cpz 3822SPRINGFIELD – Dual language education may soon be more accessible to Illinois students, thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas.

“Dual language instruction can be transformative for a student, expanding their future career opportunities and strengthening their connection to their culture and develop a global view,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “Improving our dual language offerings will help young people become more well-rounded and have a better understanding of themselves and the world.”

Currently, Illinois supports bilingual education programs by maintaining an advisory council on bilingual education, which reports to the Illinois State Board of Education. However, this council is only required to provide recommendations to best support students and families participating in ESL, or English as a Second Language. While these recommendations are important, this council could use its insights — as  an important table of academics with expertise in various programs of bilingual education — to also  study dual language instruction across the state and provide recommendations on how to support these programs.

House Bill 3822 would require the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to issue a report to the General Assembly on how to incentivize, improve and expand dual language instruction in schools. The report will include recommendations for expanding dual language programs and instruction, a strategic plan for scaling these programs, planning to build the supply of qualified teachers, and establishing standards for measuring student progress. This report can then be implemented to increase sustainable dual language education programs throughout the state.

“We know that bilingualism is a valuable asset in today’s global society,” said State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid (D-Bridgeview), who introduced the initiative in the House. “This bill will help build a path for all students to have access to high-quality dual language programs, which benefit their academic achievement, enhance cultural preservation, and prepares students for success in the workforce.”

House Bill 3822 passed the Senate on Thursday.

Category: Press Releases

2037 cpzSPRINGFIELD – In collaboration with the 20th District Housing Policy Roundtable, a new initiative led by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas that would foster the study of  community land trusts, or non-profit organizations offering alternative options for homeownership and affordable housing, has passed the Senate and is under consideration in the House, putting it one step closer to becoming law. 

“While residents of present community land trusts have seen their positive impact, we have not been able to fully measure the net benefits these organizations have had on folks facing inaccessible housing and gentrification,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “This task force will provide concrete evidence for how community land trusts help those experiencing housing insecurity and displacement will inform more cities and towns the benefits for communities that adopt these programs. The hope is we can grow and support these programs using data, findings, and best practices of current land trusts to add another option for affordable housing in our state.” 

Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations focused on creating homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of families with limited access to economic resources. Families or individuals buy a house but lease the land the house is on from the CLT in a long-term renewable lease that keeps the home at an affordable price. While these trusts have provided many people with access to affordable housing, this Task Force will give the state the information it needs to truly leverage CLTs as an effective strategy for preserving long-term affordable housing.

Senate Bill 2037 would create a task force made up of representatives from community land trusts, professors and education specialists in housing, and elected officials to collect data regarding the current use of community land trusts in Illinois and opportunities for expansion statewide. The Task Force will also study the tools needed to maximize the impact of CLTs on housing affordability, stability, and closing the racial wealth gap. The goal is to gather directives and best practices that ensure the programs can maximize their impact.  After a year of research, the task force will submit a final report with specific legislative and budget recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2024. 

“A community land trust task force will help us identify opportunities to create affordable homeownership in diverse markets, create opportunities for generational wealth, close racial wealth gaps and complement the state’s portfolio of affordable housing strategies with the potential to save the state money." said Christian Diaz from Palenque LSNA, a community-based organization building power for education, immigration, and housing equity, particularly in the Avondale, Hermosa, and Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago.

“As part of a community that has been hit hard by gentrification, I know firsthand how disruptive it can be to families and communities that have been part of our neighborhoods for decades,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This initiative will record the positive impact of community land trusts for increasing affordable housing and will hopefully inspire more neighborhoods to adopt this system to combat gentrification and allow more Illinoisians to stay wherever they call home.” 

Senate Bill 2037 passed the Senate on March 29. It now goes to the Housing Committee in the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

cpzonthefloorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas, the chair of the Senate Early Childhood Education Committee, is excited to announce that the Illinois Board of Higher Education has awarded $3.37 million in Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grants. These grants will support working adults from diverse backgrounds and those who work with diverse populations working to join or continue their career in the early childhood workforce.

“If we want to make child care more accessible, we need to make the child care industry sustainable for members of its workforce — ensuring they do not take on large amounts of debt to pursue this career with low wages,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “These grants will support folks looking to further their career in this field by taking away financial barriers to success.”

By granting scholarships and other academic and holistic supports for 78 students to earn a master’s degree, the Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grants are intended to expand the pool of providers and help diversify the faculty in early childhood education. Those who enroll in the programs are expected to graduate by the summer of 2024.

“We need more folks in our child care workforce, and we need the workforce to be made up of employees with diverse backgrounds and perspectives so children can receive the most full-rounded and inclusive education,” said Pacione-Zayas. “This plan will address both of these concerns, allowing our children to receive the high-quality child care they deserve.”

Grant amount by institution:

Illinois State University - $800,753

Lewis University - $358,390

National Louis University - $1,191,511

University of Illinois Chicago - $1,027,989

Category: Press Releases

CPZ LovePurseDrive FBPlease consider donating to our #LovePurse drive and supporting women in need in our community! We are collecting purses or bags filled with essential items for women in need, including a message of inspiration to show the woman receiving it she is special and loved. For a full list of suggested items to include, go to http://www.lovepurse.org!

Donation times are:

Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas

  • Monday - Thursday, 10:00am - 5:00pm

Rep. Will Guzzardi's Office

  • Monday - Friday, 10:00am - 4:00pm

Rep.  Jaime Andrade's Office

  • Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:00pm

Cong. Delia Ramirez

  • Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Category: Events

Follow Sen. Pacione-Zayas


eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Read Past E-Newsletters

Office Information

Springfield Office:

Stratton Office Building
Section F, Room H
Springfield, IL 62706


District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020