Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2878
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Full Text of HB2878  102nd General Assembly


Sen. Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas

Filed: 5/27/2021





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 2878 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Early
5Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Act.
6    Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly makes all of the
7following findings:
8        (1) This State faces a shortage of qualified early
9    childhood educators, with high vacancy rates in child care
10    centers, community-based early childhood programs, and
11    school-based classrooms across this State. Like roads and
12    bridges, early education and child care is an essential
13    part of our infrastructure that enables families to work
14    in all other industries. Beyond addressing the current
15    need, growing federal and State commitments to expanding
16    early childhood services, including the recommendations



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1    put forth in the Governor's Illinois Commission on
2    Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding
3    report in March 2021, suggest that this State must be
4    prepared to meet the growing demand for a qualified
5    workforce to deliver these services in the coming years.
6        (2) To meet this growing demand and support this
7    critical infrastructure, the Illinois higher education
8    system must support our incumbent early childhood
9    workforce through credential and degree attainment. The
10    workforce is overwhelmingly made up of women and women of
11    color, and many are balancing full-time employment, family
12    needs, and other responsibilities. Often, traditional
13    bachelor's degree programs are not accessible to
14    place-bound, full-time working parents.
15        (3) In this State, there is a history of partnership
16    among early childhood providers, stakeholders, and higher
17    education to identify workforce needs and strategies to
18    help promote access to higher education and degree
19    completion among the workforce. Illinois institutions of
20    higher education have taken steps to demonstrate a
21    commitment to the early childhood field, as well as
22    underserved student populations. Hybrid program models,
23    cohort program models, and scholarships and financial
24    incentives for students help to promote access to many
25    early childhood degree programs in this State.
26        (4) Over the past 2 decades, this State has attempted



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1    numerous strategies to develop and support partnerships
2    among institutions of higher education that are focused on
3    this State's early childhood workforce. Through these
4    broader initiatives, as well as many individual local
5    partnerships, community colleges and public and private
6    universities have worked to implement articulation
7    agreements, credit transfer agreements, and program
8    delivery models, although not all partnerships have been
9    maintained. Such initiatives include all of the following:
10            (A) In 2004, this State developed the Associate of
11        Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree model to promote
12        articulation among 2-year and 4-year institutions of
13        higher education. However, with the challenges in
14        credit transfer contributing to the limited viability
15        and success of the degree model, the Illinois
16        Community College Board stopped approving the AAT
17        degree model and has worked across the higher
18        education system to discontinue these programs.
19            (B) In 2013, this State dedicated federal Race to
20        the Top funds to create the Early Childhood Educator
21        Preparation Program Innovation (EPPI) Grant program.
22        Among other goals, the EPPI Grant program aimed to
23        foster the creation or further development of
24        partnerships between 2-year and 4-year preparation
25        programs at institutions of higher education, promote
26        articulation and alignment of the curriculum between



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1        2-year and 4-year programs, and support early
2        childhood educator preparation programs in designing a
3        curriculum to incorporate new State standards and
4        program requirements. While the EPPI Grant program led
5        to some effective partnerships that still remain
6        intact today, program evaluations found varying levels
7        of partnership and that, in many cases, successful
8        agreements were contingent upon individual
9        relationships or individual leaders within
10        institutions.
11            (C) Through the Illinois Articulation Initiative
12        (IAI), there are 3 early childhood courses approved
13        for articulation among participating institutions.
14        More than 100 Illinois colleges and universities
15        participate in the IAI, though challenges with
16        inconsistent participation and recognition do exist.
17            (D) Most recently, the creation of
18        competency-based education components for early
19        childhood education will help ensure that higher
20        education and credential programs are designed to
21        prepare early childhood educators to demonstrate the
22        same critical core competencies. The emphasis on core
23        competencies could improve educator preparedness and
24        could ease credit transfer and articulation processes
25        moving forward.
26        These programs and partnerships continue to benefit



