students 377789 640CHICAGO –Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) joined the Senate Education and Higher Education Committees for a hearing focused on K-12 education, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and equitable funding for students.

Wednesday’s hearing was the third hearing dedicated to education and workforce development, the second pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ agenda to rid Illinois of systemic racism.

“Black children are leading a movement and gaining skills outside of what is being taught to them in school,” Lightford said. “The education system shows a disengagement with Black children, as they are forced to learn through a curriculum that lacks cultural competency, rather than finding way to teach them in a way that relates to their lived experiences.”

The committee was joined by their House counterparts to hear testimony from the Illinois State Board of Education, Advance Illinois, Springfield Urban League, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Principal’s Association, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and Noble Charter School Network.

The agencies presented data on bridging the digital divide and identified long term recovery actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as it relates to Black students. Furthermore, the groups put an emphasis on exploring avenues to advance and increase racial equity through evidence-based funding.

The next hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7 at noon, will continue to focus on K-12 education.

Senate hearings can be watched live at: