Our children deserve a high quality education, and my job in Springfield is to make sure our schools, students and teachers get the resources and support they need. That’s why as the Appropriations Chair for Education in the Senate, I advocated for the $350 million evidence-based funding model that gives schools what they need, no matter their zip code. That’s also why I support a graduated income tax so that our schools get funded fairly.
Early Childhood Education
The resources a child gets in their first few years can set them on a path for success in later life, but many of our children don’t get the preschool experiences they need to thrive. We have to prioritize early learning, which is why I secured $598 million to expand access to early childhood education.
For many students in the 57th District, going to school is the only time they’ll get a full meal during their day. Even so, most districts actually end up throwing food away. To cut down on waste and make sure students get the nourishment they need, I passed a bill that mandates districts make a wellness plan to account for leftover food and identify eligible students to take home food on days and weekends.
Teachers, especially during the pandemic, have been essential to our students’ lives. In Springfield, I advocated to all teachers and support staff to be paid for sick days, regardless of vaccination status, as long as they take the proper testing and masking precautions.
College & Universities
Illinois has one of the greatest public university systems in the country, and it’s the backbone of our state’s economy. Previous Republican administrations have severely underfunded our community colleges and universities, which is why I’m proud to have increased MAP grants to help students pay for college by $122 million, added $43.1 million for adult education, career and technical training, and $7.1 million for agricultural education.
I also passed legislation that makes college more accessible for students who have good grades but don’t test well. Now Illinois students are not required to submit ACT or SAT scores to our public colleges and universities.