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1    many early childhood education students across this State,
2    but, overall, these efforts have not produced adequate
3    early childhood degrees to meet the demands in the field.
4    These types of initiatives are highly contingent upon
5    relationships and partnerships between specific
6    institutions and are often impacted if an institution
7    experiences turnover or program changes. Furthermore,
8    these partnerships often do not address the geographic,
9    structural, and economic barriers the incumbent workforce
10    often faces in accessing bachelor's degree programs while
11    working full-time in the field. These ongoing challenges
12    are not new and have been noted in the development of these
13    previous efforts.
14        (5) As noted in the provisions of Public Act 101-654,
15    the General Assembly recognizes the critical role of the
16    early childhood workforce and, in response to challenges,
17    including staffing shortages and barriers to higher
18    education, calls upon the Board of Higher Education to
19    better meet the needs of the early childhood workforce.
20        (6) The General Assembly encourages this State to
21    consider dedicating federal funds for pandemic relief and
22    economic recovery efforts to ensure a successful launch of
23    the Consortium and the opportunities it creates to meet
24    the needs of the early childhood incumbent workforce,
25    including student financial support. This State, the
26    incumbent workforce, and the children in care will benefit



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1    as workers enroll, persist, and complete credential and
2    degree programs.
3    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
4    "Community college" means a public community college that
5is included in the definition of "Community Colleges" under
6Section 1-2 of the Public Community College Act.
7    "Consortium" means the Early Childhood Access Consortium
8for Equity.
9    "Credit for prior learning" means the evaluation and
10assessment of a student's life learning through employment,
11training, and experiences outside an academic environment from
12which skills that comprise terminal objectives are mastered to
13an acceptable degree of proficiency for college credit,
14certification, or advanced standing toward further education
15or training.
16    "Home institution" means the community college or
17university at which the student has been admitted.
18    "Incumbent workforce" means an individual or a group of
19individuals working or having worked in the early childhood
20industry, including family child care and center-based care
21settings, Preschool for All school-based settings, and Head
22Start, that serves children from birth to age 5 and includes
23teachers, assistant teachers, directors, family child care
24providers, and assistants.
25    "Member institutions" means the institutions of higher



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1education participating in the Consortium.
2    "Public university" means the University of Illinois,
3Southern Illinois University, Chicago State University,
4Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University,
5Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University,
6Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, or
7any other public university or college, other than a community
8college, now or hereafter established or authorized by the
9General Assembly.
10    Section 15. Creation of Consortium; purpose;
11administrative support.
12    (a) The Board of Higher Education and the Illinois
13Community College Board shall create and establish the Early
14Childhood Access Consortium for Equity.
15    (b) The purpose of the Consortium is to serve the needs of
16the incumbent early childhood workforce and the employers of
17early childhood educators and to advance racial equity while
18meeting the needs of employers by streamlining, coordinating,
19and improving the accessibility of degree completion pathways
20for upskilling and the sustained expansion of educational
21pipelines at Illinois institutions of higher education.
22    (c) The Board of Higher Education and the Illinois
23Community College Board shall convene the member institutions
24by July 1, 2021 or within 60 days after the effective date of
25this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly. The Board



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1of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board
2shall provide administrative support for the start up and
3operation of the Consortium until a permanent governance
4structure is developed and implemented. The Board of Higher
5Education and the Illinois Community College Board shall work
6with member institutions to establish geographic regional
7hubs, including public universities and the proximate
8community colleges responsible for serving each regional hub.
9    Section 20. Membership; functions.
10    (a) Membership in the Consortium shall include all public
11universities and community colleges in this State that offer
12early childhood programs. Membership by private,
13not-for-profit universities is optional and conditional on the
14acceptance of the terms adopted by the public members, the
15related administrative rules, and the provisions of this Act.
16For-profit institutions of higher education are not eligible
17for membership in the Consortium. Participating institutions
18must be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and
19entitled to offer Gateways Credentials.
20    (b) The members of the Consortium shall operate jointly
21and in cooperation through regional hubs to provide
22streamlined paths for students to attain associate degrees,
23bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, certificates, and
24Gateways Credentials and other licensure endorsements in early
25childhood education. The priority shall be to focus on the



