SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) was pleased to announce the governor signed into law on Friday three pieces of legislation she sponsored to improve the quality of public K-12 education in Illinois.
· House Bill 3199 requires charter schools, which are funded with public dollars, to comply with all state absenteeism and truancy laws applicable to traditional public schools.
· House Bill 4343 extends the deadline for the Illinois Attendance Commission, created by legislation Collins sponsored in 2015, to meet, hold hearings and submit its findings to the General Assembly. The commission has already produced a report that suggests improvements to the way school districts and the state track student attendance. The commission’s findings also call on legislators and educators to devise better strategies for helping families with chronic truancy so their children can stay in school and become prepared for higher education and/or a career. Collins’ sponsorship of the commission was inspired by an alarming Chicago Tribune investigative series that pointed out high truancy rates in Chicago, Rockford and elsewhere in Illinois.
· House Bill 119 prohibits the Chicago Public Schools from denying promotion or graduation to a student with a learning disability who fails a competency test when his or her failing score is directly attributable to his or her disability. To make sure this directive is being enforced and that students with disabilities and learning difficulties are not being wrongly held back, the legislation allows CPS to create a retention committee to consider each request that a student repeat a grade level.
“Our state’s public schools exist to serve students of all incomes, backgrounds and abilities,” Collins said. “Illinois’ children face a variety of challenges to success in school and life, and there’s more we can do to connect them and their families with the resources they need to overcome whatever barriers stand in their way.”