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.
Important news from the IL State Board of Education last night, no federally-mandated testing for 2021 will take place in Illinois until at least March 15.
This is a big deal. Despite the fact that states have begun to request waivers for 2021 tests, the outgoing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said none will be granted. The incoming Biden administration has not yet said where they stand on a moratorium on standardized testingRead more