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1incumbent workforce, which includes working adults who require
2programs of study that offer flexibility in the times courses
3are offered, location, and format. The Consortium shall
4cooperate in all of the following:
5        (1) Providing course offerings within each regional
6    hub in online, hybrid, and in-person formats that are
7    available to any student enrolled in a member institution
8    in that hub for occasions in which a particular course is
9    not available at the student's home institution. In this
10    paragraph (1), "not available" may mean the course is not
11    offered during a term, at a time, or in a format that works
12    best for the student. Courses taken at any member
13    institution shall be accepted toward the student's degree
14    at any other member institution. Course offerings across
15    regional hubs may also be provided by an agreement between
16    Consortium members. All course registration shall take
17    place in consultation with a student's academic advisor.
18        (2) Shared responsibilities through the Consortium and
19    within and across regional hubs to expand access for
20    students.
21        (3) Transfers in accordance with Section 130-10 of the
22    Transitions in Education Act.
23        (4) The development of standardized methods for
24    awarding credit for prior learning.
25        (5) The support necessary for student access,
26    persistence, and completion shall be provided by the home



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1    institution, unless otherwise provided by agreement
2    between Consortium members.
3        (6) Admissions, financial arrangements, registration,
4    and advising services shall be functions of the home
5    institution but shall be honored across the Consortium.
6        (7) Member institutions working with their regional
7    pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and early childhood
8    employer partners to determine demand throughout the
9    region.
10        (8) Data-sharing agreements.
11        (9) An agreement that students enrolled in associate
12    degree programs are encouraged to complete the associate
13    degree program prior to transferring to a bachelor's
14    degree program.
15        (10) Development of other shared agreements and terms
16    necessary to implement the Consortium and its
17    responsibilities.
18    By January 31, 2022, the Consortium shall decide how to
19assign college credit for the incumbent workers who have a
20Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and for future
21workers obtaining a CDA.
22    (c) The Consortium may facilitate or implement the
23following if deemed beneficial and feasible:
24        (1) the creation of an open education resource
25    library;
26        (2) support and training for program coaches and



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1    cross-institutional navigators; and
2        (3) support for the development, implementation, and
3    participation in a statewide registry system through the
4    Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral
5    Agencies (INCCRRA) to provide tracking and data
6    capabilities for students across the system as they attain
7    competency through coursework.
8    Section 25. Advisory committee; membership.
9    (a) The Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community
10College Board, the State Board of Education, the Department of
11Human Services, and the Governor's Office of Early Childhood
12Development shall jointly convene a Consortium advisory
13committee to provide guidance on the operation of the
15    (b) Membership on the advisory committee shall be
16comprised of employers and experts appointed by the Board of
17Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board, the
18Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, and the
19State Board of Education. Membership shall also include all of
20the following members:
21        (1) An employer from a community-based child care
22    provider, appointed by the Governor's Office of Early
23    Childhood Development.
24        (2) An employer from a for-profit child care provider,
25    appointed by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood



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1    Development.
2        (3) An employer from a nonprofit child care provider,
3    appointed by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood
4    Development.
5        (4) A provider of family child care, appointed by the
6    Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
7        (5) An employer located in southern Illinois,
8    appointed by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood
9    Development.
10        (6) An employer located in central Illinois, appointed
11    by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
12        (7) At least one member who represents an urban school
13    district, appointed by the State Board of Education.
14        (8) At least one member who represents a suburban
15    school district, appointed by the State Board of
16    Education.
17        (9) At least one member who represents a rural school
18    district, appointed by the State Board of Education.
19        (10) At least one member who represents a school
20    district in a city with a population of 500,000 or more,
21    appointed by the State Board of Education.
22        (11) Two early childhood advocates with statewide
23    expertise in early childhood workforce issues, appointed
24    by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
25        (12) The Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson and the
26    Minority Spokesperson or a designee of the Senate



