preston 042023SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Willie Preston passed a measure through the Senate Education Committee to increase educator diversity by overhauling the outdated teacher evaluation system.

“I recognize that diversity is necessary to ensure that students are given the perspectives of multiple backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities to better prepare themselves for the workforce and to have a more well-rounded education,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “We can start diversifying our educator workforce by making necessary changes to the current educator evaluation system in place.”

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 DC, 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.

“If an educator doesn’t meet a certain level of service, it’s important to figure out what the root cause is and how to guide them,” said Preston. “Our educators are at the heart of Illinois – we need to give them equal opportunities to teach future generations.”

House Bill 3570 passed the Senate Education Committee Tuesday and will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.