education

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Illinois is offering a new tool for students and their parents to plan for college.

The tool is a website and app called ILCollege2Career. It takes data from Illinois universities and matches it with how likely someone is to find a job in a given field — and how much that job might pay.

It’s meant to be a one-stop shop for students looking for the perfect school for their major. The catch is that there’s only data on Illinois schools. It’s aimed at keeping homegrown students in-state. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner/Facebook

A new state law will allow Illinois high school students to take an unlimited number of dual-credit courses and earn both high school and college credits.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Friday that he says will give students better access to higher education. The General Assembly unanimously approved the measure in May.

Some school districts have limited the number of dual-credit classes students may enroll in or the number of credits they may earn.

The Sound of Science - "Coffee"

Aug 10, 2018

Kate: Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m Kate Powers, and today’s question comes from Alex who wants to know why coffee tastes so weird. With me is STEM Outreach’s resident coffee enthusiast Sam Watt. Sam loves his coffee so much, he even went out of his way to pick and roast his own coffee in a coffee grove in Cambodia!

FLICKR USER: DCJOHN WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/DCJOHN/

A new Illinois law will give gifted children the chance to move ahead in public schools.

 

 

 

April Alonso / The Chicago Reporter

A series of state laws meant to reduce the number of kids getting kicked out of school appears to have worked. That’s the good news. But the bad news is: Those same laws also seem to have magnified racial disparities in school discipline.

Kalyn Belsha covers education for the Chicago Reporter, and she analyzed three years worth of discipline data from the Illinois State Board of Education.

A former DeKalb schools superintendent was arrested at his Elgin home today, accused of sending explicit photos of a person without consent.

Police executed an arrest warrant Thursday for former DeKalb schools superintendent Doug Moeller.

The district had placed Moeller on paid leave in the fall of 2016, shortly after a former principal sought an order of protection against him for alleged sexual harassment. He was dismissed the following April.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A clerical bargaining unit at Northern Illinois University still doesn’t have an initial union contract with NIU after their negotiations meeting earlier this week. That’s after more than two years of talks.

The more than 600 members of AFSCME Local 1890 are now looking at their legal rights to strike, according to union spokeswoman Sara Dorner.

Dorner says that’s a different approach than the union's original plan. Clerical, administrative and paraprofessional workers planned to picket on NIU’s DeKalb campus every Monday at noon until they have an initial contract.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

More than 20 students at a Rockford high school won’t have to leave the school to get paid as local credit union workers this fall.

What’s now a classroom next to the cafeteria soon will become a credit union within Guilford High School, according to Chris Magee, the college and career academy coach at GHS.

Magee says students also will help design the space and determine what type of work environment they want for this branch. She says the goal is to teach students financial literacy before they leave high school and to help them establish a relationship with a bank.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Members of a state employee union picketed on Northern Illinois University’s DeKalb campus on Monday. That’s after recent negotiations between union members and NIU officials still have not yielded an initial contract.

AFSCME Local 1890 members and allies marched near the student center in support of an initial contract for the bargaining unit, which is comprised of NIU clerical, administrative and paraprofessional employees.

Jenna Dooley

On Thursday, students at the Spectrum Progressive School of Rockford held selfie sticks with cell phones while they roamed around capturing the normal sights of their classroom. Then, 3D creatures seemingly popped out of thin air right onto their screens-- from dinosaurs to spiders. It’s part of Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program. Google associates train local teachers who then take their students on the virtual adventures.

Illinois Department of Revenue

Beginning this week, people and corporations donating up to $1.3 million for private school scholarships can get a 75 percent credit toward their state income tax. This was a controversial but bipartisan concept, adopted last summer to help forge a compromise in a big overhaul of Illinois' school funding plan.

Such programs have taken off in other states, but it’s off to a slower start here.

Katie Finlon/WNIJ

Sycamore High School students have spoken: The majority are in favor of a flexible schedule during school days.

More than 80 percent of all Sycamore High School students, families and teachers say they would be in favor of a flexible schedule during school days. That’s according to survey data collected by administration recently.

Tim Carlson, principal of Sycamore High School, says he is all for anything that could better prepare students for the modern workforce, especially when it comes to teaching kids how to better manage their free time.

Rockford Public Schools

A Rockford school has the highest composite score in Illinois on this year’s state standardized tests.

Rockford school officials say students at Thurgood Marshall School had the highest composite score of all Illinois public schools compared with other fifth- through eighth-graders in the state.

University of Illinois Police

An October 11 arraignment date has been set for Brendt Christensen, after a federal grand jury returned a new indictment accusing the alleged kidnapper of Yingying Zhang of murdering her as well.

New NIU Stevens Building May Be Open By Next Summer

Oct 4, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s new theater and anthropology building may be ready for students and faculty by next summer.

NIU spokesman Joe King says he walked through the NIU Stevens Building project site recently. He says the difference between the old and new buildings already is astounding, with a large anthropology lecture hall, brighter labs, bigger theater performance spaces and better classrooms all the way around.

King says the renovation project is scheduled for completion by next spring, but not necessarily in time to house classes for either department.

"Teachers Pet" by Flickr User Matthew / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois education officials say the elimination of some requirements for teacher licenses has streamlined the licensing process and hasn't sacrificed the state's high standards.

