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Senate Higher Ed committee approves plan for community colleges to offer early childhood education bachelor’s programs

3.14 Higher Ed

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Senate Higher Education Committee debated a proposal Tuesday that could allow community college students to get a bachelor's degree or certification in early childhood education.

Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas told committee members her bill can help many people already working in the early childhood industry. State data show the majority of employees are women from minority communities who make roughly $10-$13 per hour.

The sponsor says these passionate employees want to get the degree and have opportunities for higher-paying jobs. She feels the measure could address the lack of racial, gender, and economic equity in early childhood education.

Pacione-Zayas also addressed concerns from opponents who feel students could get a bachelor's through a watered down process.

"They will still have to meet the Illinois State Board of Education licensing requirements, they will still have to do the clinical hours. They'll still have to do the student teaching and pass the content test, do the edTPA. All of those particular standards will be in place," Pacione-Zayas explained.

This proposal passed out of the Senate Higher Education Committee on a 13-1 vote. However, Pacione-Zayas told members she's willing to continue working on the bill and bring it back to the committee at a later date for more discussion.

You can find more information about the bill by clicking here.

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Mike Miletich

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