Senate Week in Review: October 24-28, 2022

SPRINGFIELD – The 2021-2022 Illinois Report Card released during the week shows that Illinois students are well-behind performance levels of 2019.

In more disappointing news, Illinois now has the worst unemployment rate in the nation.

And the autumn season brings trick-or-treating and more deer. Be sure to find all the tips to keep you safe this fall!

New report shows Illinois students falling short in academics

During the week, the Illinois School Board of Education released the 2021-2022 Illinois Report Card, which demonstrated the long-term learning loss that Illinois students incurred during the pandemic. Students fell behind in baseline performance in many categories compared to 2019 levels.

State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says the Governor’s forced lockdowns and school-closures have led to the poor results in our schools.

Some of the findings in the report include:

  • The 2022 percentage of students meeting or exceeding the baseline performance level in English Language Arts (ELA) on the Illinois Assessment Readiness (IAR) exam fell to 30.1 percent, a reduction of 7.7 percent from the 2019 percentage of 37.8 percent.
  • The 2022 percentage of students meeting or exceeding the baseline performance level in mathematics on the Illinois Assessment Readiness (IAR) exam fell to 25.5 percent in 2022, a reduction of 6.3 percent from the 2019 percentage of 31.8 percent.
  • The 2022 percentage of students meeting or exceeding the baseline performance level for ELA on the SAT fell to 29.8 percent, a reduction of 6.5 percent from the 2019 percentage of 36.3 percent.
  • The 2022 percentage of students meeting or exceeding the baseline performance level for mathematics on the SAT fell to 28.8 percent, a reduction of 5.6 percent from the 2019 percentage of 34.4 percent.
    • Almost every demographic experienced a decline from 2019 to 2022 in the percentage of students who met or exceeded baseline standards on the SAT.
  • The 2022 percentage of 8th graders passing algebra has declined since 2019. 
  • Chronic absenteeism hit 29.8 percent in 2022, 12.3 percent higher than in 2019 (17.5 percent) and even 8.8 percent higher than in 2021 (21.1 percent).
    • Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 10 percent of more of school days with or without an excuse.

Senator Tracy says these numbers, as grim as they are, also fail to take into account the social, emotional, and health impacts that Gov. JB Pritzker’s school closures had on our kids.

The full report can be read here.

Illinois has nation’s worst unemployment rate, far exceeding surrounding states

Illinois continues to lag behind in rebounding from the economic toll caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. New unemployment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Illinois has a rate of 4.5 percent at the end of September—the highest in the nation.

The most recent figures also show Illinois’ surrounding states in far better shape—making Illinois an extreme outlier. Missouri is doing the best with 2.4 percent. Iowa and Indiana are at 2.7 and 2.8 percent respectively. Wisconsin has a rate of 3.2 percent, Kentucky has a rate of 3.8 percent, and Michigan is at 4.1 percent.

Senator Tracy says recent policy failures at the state level play a large factor behind Illinois falling short regionally and nationally when it comes to creating jobs.

Stay Safe While You Trick-or-Treat

As Halloween approaches, Senator Tracy wants to share some important safety information and tips to help keep you and your children safe.

When planning your trick-or-treat outing, stick to the hours designated by your local community. If your teenage child is going out alone, encourage them to do so in groups and stay in well-lit areas. Children should never enter a stranger’s home for candy. Make sure to check that all candy is safe to eat and does not contain any allergens relevant to your child.

Additionally, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is offering some tips:

  • When choosing costumes, make sure to stay away from long trailing fabric.
  • Always check to make sure the fabric is flame resistant. 
  • If your child is wearing a mask, check that eye holes are large enough to provide an unrestricted view.
  • When trick-or-treating, have your children carry a flash flight to not only light their way, but to keep them visible as well. Also, think about incorporating glow stickers on their costumes to increase visibility.

Warning to drivers of deer mating season

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are reminding drivers that deer mating season is here, which means deer become more active and pose a danger on roadways.

In 2021, more than 42 percent of crashes involving deer in Illinois occurred in October, November, and December. November was the highest-risk month. While crashes can happen anywhere, rural environments were the site of more than 72 percent of all motor vehicle crashes involving deer, with more than 71 percent occurring at twilight or nighttime.

Safe driving tips for deer mating season include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with deer crossing signs.
  • Scan the sides of the road for eye shine – the reflection of headlights in their eyes.
  • Slow down if you see a deer. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Deer may stop in the middle of the road.
  • If a collision is inevitable, don’t veer. Try to glance your vehicle off the deer and avoid swerving into the opposite lanes of traffic or off the road.

If you hit a deer, pull off to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights and call 911 to report the accident. Do not exit the vehicle to check on an injured deer or pull it from the road.

For information on how to claim a deer involved in a crash, or to report possession of a deer killed in a deer-vehicle crash, click here or visit the IDNR website

Jil Tracy

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