pacione zayasSPRINGFIELD – Responding to a crucial need for hundreds more early childhood educators in the coming years, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) passed a plan out of the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday to provide new college degrees and an easier path to training for those already working in the field.

“This is not just about providing a brighter future for our kids, but also the people who are already working so hard to help them learn and grow,” Pacione-Zayas said. “We know that high quality early care and education is key to helping our children realize their full potential. We need to remove barriers by expanding access and affordability in this field to show support for the workforce that cares and educates our youngest while families work and pursue educational goals.”

Senate Bill 1832 will allow Illinois community colleges the option of applying to the Higher Learning Commission for the ability to confer a Bachelor's of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Colleges could also offer Professional Educator Licenses with early childhood and early childhood special education endorsements. Colleges would also be required to maintain associate-level early childhood education programs.

The legislation sets forth standards that would ensure such programs align with the requirements for four-year institutions. The goal, Pacione-Zayas said, is to expand enrollment statewide, diversify all levels of the early childhood education workforce, and respond to local workforce demands.

Speaking before the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday evening, April Janney, CEO of Illinois Action for Children, said early childhood education providers are experiencing recruitment challenges despite competitive salaries and benefits.

“Early childhood teachers are on the front lines of this pandemic,” Janney said. “This bill will make it easier for them to advance their careers, while it also elevates the quality of learning for children.”

Juan Salgado, chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago system, said the legislation responds to urgent, immediate workforce needs in a field where most employees are women of color.

“This is, at the end of the day, about getting the children in this state the qualified educator they need today, not tomorrow,” Salgado said. “This is what we were designed to do as community colleges. This is the value we bring to, in this case, overwhelmingly … women of color.”

After robust discussion, Senate Bill 1832 passed out of the Senate Higher Education Committee and Senator Pacione-Zayas said she will continue negotiations with stakeholders to ensure a systemic solution.

 

Category: Press Releases

pacione zayas

“This presents us with a chance for transformative change.”

CHICAGO – State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas called on the General Assembly to act on recommendations in the report released last week by the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding and spoke on her own plan to increase education pathways and economic stability for early childhood educators.

“The Early Childhood Funding Commission has made our duties clear,” Pacione-Zayas said Thursday. “For the first time, this report clarifies the vision and investments we need to break down the barriers young children face in reaching their full potential.”

Pacione-Zayas worked with the commission as a member of the BUILD Initiative’s Illinois State Team, specifically focusing on the importance of building up the early childhood system in addressing systemic racism.

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Category: Press Releases

pacione zayas

State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas issued the following statement today following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address:

“While the governor’s general approach is commendable given the circumstances, I’m disappointed that he has outlined a plan that doesn’t deliver schools the annual increase in Evidence-based Funding, nor an increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant to protect the early care and education workforce during a time when they have shown up every day to serve students and young children. As the General Assembly begins negotiating on the budget, we will need to seek explicit assurance from the federal government that these funds can be used in the ways they are most needed for our schools.”


Senadora Estatal Cristina Pacione-Zayas dio la siguente declaración despues del discurso de Gubernador JB Pritzker sobre el presupuesto estatal:

"Mientras que el enfoque general del gobernador es positivo dadas las circunstancias, estoy decepcionada de que presentó un plan que no otorga el incremento de presupuesto anual a las escuelas con base en la fórmula Financiamiento-con-Base-en-la-Evidencia. Tampoco el aumento a los fondos a la Educación Temprana que protejen los cuidados tempranos y el entrenamiento a la fuerza laboral, en un tiempo en que han mostrado cada día que sirven a los estudiantes y a los niños pequeños," dijo Pacione-Zayas. "Mientras que la Asamblea General comienza las negociaciones sobre el presupuesto, necesitamos las garantías explicitas y necesarias del gobierno federal de que estos fondos podrán ser usados en las cosas que hacen más falta en nuestras escuelas."

Category: Press Releases

pacione zayasSPRINGFIELD – Cristina Pacione-Zayas was sworn in to her first full term as state senator for the 20th Illinois Senate District Wednesday, taking the oath of office just weeks after her appointment to succeed former Senator Iris Martinez. After an all-day, all-night legislative session voting on major reforms that stretched well into the early morning hours Wednesday, Pacione-Zayas was undaunted by the tasks ahead of her in Springfield.

“I hope the ambitious and transformative agenda I’ve been honored to participate in this past week will set the tone for what’s ahead in my first full term in office,” Pacione-Zayas said. “We face historic challenges at every level in the 20th Senate District. We need to bring about transformative and systemic change so we can all thrive.”

Best known as a tireless advocate for education reform and the Puerto Rican community, Pacione-Zayas was born and raised in Logan Square and has a track record for effectively collaborating and supporting policy leading to positive outcomes for children, families and communities. Her previous service spans Chicago Public Schools, community-based and advocacy organizations, and the Illinois State Board of Education, along with serving on transition teams for Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. She holds a Ph.D. in educational policy studies from UIUC and currently serves as a consultant for Erikson Institute, a graduate school focused on child development.

Among her agenda items for her first term will be forming five policy roundtables, which she said she hopes will draw experts and community members to meet regularly for the purpose of helping her craft legislation in the areas of education, health, housing, small business and the workforce, and public safety.

“The best policy comes from cooperation between our communities and those who dedicate themselves to studying innovative solutions. I will be reaching out to the 20th District in the coming days to invite those who are interested in helping me craft legislation to apply for these roundtables,” Pacione-Zayas said.

The 20th Illinois Senate District includes parts of Chicago Wards 1, 26, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39 and 45, and Northeastern Illinois University’s El Centro campus.

Category: Press Releases

Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
 
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020

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