The 21st Show

Kindergarten Readiness; Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel; Solar in Southern Illinois


(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

On The 21st: We talk to the members of the Anti-Harassment, Equity and Access Panel about what they're doing to level the playing field for women in politics. Also, what's behind the "solar boom" in Southern Illinois? But first, a new statewide study is measuring something called kindergarten readiness - that is, whether kindergarten students are ready for the school year when they first enter.

Just one out of every four Kindergarteners are ready for their first year of elementary school. That’s according to a study about kindergarten readiness that the State Board of Education released yesterday - the first of its kind.

We were joined by Ginger Ostro, executive director of the education advocacy group Advance Illinois along with Dana Burris, a kindergarten teacher with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary Fine Arts School in Evanston. 



At 35 percent, Illinois ranks sixth in the nation when it comes to the percentage of state legislators who are women. But, as the national spotlight turned to the #metoo movement, Illinois was no exception when it came to allegations of sexual harassment in the statehouse.

Now, a new, nonpartisan Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel aims to help eliminate harassment in the workplace, especially for women in government.

We spoke with two of the co-founders of the Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel. Susana Mendoza has served as the Illinois Comptroller since 2016. She has also served as the City Clerk for the city of Chicago and was a state representative for the 1st District in Illinois.

Also joining us was State Sen. Melinda Bush who represents the 31st district which spans Northern Lake County.


Over the past few years, Southern Illinoisans have been getting more and more interest from developers wanting to use their farm land for solar farms.

What’s behind this solar farm boom - and what does it mean for Southern Illinois towns who have relied on coal for generations?

Larry West is a former coal worker who is now the City Clerk for the town of Pinckneyville, a town about about an hour and a half Southeast of St. Louis.

Also joining us was Jim Chilsen. Jim is with the Citizens Utility Board, a Chicago based nonprofit which advocates for residential utility customers across the state. And Terri Maddox. She’s a reporter from the Belleville News Democrat who has been reporting on the rising popularity of solar energy in Southern Illinois.

Story source: WILL