Lawmaker seeks to bring early childhood bachelor’s programs to community colleges

Legislation would combat workforce shortage, address inequities in education, sponsor says  

By GRACE BARBIC  
Capitol News Illinois  
gbarbic@capitolnewsillinois.com 

SPRINGFIELD – A bill that would allow community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees for early childhood education is awaiting consideration before the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1832, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, would give Illinois community colleges the option to apply for accreditation to offer a baccalaureate-level early education program.

Illinois Action for Children held a news conference Wednesday with other advocates to discuss the bill. SB 1832 also addresses an issue of equity, Pacione-Zayas said, considering a majority of child care workers are women, women of color and immigrant refugees.

“They have very little pay, anywhere between $10 to $13 an hour, with very little benefits,” Pacione-Zayas said at the news conference. “So much so that 46 percent of them are eligible for public assistance.”

The proposal would help those in early childhood education meet their educational goals in an affordable and accessible way Pacione-Zayas said, setting them on a pathway to economic stability while supporting the development of young children in the state.

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