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It’s just a bill

Monday, Feb 28, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mike Miletich

A proposal to help keep DCFS caseworkers safe during potentially dangerous house visits passed out of the Illinois Senate Friday. The plan says child protective investigators should be allowed to carry and use mace or pepper spray.

Two DCFS caseworkers have been killed on the job over the past few years, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say it’s time to add protections. […]

His proposal requires the Illinois State Police to train child protective investigators on how to properly use pepper spray for self-defense. It also calls for the Department of Children and Family Services to provide funding for that training program.

The bill is here.

* Yvette Shields

The new Illinois fund set up to manage the assets of suburban Chicago and downstate police pension funds would get an extra year to complete the consolidation under legislation being pursued by the fund that says it can’t meet a June 30 deadline.

The Illinois Police Officers’ Pension Investment Fund told lawmakers during a committee hearing that some individual funds have resisted moving their assets because of pending litigation challenging the constitutionality of the 2019 consolidation legislation. […]

Brad Cole, president of the Illinois Municipal League, told lawmakers he opposes the request for a one-year delay in consolidating the pension plans.


An Illinois lawmaker says she wants to make it easier for families to get breastfeeding products.

A proposed bill would get rid of the sales tax on breast pumps and related supplies.

“Breast pumps are a basic necessity for nursing parents, especially ones who need to return to work and can’t breast feed regularly,” said Senator Cristina Castro, D-Elgin. “A sales tax on these products is just one more financial barrier for mothers to try to overcome.”

* Mark Maxwell

Video: State representative Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora) called on lawmakers to expand paid leave benefits for teachers to include an extra week for mental health.

* Andrew Adams at the SJ-R

Bills at the Illinois Capitol are addressing an ongoing shortage of teachers. […]

Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, introduced a bill in January to increase the number of days that short-term substitutes can teach from five to 15. […]

Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill, also last month, to try to expand the pool for paraprofessionals, which faces a similar shortage to teachers. Her proposal would lower the minimum age for paraprofessional licensure from 19 to 18. […]

On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, introduced a bill which would offer tuition reimbursements to teachers who attended training programs at public colleges and universities in Illinois. It is currently going through the lawmaking process in the House.

* Alyssa Patrick

Illinois lawmakers are trying to stop the state department of education from giving standardized tests to its youngest students. […]

Crewsell worked with lawmakers to file “Too Young to Test” bills in the Illinois House and Senate.

“What’s not OK is for the state to put their stamp of approval on this type of testing and push it down into those younger grades,” Crewsell explained.

Senate Bill 3986 passed 52-3 and now moves to the House, where it has bipartisan support thanks to vocal parents.

* Related…

* In Chicago Public Schools, more principals and teachers are leaving: One notable increase was among school leaders, whose departures tend to be especially disruptive to a school community — more so during this school year’s high-stakes, challenging transition back to full-time in-person learning. In all, 72 principals and assistant principals have left the district since July, already more than the number that retired or resigned during the entire 2018-2019 year.

* Our View: DCFS investigators should be allowed to carry pepper spray

* Illinois lawmakers propose prescription takeback plan


  1. - CJA - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    To the teaching bills –

    I am not holding my breath that they will have any significant impact. I teach in a district that is directly impacted by the substitute teacher shortage. Not a day goes by that we are not having to fill in for sick teachers, teachers quarantining because they or their family have Covid, teachers out on professional development, teachers taking personal days…

    Sen Turner, the shortage existed before the pandemic; Covid only exacerbated it. Upping the number of days substitutes can teach, or retired teachers could come back, does not account for what is driving people to leave the profession or balk at coming into it: being vilified for curricular matters, out of control parents (on both sides of several issues), feeling like pawns in state and local health policies, stupid Tick Tock videos, an upswing in apathetic and defiant students, and a shaky pension system. The bills in question do not address those issues. Until someone takes a good, long, hard look at those matters and provide mentorship and protect teachers’ mental health we will see the shortage continue. Call it 30 years of watching this develop around the state.

  2. - Dumb bill. - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    Last time I checked, Mace doesn’t make you bullet proof nor does it stop knife attacks.

  3. - Smalls - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 11:57 am:

    For teachers, there is a large pool of stay-at-home parents that have college degrees in areas other than teaching. Most can’t go back to school for 2 years to get a teaching degree. Develop an expedited process to get these people certified as teachers and into classrooms as student teachers, then as full-time teachers.

  4. - The Dude - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 12:23 pm:

    Every state employee should be allowed to carry pepperspray for safety.

    Im amazed they can’t.

  5. - A - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    CJA speaks for many teachers. From heroes, early in the pandemic, to villains—-there is just no good reason for intelligent students to choose teaching when they can double their salary in just about any other field and not be verbally abused on a daily basis by a wide variety of sources

    As a parent who is supportive, respectful and appreciative of teachers’ work, you might not be aware or even believe what teachers have to tolerate because you are that way, and you probably have respectful and appreciative children. But they’re not all like you.

    No legislation can change that

  6. - clec dcn - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 2:14 pm:

    I sub teach now and do not do it in public schools because pay is not worth it at all. When they competitively raise substitute teacher’s pay it will make a difference and nothing will till then.

  7. - zatoichi - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 4:05 pm:

    My wife does sub teaching for all kinds of subjects. The number of local subs is very small. Over a couple of years she has seen a high turnover in local teachers. She refuses all high school jobs due to student behaviors. Mostly does K-5 grades. Most classes are pretty good. She figures out which classes have more hassles then it is worth and avoids those. Does not have to deal with parents. In the past she has been asked to do IEPs and has been asked to grade tests at home. That is not sub work. She is barely above minimum wage. Get those sub salaries to the $25+ hour range and more subs may become available.

  8. - Proud Papa Bear - Monday, Feb 28, 22 @ 6:51 pm:

    I’m deep into working groups regarding the teacher shortage issue. It is extremely complex and misunderstood.
    As others have alluded to, there needs to be massive structural change and I do not see the will for this.

  9. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Mar 1, 22 @ 12:04 am:

    All these bills to support teachers are nice, but they all ignore, in my opinion, the biggest reason fewer and fewer are going into teaching–a horrible pension program.

  10. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Mar 1, 22 @ 2:19 pm:

    Regarding the DCFS - MACE - bill, hopefully the House takes a better look at the language and cleans up some areas that should be of concern to the state. Most notably, the fact that there are no guidelines regarding use, limitations or safety requirements.

    If a 14 year old foster kid gets defiant can a case worker mace them? What about individuals who are pregnant or with asthma where high concentrations of pepper spray can be lethal. Do they need mace which is illegal in multiple states or will pepper spray be sufficient? And what limits regarding the potency of the spray are we talking? A consumer level or law enforcement level?

    This isn’t nearly as bad as some of the other proposals out there right now, but the GA and the Governor might want to tighten this up before it becomes law and the lawsuits inevitably follow. .

    It also fails to address the two real steps Illinois needs to help make social workers safe. Better in-person trainings & better pay/benefits so that the department can recruit fully qualified human service employees for these jobs.

    Lower caseloads and an environment where there is enough staff to create teams when risk assessments call for it - will go a lot further at reducing these violent episodes then any of these escalation “solutions” being proposed.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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