, including adding credit for unpaid caregivers. The failure of the Fair Tax amendment on the ballot in November 2020 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. Advocacy orgs from around the state, including IL Families for Public Schools, are partnering with the Cost of Living Refund Coalition to ameliorate the effects of IL’s regressive tax policies with tax credits for lower-income brackets to offset the impact of a flat tax, including supporting this legislation. Read more about the legislation the coalition is advocating for here.
Limit 3-8th grade testing to once/year - HB 5149 [Fact Sheet] Prohibits the IL State Board of Education from requiring more than annual math and reading testing in grades 3rd-8th. The federal government only requires annual testing in 3rd-8th grades in math and reading, but the ISBE would like to increase this to three times per year.
Better School Lunches HB 4813 This bill allows school districts to select a food service contractor based on factors other than the lowest bid. Illinois is one of only two states where districts are forced to pick the lowest bid. Read more about this bill here.
- One-pager on the basics of the Fair Tax amendment from the Vote Yes for Fair Tax coalition
- One-pager on Racial Equity and the Fair Tax amendment from the Vote Yes for Fair Tax coalition
- A good longer read giving some of the history of why IL doesn't have a Fair Tax from a former reporter and public ed supporter who's been an education policy expert and commentator in Springfield for many decades, Jim Broadway. We highly recommend subscribing to his news service.
- Eric Zorn had a good debunking of many of the common arguments against the Fair Tax in his column this spring
- Op-ed from Cook Co Assessor Fritz Kaegi "How a graduated-rate income tax can increase school funding"
- Column on the Fair Tax benefits for the working class from Ralph Matire, head of the non-partisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
- Calculator to see what you'd pay under new rates. 97% of taxpayers will pay the same or less under the graduated rates.
- Basic stats on local and state tax burden in IL. We have the 8th most regressive taxation system in the US---mostly because we do not have a graduated rate income tax.
- And here's our slide show we've been using for info sessions on the Fair Tax.
Public schools are playing a vital role in helping families through the current crisis and in the recovery period to come. The pandemic and school closures have made it clearer than ever that public schools are the center of our communities and our children’s education.Read more
Forty-three states, including Illinois, have closed K-12 schools for the remainder of the year. Mass closures and a sudden switch to crisis schooling from a distance have prompted reflections on the crucial role of schools for children and communities. It’s also prompted speculation about what changes might take place longer term as a result of the closings and the pandemic.
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