03012017CM0381WebPLAINFIELD— State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is praising Gov. JB Pritzker’s move to fight for working families across Illinois.

Earlier this week, Pritzker issued an executive order that will help close the pay gap for women and lift up middle class working families in the state by no longer asking prospective employees questions about their salary history.

“It’s plain and simple – a person’s salary should be based on their merit and experience,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The governor’s actions will help move us toward ending an ineffective system that discriminated against women, minorities and other disfranchised groups for generations. The next step is for us all to work together to institute a meaningful solution that takes his actions at the state level and expands it to all businesses in Illinois.”

Bertino-Tarrant has pledged to reintroduce her measure from the 100th General Assembly that would make it illegal for employers to ask their employees or job applicants about their previous wage or salary history. She plans to work with business groups such as the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to find a compromise that moves Illinois forward.

“It’s unfair to categorize all of Illinois’ businesses as malicious actors,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There is a societal issue on hand that needs to be fixed with solid steps that guarantee all businesses do the right thing.”   

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure is similar to laws in Oregon and Massachusetts that will make it illegal to inquire about salary history, but it also seeks to promote the use of employer-driven self-evaluation plans so that individual employers can monitor their pay practices and seek to fix any wage disparity that is not based on merit, seniority, production or level of education.

The executive order will also require that the Department of Central Management Services and the Department of Human Rights shall review the state’s pay plan to eliminate bias generated by asking employees for salary history, which often disadvantages women, particularly women of color.

The measure has yet to be reintroduced in the 101st General Assembly.

20180314 KS 3900 RSPLAINFIELD — Two new state laws that make dual-credit courses more available to high school students will take effect Jan. 1.

Illinois Senate Education Committee Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) championed the two laws, the first of which requires public universities and community colleges to work with local high schools to ensure students are credited for their dual-credit courses taken in high school

The second prohibits limiting the number of courses and credits a student may receive from dual credit courses.

“As college costs continue to rise throughout the nation, dual-credit courses provide a tremendous economic and educational benefit for students and their families,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This educational opportunity empowers our students to earn college credit while still in high school. As the mother of two children, I know what parents are experiencing. Like others, I want my children to graduate from college with an abundance of opportunities, not weighted down with mountains of student loan debt.”

Dual enrollment allows students to get credit for postsecondary coursework that is completed when they are still in high school.

“Hands-on experience is the best way to prepare our students for a successful college experience,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Dual-credit courses allow students to have the college experience with extra guidance and support.”

Research has shown that student participation in dual-enrollment curriculum often leads to improved academic outcomes, especially for students from low-income backgrounds and first generation college students. Students who enroll in dual-credit courses are more likely to get better grades in high school and to pursue a secondary education.

“It’s the state’s duty to keep college costs affordable and work together in a bipartisan manner to help ensure our students are successful,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Senate Bill 2838 and Senate Bill 2527 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

Bertino Tarrant2016cCHICAGO — Illinois Senate Education Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) was tapped to be part of governor-elect JB Pritzker’s education transition committee.

Bertino-Tarrant is an educator and passionate education advocate who has worked with the youth of Will County for almost 20 years in local schools and other capacities.

“We have a responsibility to provide our children with the best education possible,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I’m thrilled to work with advocates across the state to implement policies and standards to help ensure our children have the opportunity to be successful.”

The 35-member committee includes several legislators and representatives from K-12 and higher education as well as education advocacy groups.

MinookaPrimaryCenter8.28.18 RSSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate Education Committee discussed solutions to statewide funding shortages for early childhood education programs this week.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) led the charge last year to establish an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools more effectively and is ready to take on the issue of early childhood education.

“Our goal is to guarantee all Illinois’ children are given the opportunity to succeed,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “After last year’s effort, we are one step closer to ending education inequalities in our communities by funding schools the right way. The next step is to tackle the way we fund our early childhood programs.”

As a result of this new school funding formula, schools across Illinois received $350 million in additional funding this year while no schools received less funding than a year ago. Public schools across the 49th State Senate District received more than $22 million in new money for the 2018-2019 school year.

“This hearing reiterated the necessity to revamp the way we currently fund early childhood programs in Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The current grant process is pitting schools against each other instead of promoting opportunities for all of our children.”

Dr. Kris Monn, Superintendent of Minooka Elementary School District 201, helped paint a clear picture on the difficulties local schools face due to uncalculated changes made to the competitive grant process.  

The Minooka School District routinely qualified for the early childhood funding grant in the past but was denied this year, requiring the school to self-fund part of the program to ensure children were not removed from their programs.  

“Two years ago this body made a monumental shift in how we fund education,” Monn said.  “Six months ago, we saw that the schools with the best grant writing received state dollars, instead of those who need it the most. There is a flaw in the way we decided to divvy up the dollars for preschools. I urge members of the General Assembly to push for a preschool funding program that drives dollars to the districts that need it the most.”

As the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Bertino-Tarrant pledges to work to revamp the way state dollars are allocated to early childhood programs during the upcoming legislative session.

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