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Common Core learning standards are a major topic of debate in the U.S. 44 states, including Illinois, have adopted these standards. Supporters say the initiative will better prepare students for college and careers by inspiring more creative thinking and problem solving. Opponents fear they will result in excessive testing and a loss of local control.Illinois adopted the standards in 2010. So far, they've been applied to math and English language arts. New science standards have been approved for the 2016-2017 school year.These reports follow some of the Common Core movement we've seen in Illinois. Additional reports will be filed as this initiative unfolds.

Back-To-School Webinar To Explain Changes In Illinois Schools

The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois PTA have teamed up to offer their first Back To School webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

It will feature the state superintendent and others giving parents more details about changes in schools.  That includes new learning standards and tests.

"Obviously it's a large and diverse state.  So this is one way of getting to parents and sharing with them some of the news," says Mary Fergus, who works at the Board. "So this is just another way to talk about how implementation of those standards is going."

New standardized tests this school year will replace the Prairie State Achievement Exam and the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.  The focus will be on having students explain answers, rather than simply picking the correct one.   The state has also adopted new standards for Language Arts and Math. Work is underway to update those for Social Studies and the Arts.

The one hour webinar is free and registration is available online here.

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