SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 15 (UPI) -- Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says the passing of an education reform bill by the Illinois Senate is a step in improving schools.
The Illinois Senate voted 59-0 on the measure that would lengthen the school year. It now goes to the Illinois House, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday.
"The unanimous passage of education reform legislation in the Illinois Senate is a first step in what could be a historic victory for Chicago students. This bill paves the way for essential reforms to Chicago's public education system," Emanuel said in a prepared statement.
The legislation would give school districts additional power to fire poorly performing teachers and impose new rules on teacher strikes.
"This is the reason why I serve in this chamber: It's for education youth development, giving that child who lives in a poor zip code the same opportunities as a child who lives in a wealthy zip code," bill sponsor Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said.
The legislation is also supported by Gov. Pat Quinn, who said it "helps us make sure that we have the best teachers in our classrooms and assures effective teacher performance."