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1    Committee on Higher Education.
2        (13) The Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson and the
3    Minority Spokesperson or a designee of the House Committee
4    on Higher Education.
5        (14) One member representing the Illinois Community
6    College Board, who shall serve as co-chairperson,
7    appointed by the Illinois Community College Board.
8        (15) One member representing the Board of Higher
9    Education, who shall serve as co-chairperson, appointed by
10    the Board of Higher Education.
11        (16) One member representing the Illinois Student
12    Assistance Commission, appointed by the Board of Higher
13    Education.
14        (17) One member representing the State Board of
15    Education, who shall serve as co-chairperson, appointed by
16    the State Board of Education.
17        (18) One member representing the Governor's Office of
18    Early Childhood Development, who shall serve as
19    co-chairperson, appointed by the Governor's Office of
20    Early Childhood Development.
21        (19) One member representing the Department of Human
22    Services, who shall serve as co-chairperson, appointed by
23    the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
24        (20) One member representing INCCRRA, appointed by the
25    Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.
26        (21) One member representing the Department of



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1    Children and Family Services, appointed by the Governor's
2    Office of Early Childhood Development.
3        (22) One member representing an organization that
4    advocates on behalf of community college trustees,
5    appointed by the Illinois Community College Board.
6        (23) One member of a union representing child care and
7    early childhood providers, appointed by the Governor's
8    Office of Early Childhood Development.
9        (24) Two members of unions representing higher
10    education faculty, appointed by the Board of Higher
11    Education.
12        (25) A representative from the College of Education of
13    an urban public university, appointed by the Board of
14    Higher Education.
15        (26) A representative from the College of Education of
16    a suburban public university, appointed by the Board of
17    Higher Education.
18        (27) A representative from the College of Education of
19    a rural public university, appointed by the Board of
20    Higher Education.
21        (28) A representative from the College of Education of
22    a private university, appointed by the Board of Higher
23    Education.
24        (29) A representative of an urban community college,
25    appointed by the Illinois Community College Board.
26        (30) A representative of a suburban community college,



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1    appointed by the Illinois Community College Board.
2        (31) A representative of rural community college,
3    appointed by the Illinois Community College Board.
4    (c) The advisory committee shall meet quarterly. The
5committee meetings shall be open to the public in accordance
6with the provisions of the Open Meetings Act.
7    Section 30. Reporting. The Consortium shall report to the
8General Assembly, to the Senate and House Committees with
9oversight over higher education, to the Governor, and to the
10advisory committee on the progress made by the Consortium. A
11report must include, but is not limited to, all of the
12following information:
13        (1) Student enrollment numbers for the fall and spring
14    terms or semesters, retention rates, persistence in
15    relevant associate, baccalaureate, and credential
16    programs, including demographic data that is disaggregated
17    by race, ethnicity, and federal Pell Grant status,
18    reported twice per year. Completion numbers and rates,
19    employer type, and years worked shall be reported
20    annually.
21        (2) Tuition rates charged and net prices paid,
22    reported both as including and excluding student loans, by
23    enrolled members of the incumbent workforce, reported
24    annually.
25        (3) Outreach plans to recruit and enroll incumbent



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1    workforce members, reported twice per year.
2        (4) Participation of the incumbent workforce in
3    outreach programs, which may include participation in an
4    informational session, social media engagement, or other
5    activities, reported twice per year.
6        (5) Student academic and holistic support plans to
7    help the enrolled incumbent workforce persist in their
8    education, reported annually.
9        (6) Evidence of engagement and responsiveness to the
10    needs of employer partners, reported annually.
11        (7) The Consortium budget including the use of federal
12    funds, reported annually.
13        (8) Member contributions, including financial,
14    physical, or in-kind contributions, provided to the
15    Consortium, reported annually.
16    Section 35. Goals and metrics.
17    (a) By July 1, 2021 or within 60 days after the effective
18date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the
19Board of Higher Education's Strategic Plan Educator Workforce
20subgroup on the early childhood workforce must set goals for
21the Consortium for the enrollment, persistence, and completion
22of members of the incumbent workforce in associate,
23bachelor's, and master's degree programs, Gateways Credentials
24in Level 2, 3, or 4, and Professional Educator Licensure by
25September 30, 2024. The goals set for the Consortium must be



