On Sunday, April 29, 2012, Senator Lightford again hosted her Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Rainbow Tea Celebration. The event was a huge success, and more than 70 grandparents who are raising their grandchildren were recognized. Members of Senator Lightford's 4th District Women's and Gentlemen's Committees were on hand early in the day to set up.

Soon, guests arrived and were welcomed into the beautifully decorated room. Guests enjoyed food, drink, and entertainment. Senator Lightford thanked the grandparents for their dedication to their families and their communities.

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The co-chairs of the event were Barbara Lightford and Debra Vines.  Guests included motivational speaker Dorothy Owens, Master of Ceremony Gregory Sain, and the Maywood Fine Arts dance troupe.

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Category: Multimedia

Senator Lightford is backing a plan to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  It requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to develop procedure for notifying people who have had contact with an inmate who has been diagnosed with an STD.

“The Department of Public Health already has the authority to test and treat inmates for STDs, but we don’t have a plan in place for notifying the people they may have infected. That needs to change,”  said Lightford.

Click "Read More" to read the entire news release.

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Category: News Releases

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford’s (D – Maywood) long-held passion for and focus on education is what makes her one of Illinois’ go-to legislators on education issues. After passing a nationally-heralded, comprehensive education reform package last year in the form of Senate Bill 7, Senator Lightford continues her education advocacy work this legislative session with several measures.

Today, two of Lightford’s education measures advanced out of the Senate. Click "Read More" to read about these two measures and other education issues Senator Lightford is taking on.

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Category: Blog

NEWS

From the Illinois State Senate

State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, 4th Legislative District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lightford: All children deserve a chance to play, rest during the school day
Creates commission to improve high school graduation rates

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – After months of negotiations, State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford’s (D-Maywood) plan to give all Illinois children a recess has passed the State Senate.  Despite the fact that many studies have proven that recess actually improves children’s ability to learn, their likelihood of living a healthy life, and their social skills, some Illinois schools don’t currently offer recess.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that kids need to be kids,” Lightford said.  “Our children deserve a chance to play and relax during the school day.  Learning to make friends and use your imagination is every bit as important as learning multiplication and grammar.”

Lightford’s plan (Senate Bill 636) requires schools to offer children in Kindergarten through 5th Grade a recess of at least 20 minutes, which will be held outside except when there’s bad weather.  Schools are encouraged to offer 6th Grade through 8th Grade students recess, but the law will not require it.

Children benefit from recess in many ways.  The break from concentrating on academic subjects makes it easier for them to learn and absorb information.  The opportunity to interact with other children freely in a safe environment teaches them valuable social skills that will benefit them later in life.  The exercise they get improves their health and encourages them to lead healthy, active lives as adults—a recent study revealed that more children get most of their exercise at recess than at P.E. or after-school activities.

Lightford also passed legislation (Senate Bill 3259) to create a well-balanced commission to study the issues of high school graduation rates, dropout prevention, and compulsory school attendance age. The commission is tasked with making recommendations before the end of the year.  It will include parents, teachers, school administrators, organizations that help at-risk youth, and more.

Lightford’s legislation was born out of the idea of raising the compulsory attendance age from 17 to 18.

“When I first learned about the proposal to raise the dropout age from 17 to 18, I thought it would be a good idea,” Lightford said.  “But I quickly learned that raising the dropout age is no quick fix for the underlying problem—young adults leaving high school without the skills they need to lead happy, productive lives.”

The Commission for High School Graduation Achievement and Success will be statutorily required to evaluate graduation rates, mandatory attendance age, and current programs aimed at reducing the dropout rate.

“It’s not that raising the dropout age won’t work,” Lightford explained.  “Instead, I believe that it will work better as part of a comprehensive plan.  It only makes sense to wait a few months or even a year or two to write a well-planned law rather than to rush to get this passed and maybe have some unintended consequences.”

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Category: News Releases

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