Illinois: Students In Public Schools Will Be Required To Study Asian American History

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A required course on Asian American history is now being taught in all Illinois public elementary, middle, and high schools.

A free online program for educators’ professional development is available. Grace Pai, from the Chicago office of Advancing Justice, argues that teaching about Asian American history is a good way to combat stereotyping. “Asian Americans are part of American history, but often our stories are not told,” said Pai. “So, it’s not so much about teaching about Asians in Asia, its more about talking about Americans, and kind of telling a fuller story of who has contributed to American History.”

Teachers and other educators will have access to a database including information on Asian American studies.

Illinois: Educators And Parents Can Benefit From The Inflation-Relief Tax Break On School Supplies

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Parents and educators in Illinois will benefit from a tax break from Aug. 5–14, the first in more than a decade, on many back-to-school school supplies.

The state’s sales tax on school supplies and other school-related purchases will decrease from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent on Friday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker submitted a $1.8 billion tax relief plan late in the spring legislative session and the general assembly adopted it with the “Back to School” tax holiday included. The tax break comes at a time when the cost of gasoline, groceries, and utilities has risen significantly.

The state believes that families in Illinois may save up to $50 million on school supplies during the 10-day tax break. The following are some examples of things that are eligible for the lower rate of sales tax: School uniforms, coats, sneakers, book bags, calculators.

During the period when there is no sales tax on these things, anybody may buy them. Nevertheless, the tax holiday is an excellent opportunity for instructors to stock up on supplies such as blackboard chalk, binders, index cards, and notebooks. When it comes time to file their taxes the following year, teachers will be eligible to get an income tax credit of up to $250 for the classroom items they have personally bought.

Gov. Pritzker Signs 4 Bills to Address Teacher and Aides Shortage

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Teachers and administrators in Illinois say they’ve been overworked and stressed out attempting to fill vacancies as a result of the state’s persistent teacher shortage. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a slew of bills lawmakers approved during this legislative session to address the issue.

Since the evidence-based financing model was implemented in Illinois in 2018, the Pritzker administration and the State Board of Education report that more than 5,000 new teachers have begun employment in the state. The pay of Illinois teachers has grown steadily in recent years and is expected to climb further in 2021.

There are still over 2,100 open teaching positions in Illinois, and Pritzker is hopeful that new regulations will help remove the obstacles that prevent qualified candidates from applying. Short-term substitute instructors will soon be able to work in a classroom for 15 days straight instead of the previous five.

“These vacancies are concentrated in hard-to-staff schools and subjects,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala. “Our low-income, bilingual and special education students have the least access to the teachers they need to grow and thrive. We also have a severe shortage of substitute teachers and need an additional 2,400 paraprofessionals to fully meet our students’ needs in the classrooms.”

It’s another piece of legislation that reduces the charge for renewing expired teaching licenses from $500 to $50. Retired educators who want to renew their licenses will not be charged a registration fee. Because of a scarcity of instructors, sponsors hope this will help bring in more retirees.

“To teachers in this room and all over the state and potential teachers, I see the hard-earned dollars that you pull from your own pockets to provide school supplies in your classrooms, the after-school hours that you spend with students in your classrooms who need a little extra help, and the food that you bring to make sure that no student in your class goes hungry. And I see you,” Pritzker said. “I want you to know that we are continuing to find new ways to bring more help into our classrooms so that all students can get the education that they deserve.”

Students enrolled in education programs will be able to earn substitute teaching licenses after completing at least 90 credit hours under a separate proposal. One way to increase the number of substitutes available in public schools is to use this method. Seeking the time being, applicants for substitute teaching positions must have a bachelor’s degree or above.

“As a former special education teacher, I know first-hand the difficulties that schools and other teachers face when there is not enough qualified teachers or substitutes in school,” said Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “Teachers already stress about taking time needed time off when they are sick or when a loved one needs looking after. And adding the struggle to find a qualified substitute teacher on top of that can only make things worse.”

Another bill that has been passed into law reduces the minimum age for paraprofessionals working with children from kindergarten through eighth grade to 18 years old. More suitable candidates may be brought into schools to provide children with more tailored help, say sponsors.

Eleanor Stuckey, a student at Springfield High School, remarked that “experiences like this would not only benefit us in our future vocations but in our preparation programs since soon enough we will be working as student teachers ourselves.”