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1data informed and include targets for annual enrollment and
3    (b) Data from the Gateways Registry, March 2020, indicates
4that there are 7,670 individuals with an associate degree who
5would benefit from progressing to a baccalaureate degree and
620,467 individuals with a high school diploma or some college
7who would benefit from progressing to an associate degree. If
8the goals cannot be set in accordance with subsection (a), the
9goal for the Consortium shall be that by September 30, 2024,
1020% of the individuals described in this subsection (b) who do
11not have a degree will have enrolled and be persisting toward
12or have attained a Gateways Credential in Level 2, 3, or 4 or
13an associate degree and, of the individuals who have an
14associate degree, will be enrolled and persisting toward or
15have attained a baccalaureate degree or will be persisting
16toward or have attained a Professional Educator License.
17    (c) Student financial aid, including incentives and
18stipends, data-sharing, and professional statewide engagement
19and marketing campaign and recruitment efforts are critical to
20the Consortium's ability to quickly attract and enroll
21students into these programs. Navigators, mentors, and
22advisors are critical for persistence and completion. If
23federal funds are not appropriated for these purposes and the
24other purposes of this Section, the Board of Higher Education,
25the Illinois Community College Board, the State Board of
26Education, the Department of Human Services, and the



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1Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, in
2consultation with the advisory committee, shall adjust the
3initial target metrics appropriately by adopting challenging
4goals that may be attainable with less public investment.
5    (d) The Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community
6College Board, the State Board of Education, the Department of
7Human Services, and the Governor's Office of Early Childhood
8Development, in consultation with the advisory committee,
9shall determine new metrics and goals for the Consortium as
10they relate to the remaining and future early childhood
11workforce, to be instituted after the close of the 2024-2025
12academic year and going forward. Metrics must take into
13consideration that the pipeline depends on sustained,
14increased student enrollment and completion rates at the
15associate degree level if this State aims to continue with
16sustained, increased student enrollment and completion at the
17bachelor's degree level.
18    Section 40. Affordability. The institutions participating
19in the Consortium and the advisory committee shall work to
20ensure that students have the most affordable options for
21advancing through and attaining their degree or credentials.
22    Section 90. Rules. The Board of Higher Education and the
23Illinois Community College Board may adopt any rules necessary
24to administer and implement this Act.



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1    Section 500. The Transitions in Education Act is amended
2by adding Section 130-10 as follows:
3    (110 ILCS 180/130-10 new)
4    Sec. 130-10. Gateway Credentials; associate degree.
5    (a) A community college student who earns the Department
6of Human Services's Gateways ECE Credential Level 4 as part of
7an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in early
8childhood education that is consistent with the degree
9requirements established by the Illinois Community College
10Board and the Board of Higher Education, as appropriate, is
11deemed eligible for transfer into an early childhood education
12baccalaureate program at a public university if the student
13meets all of the requirements of the AAS degree program, is
14transferring from a program entitled to offer the Gateways ECE
15Credential Level 4, and earns a minimum grade point average of
16a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
17    (b) Recognizing that the AAS degree and other associate
18degrees provide important pathways into the early childhood
19education profession and notwithstanding any other provision
20of law to the contrary, a public university shall grant junior
21level status in an early childhood education program to any
22community college student who has graduated from an Illinois
23community college with an Associate of Applied Science degree
24in early childhood education. A public university may not



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1require students transferring pursuant to this Section to
2repeat courses taken and completed successfully at the
3community college and applied toward the associate degree
4granted pursuant to subsection (a) of this Section. All
5courses completed successfully in the AAS degree program must
6count toward baccalaureate degree completion. Students
7entering with an AAS may not be required to take a total number
8of credits greater than those students first starting in a
9baccalaureate degree program. This includes any courses in
10which credit for prior learning was used to determine course
11equivalency and credit was awarded by the evaluating
12institution. Additional coursework may be required if a
13student is seeking to add one or more endorsements to the
14student's Illinois Professional Educator License.
15    Section 999. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
16becoming law.".