After Education Committee Vice Chair Kimberly Lightford offered the same information per her infamous WTTW interview, the Illinois Senate Education Committee passed her bill [SB 1307] lowering the compulsory attendance age to 5 years of age from 7. The vote was 8-5.
The bill is on the docket for a 2nd Reading on the Senate floor today. Contact your Senator and the Education Committee Senators this morning. The contact information is at the bottom of this post.
I was astounded (again) at the lack of logic and in Illinois, the lack of funding, as pointed out by the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, who opposed the bill.
Senator Lightford said "the dollar follows the child". The ISSMA lobbyist disputed that mis-factoid by stating: "State money doesn't come even close to what is actually being spent."
We don't need to wonder why our state is in dire financial straits.
One other important follow-up. Homeschooling was mentioned again by Senator Lightford regarding the fiscal note. She said again 'we do not mandate homeschooled children, so we really don’t know how many children are home being undereducated. ISBE has a challenge figuring out numbers because it’s not mandatory to attend schools.' ("Attending schools" meaning from 5-7 years of age)
Senator Lightford expressed her dismay concerning the "front end" of compulsory attendance, the age of seven years. As a "long time champion in the Senate for Education", I personally thought she would have that fact down a long time ago. Homeschoolers know it. Lightford also mentioned Illinois had just received a federal 35 million dollar Early Childhood grant. It's not unusual for state legislation to be wrapped around federal legislation and grant monies.
This isn't about children. This is about money. The teachers unions are on record supporting this bill.
Here are the members of the Education Committee and their embedded contact information below. The majority's education agenda has been set. Let's change that path and demand current school problems are fixed first.
Education Committee Chair : William Delgado
Vice-Chair: Kimberly A. Lightford
Minority Spokesperson : David S. Luechtefeld