Short-term replacements may now work for 15 days under new legislation that reduce the registration price. New laws will take effect on January 1, 2023, for the other new legislation.

Sen. Doris Turner said, “Education is the foundation on which a community is built” (D-Springfield). In addition, we owe it to the existing and future students of Illinois to invest as much money as possible in the state’s educational system.

A New Illinois Bill Would Provide Educators Additional Time Off To Get Mental Health Care

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More time off for teachers and other school personnel to take care of their mental health has been approved by both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

All full-time school workers would get five fully compensated mental health days per school year if HB3914 were enacted into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Director of QPS personnel Lisa Otten believes that everything done to help teachers’ mental health is worthwhile.

Sick days may be used to treat mental health issues, according to her. Teachers’ insurance policies, according to her, also provide three free therapy sessions every year.

Teacher use of these services is increasing, according to Otten.

“It’s probably because of the post-COVID mental health needs that more of our staff members are using this service,” she added. That is why we are seeing a rise in the number of staff members taking advantage of the free counseling services that are available to them.”

When COVID-19 arrived, Brandi Many claimed it was difficult to convert from online courses to hybrid programs.

Teachers, she argued, would really benefit from this measure.

In the wake of COVID and the last two years’ worth of changes in schools, “it would be an amazing benefit for staff that already are stressed out,” several added.

Many believed that the five days would be beneficial to individuals who needed it and to those who were anxious.

A ‘Coding Error’ Resulted In Chicago Public Schools Receiving $87 Million In State Monies That Should Have Gone To Other Districts

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A “coding error” resulted in Illinois owing $87.5 million to hundreds of school districts, who will then seek repayment from Chicago Public Schools, which received the monies in error.

Approval of the $46.5 billion allocation was approved on Saturday by the House and Senate. During the first deployment of a new state school financing system, a contractor committed a “coding error,” according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

There are 14 school districts owing $1 million to $5 million and 565 districts owed up to $100,000, according to the International Board of School Evaluators (IBSE). Over the previous four years, 762 school districts received less money than they were entitled to.

A $87 million miscalculation by the state is still being recovered from CPS, the state’s biggest school system. According to the ISBE, 52 additional school districts were overpaid a total of $3,396, and it intends to reclaim cash from those who got at least $10 more than they should have.

State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said in a letter on Wednesday that the miscalculation “represents less than half a percentage point of the total funding that has been allocated statewide” under Illinois’ financing formula during that period. There will be a letter from ISBE sent to all impacted organizations shortly informing them of the amount they owe the state.

“In communication with CPS about an extended repayment period, so that classrooms are not impacted,” Ayala said in her letter to ISBE. For the 2018 school year, CPS is still working on its entire budget, which was $9.3 billion in 2017.

According to a statement released by a CPS spokesman on Friday, the district is trying to “discuss the impacts on CPS and the state budget with ISBE and the General Assembly.”

In districts with more than one state-authorized charter school, ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said the coding mistake exaggerated the enrollment of pupils attending state-authorized charter schools. Only the CPS enrollment data was effected by the error, since ISBE reports that no other districts have multiple state-authorized charter schools. For years, the state’s formula took into consideration previous year’s computations, resulting in the difficulty.

About 58,000 kids from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) attend one of over 100 charter schools. A total of 330,000 kids are enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

While preparing a report for a group set up to assess the execution of the state funding formula, which was signed into law by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017, ISBE discovered the mismatch, according to Matthews.

An external examination of the formula, which is designed to give precedence to areas with low property wealth, was launched by ISBE, according to Ayala, who claimed that “new measures” had been put in place to assure accuracy going forward.

An Illinois House Executive Committee hearing on Wednesday highlighted the issue of a formula mistake.

A Chicago Democrat and budget negotiator, House Majority Leader Greg Harris remarked, “I heard about it one day last week and was like ‘What the heck is this?'”

Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, wanted to know how CPS would repay the money and how the miscalculation would affect the funding formula in the future..

This is a difficult subject with a lot of intricate answers that we’re going to have to go through to get to the bottom of,” Harris added.

An education appropriations committee was proposed by Bourne.

In her words, “I think this has major implications that warrant a longer discussion, and I know this probably isn’t the appropriate venue, but I think this could be a big issue — now and down the road.”

Harris pointed out that the error was made under Rauner’s watch during the House debate on the budget early Saturday.

We would not have ended up in this situation today if the Rauner administration hadn’t made this mistake, he added.