High school students may soon get a boost in educational opportunities, whether they are college bound or looking for vocational training, thanks to legislation filed by State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) and passed by the Illinois Senate.
Listen In: Senator Weaver speaks with the Regional Daily News about his proposal.
“Our students need every advantage they can get if we want them to have bright futures,” said Senator Weaver. “But it’s also important that we give them options for their own career paths.”
Senate Bill 2527 is designed to increase access to dual credit courses for all Illinois high school students. Dual credit courses allow students to get a head start on college, helping them to earn their degree on-time or even ahead of schedule, while reducing the overall cost of their college education. In addition, because many students eventually change majors, dual credit courses allow students to explore different career paths earlier and at a lower cost.
Weaver’s legislation removes limits on the number of dual credit courses a student may enroll in as well as prohibiting limits on how many credits a student may earn via dual credit courses, as long as the classes are taught by Dual Credit Quality Act compliant instructors, licensed teachers, or community college professors.
“I believe dual credit courses serve as one of the most cost effective options for helping students earn a degree,” said State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria). “This will help improve degree completion rates while reducing costs to students.”
Senate Bill 3033 allows schools to apply for and receive grants for land, facilities, and equipment for vocational education programs based on manufacturing careers. The goal is to improve students’ access to career paths that require specialized training but that typically don’t require a college degree. Providing the training and education in high school would allow students to enter their field more quickly while avoiding the costs and time involved in post-secondary school and training programs.
“With all the focus on helping our students prepare for college, we can’t forget that many of our students will be headed down a different path for their careers,” said Senator Weaver. “This will help students enter into stable, good-paying career paths with jobs that already exist here in Illinois.”
Both bills are part of a broad package of legislation from Senator Weaver that is focused on enhancing educational opportunities for students while strengthening schools. The bills cover areas such as dual credit and vocational training as well as several others aimed at reducing the impact of the teacher shortage that is hurting schools statewide.
“Our children are our future, it’s that simple,” said Senator Weaver. “We need to give them every opportunity we can to have successful lives, regardless of their individual career paths.”
Senate Bills 2527 and 3033 both passed the Senate with wide support are now headed to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.