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Illinois lawmakers hope to improve early childhood education, especially for minority students

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – (WREX) — Lawmakers in Illinois come together to discuss early childhood education. Lawmakers feel this is a key area of learning that is overlooked in minority communities.

Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus joined the Senate Education Committee hearing on Wednesday. Advocates and lawmakers are concerned that fewer than a third of Illinois students are prepared to enter kindergarten which they say further proves the equity gap starts early for children.

Some hope to work on proposals for school affordability and accountability for educational programs. Senator Christopher Belt emphasized on Wednesday that students need strong role models in the classroom that look like them.

He says many Black students only see Black women in their early years of education.

"You don't see Black men in the informative years until your mind and your behaviors are shaped. Usually by the third grade, you formed a good portion of who you are," said Senator Belt.

Lawmakers plan on holding several education hearings before they return to the capital in November.

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Cassandra Bretl

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