050216CM0431SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that will help high schools in Illinois better prepare their students for the 21st century workforce passed the Senate today.

The measure, called the 2016 Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, would require districts that participate to develop a model for better college and career preparedness and a curriculum that aligns with that model. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said that a more knowledgeable workforce is vital for Illinois’ future.

“Illinois has made it a priority that by 2025, 60 percent of the adult workforce will have a post-secondary credential, whether that’s a college diploma or an advanced training certificate,” said McGuire, the act’s chief co-sponsor. “That means everyone who graduates from high school must be ready to move ahead by learning more.”

To address that, the legislation requires participating districts to develop “pathways” for students to earn college credit in mathematics. Students would then choose a pathway that aligns with their college or career goals, such as STEM, other technical fields or data analysis. Other provisions in the act include development of industry sector endorsements on diplomas to show that graduates have taken coursework that prepares them for their intended career path and opportunities to earn credit outside of school, such as an internship or work experience.

“Education is becoming like a series of extension ladders,” McGuire said. “Preschool now overlaps with grade school, grade school with high school and high school with college. That’s how our students and our state will continue to climb.”

House Bill 5729, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) passed both chambers unopposed and now awaits the governor’s signature.

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For the Common Good

August 21, 2015

Dear Friends,

You’ve probably read that over 80% of the State of Illinois Fiscal Year 2016 budget already is out the door or on its way out the door due to various legal requirements.  That means public schools are getting their state aid, state employees are getting paid, and Medicaid claims are being paid. That’s all good.

However, that 20% of the budget not yet funded means the following people aren’t getting the help they need:

--Clients of human services providers such as Cornerstone;
--Kids who need child-care while their parents are working or going to school;
--College students who need state financial aid.

Governor Rauner and I have talked about the budget impasse. He insists that the General Assembly limit collective bargaining before he’ll sign a complete budget.

I think this is a harmful demand.  The ability of private and public employees to organize unions and negotiate contracts helped build the middle class in our state. At a time when the rich are getting richer and the middle class is shrinking, moving toward eliminating unions in Illinois is wrong morally, socially and economically.

Please urge Governor Rauner to set aside his anti-union obsession and work with members of both parties on a realistic budget which does not leave any deserving resident of Illinois behind.

Sincerely,

April 2014 E-Newsletter

March 2014 E-Newsletter

November 2013 E-Newsletter

May 2013 E-Newsletter