Bilingual education waivers taken up in Senate committee

Waivers for state mandates could take center stage when lawmakers are back in Springfield next week.

During a Senate Education Committee hearing Wednesday in Chicago, several school districts defended their waiver requests from a variety of state mandates, including bilingual education.

Democratic Senator William Delgado said bilingual education is important because you can, “take a chihuahua to Germany and it’s still a chihuahua.”

“But we talk about what’s happening in America, the growth, and what’s happening in our cultures and our school systems should be adopting and not trying to get away from the multifaceted intelligence our students have that could help us in an international world.”

Delgado said assimilation is important, but he wants to ensure cultural heritage is intact in the school environment.

Kindergarten assessment waivers considered

A couple of school districts understand assessments of kindergartners encourages better instruction and guidance for teachers and parents, but they are also defending their waiver request from state mandated evaluations.

Ray Lechner from Wilmette School District 39 said the one-size-fits-all mandated assessment doesn’t work.

“Once again we are faced with the consequences of an onerous, unfunded mandate that will lead to a significant lost amount of instructional time.”

Lechner says the Illinois State Board of Education is in the process of changing the state’s assessment, which makes the issue even more frustrating for school districts. A spokesperson from ISBE was not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, Glencoe’s school district requested a waiver from the assessment for up to year 2020. House Joint Resolution 101 would disapprove certain school district waiver requests for bilingual education, the Illinois Kindergarten Individual Development Survey, non-resident tuition, general state aid and instructional time and could be brought up when the General Assembly meets next week.

Illinois News Network

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