Sen. Preston

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Willie Preston shed light on disparities in Illinois’ education system by passing a measure to increase educator diversity by overhauling the outdated teacher evaluation system.

“Increasing diversity in schools should be a priority for Illinois to help the next generation connect with each other and understand different perspectives to develop new ideas and perceptions,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “We cannot uphold that if we are inadvertently pushing teachers out due to outmoded systems.”

Supported by the Chicago Teachers Union, House Bill 3570 would require the Illinois State Board of Education to analyze and assess teacher evaluation data by breaking down information by race and ethnicity of students, teachers, as well as the free and reduced-price lunch status of students. This crucial legislation will empower non-tenured teachers who work in challenging environments and level the playing field for all teachers.

According to academic studies out of Chicago and Washington, D.C., Black and Latino teachers routinely receive lower ratings not because of their skill, but because of the environments in which they work. This impact puts teachers in already hard to staff schools at greater risk of losing their jobs, thereby amplifying the existing teacher shortage and, in particular, forcing out Black and Latino educators.

“I know the importance of representation in all fields – especially in the field of education,” said Preston.  “My hope is this legislation will encourage all educators to feel supported and empowered in classrooms.”

House Bill 3570 passed the Senate Wednesday.