I was honored to be a part of a conversation with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and other leaders in the education sphere to discuss my Too Young to Test legisation and ISBE's proposed changes to standardized testing in schools. Check out there resources below to hear what we had to say:

Category: In the News


From the story: 

Illinois Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, a Chicago Democrat, recently spearheaded the Too Young to Test Act, which would prohibit standardized tests for Illinois’ youngest students, except for the case of diagnostic tests including determining eligibility for special education services, bilingual services, dyslexia interventions, observational tools like the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey and the federally mandated English Learner assessments.

“We’ve already taken significant time and resources away from student learning by having students jump right back into testing last spring, in the thick of the pandemic, and the results were what we predicted,” said Pacione-Zayas, a mother of two children...

“Who won here? The testing companies,” Pacione-Zayas said, adding that instead of spending taxpayer dollars on multimillion-dollar contracts with testing companies, the state should use part of the $7 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding allocated to Illinois schools to improve resources in the classroom for students, and provide professional development for teachers.

“We need a radical transformation in our educational system, because what has been done in the past is not working,” Pacione-Zayas said.

Read the full story here

Category: In the News

How to solve Illinois' teacher shortage? Lawmakers push variety of ideas

By Taylor Vidmar, The Pantagraph

From the story: Solving the problem starts with framing it accurately, said state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, who prefers the term “teacher vacancy.”

The term “teacher shortage” can simplify the root issues, Pacione-Zayas said. There are still many qualified educators in the state, but a lot of them have been pushed away by what she described as a lack of respect for their profession.

“Just because you can't buy a Ferrari for 99 cents doesn't mean there's a Ferrari shortage,” she said, referencing an article that helped shape her understanding of educator vacancies.

Read the full story here.

Category: In the News


From the article:

The Illinois state board of education is in the process of changing its current assessment system from the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), a test currently given at the end of the school year, to a three-times-a-year test. The state board’s plan for the new assessment would include an optional kindergarten to second grade exam.

In response to the state’s plan, the Illinois Families for Public Education created “Too Young to Test” – a bill. Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago), a former state board of education member, plans to carry during this session.

The state already requires educators to complete a Kindergarten Individual Development Survey within the first few months of school; this legislation would not impact that survey or other local exams or diagnostic screeners to determine if a child has a disability. The bill, said Pacione-Zayas, would not impact those efforts.

“This is really about ensuring that our youngest children do not have to be subjected to a high stakes, accountability assessment,” said Pacione-Zayas.

Pacione-Zayas is also looking to boost funding for the Minority Teaching Initiative Scholarship, which provides assistance to people of color and bilingual student teachers. Usually the budget line for the scholarship is $2.1 million, Pacione-Zayas wants it to be $4.5 million. The increase in the scholarship amount will prevent students from leaving a teacher prep program for employment, she said.

Read the full article here

Category: In the News

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
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