The Chicago Tribune reports the changes to the licensing laws began in 2011. Some allow aspiring teachers to bypass certain coursework and exams.

Some administrators say those changes have helped fill jobs in areas with teacher shortages.

Rockford Public Schools

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said he's filing a measure designed to launch major changes in higher education.

Citing the high out-migration of students to other states, Rose wants to make it easier for Illinois students to enter state universities.

He aims to create a common application form for all 12 public university campuses and guarantee acceptance for any student who finished high school with a B average.

NIU Researchers Will Test Health App Effectiveness

Sep 27, 2017
Flickr user Leonardo Angelini / "#fitness" (CC V 2.0)

Northern Illinois University health and computer science researchers want to test how a fitness app they developed works.

Researchers say they hope to have 100 people participate in the test. The eight-week study looks at how fitness apps and health behavior may be connected.

Participants would download the app to their phones, use it when they work out, and see how effective it is. The features would be adjusted continually by researchers.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Students at Kishwaukee College will get a financial reward if they earn a C or better in their credit courses this academic year.

Kishwaukee College board members announced the Student Success Scholarship, which will cover half of the ten-dollar-per-credit hour tuition hike they approved in March. The scholarships will be credited to qualified students' accounts after final grades are posted.

Susan Stephens

Illinois Public Universities - Fall 2017 Enrollment
Infogram

There’s a three percent increase in freshman enrollment at Northern Illinois University this year.

NIU Biology Professor Gets $900K Grant For Research

Sep 6, 2017
Northern Illinois University

The National Science Foundation has awarded a research grant to a Northern Illinois University biology professor for more than $900,000.

Associate Prof. Yanbin Yin says the research purposes the grant will fund are two-fold. The goal is to better understand how plant enzymes produce and break down carbohydrates and to develop a software to help scientists better analyze that kind of data.

“So knowing which genes include those carbohydrate-active enzymes will be very useful for their downstream manifest, like design better biofuel,” Yin said.

state of Illinois

A day after praising a tentative deal in Illinois' school funding fight, Gov. Bruce Rauner is giving it mixed reviews.

Bipartisan legislative leaders say they've outlined an agreement to fund schools, but details are being worked out.

On Thursday Rauner applauded leaders' efforts on "historic" funding reform. But on Friday he said there's still too much money for Chicago and he'll try to fix problems with "subsequent legislation."

AFSCME Wins Advisory Ruling Against NIU Parking Hike

Aug 25, 2017
niu.edu / afscme.org

An Illinois state labor board has ruled that its General Counsel should side with a Northern Illinois University employee union regarding the raise of parking pass prices. But the office says it’s not the final word on the case.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board office says the legally-binding decision is expected to come later next month.

NIU raised the price of parking permits by $19 in July 2016. That was after NIU and the newly-formed AFSCME bargaining unit – which includes clerical and administrative professionals – entered negotiations in February 2016.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois legislative leaders say they've reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, but details have not been released.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin issued a statement Thursday saying there's "agreement in principle," but wording won't be released until "drafts have been reviewed."

Democratic leaders Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement that they've reached "agreement in concept."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said it's likely she will have to skip another payment to the state’s public school districts as the result of a political fight between Democrats in the legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Mendoza said schools are expecting another payment from the state on Sunday.

"Every single child across the state of Illinois is being attacked right now because of nonsensical politics at play from Governor Rauner," Mendoza said.

Schools are not receiving state money while elected officials debate how best to distribute state money.

House Democrats called a vote Wednesday on legislation that incorporates the changes that Gov. Bruce Rauner wants in a new formula for financing public schools. Democrats said they wanted to gauge support for Rauner's ideas.

The governor issued an amendatory veto to a school-funding model he says unfairly favors Chicago schools and hinders state funding flexibility.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, says he is optimistic that lawmakers can reach bipartisan agreement.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Schools are still waiting on their main payment from Illinois government, as Democrats and Republicans continue to fight over how to divvy up the money.

The state Senate has announced it’ll take up the matter Sunday, but Illinois already missed a deadline.

That came and went Thursday, when state Comptroller Susana Mendoza said for the first time in Illinois history, her office could not send schools their first round of funding.

It’s the first time in Illinois history that K-12 schools did not receive a General State Aid payment. That’s because the legislature hasn’t yet decided whether to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill One.

But Comptroller Susana Mendoza did issue nearly $429 million in Mandated Categorical grants.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Local school districts would have to pay pension costs for all newly hired teachers if the General Assembly upholds Gov. Bruce Rauner's rewrite of the school funding plan known as Senate Bill One.

 

CPS To Lay Off Nearly 1,000 Staffers

Aug 7, 2017
CPS

Nearly 1,000 Chicago Public Schools employees — including 356 teachers — are getting pink slips due to projected decreases in student enrollment and program changes, the district announced on Monday.

CPS said this is the lowest number of teacher layoffs in a decade. High schools, which are seeing the greatest enrollment declines in the district, are the hardest hit. High schools will lose 466 support staff and 116 teachers. Historically, 60 percent of laid off teachers are rehired elsewhere in the district, CPS said.

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