Education

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

An advocacy group is calling on Illinois to make higher education more equitable for students.  It says that means changing the way it funds post-secondary schooling.

Before they dug into the numbers, Kyle Westbrook said his group wanted to try to reframe the conversation around the cost of college in Illinois.

More than 2,000 state employees report to work at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop.  But the building, constructed in the early 1980's, has a host of problems.  Repairs will be costly.  The State of Illinois is moving forward in an effort to sell the facility, which some say is an architectural gem.  We look at the pros and cons of the Thompson Center on this epsiode. 

Also, the tragic story of young women who suffered radiation poisoning working at an Illinois factory. That and more on Statewide.

If a school resource officer wants to question a student about a criminal act, they first have to notify the student's parents. That's according to a new law implemented at the beginning of this school year.

But State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), says at least one district has already created a workaround. 

"The resource officer's dog, a K-9 unit, was walking through the parking lot and alerted on a student's car. The student got questioned with the resource officer present. They looked at the car, there was nothing there,” Kifowit says. “And the parent was never notified of this questioning until the student came home upset."

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

State disinvestment in higher education has put a college degree out of reach for many Illinois students. That’s a key finding from a new series of reports from the Partnership for College Completion.

The “Priced Out” reports focus on the three groups most impacted by funding lapses: Black, Latinx and students who live in rural communities.

Peter Medlin

During a recent visit to an elementary school in Rockford, the kids were making catapults in the MakerSpace lab. The lab is one of the central hubs of the STEAM Academy at Haskell Elementary. It’s in a new modular building, housed next to their 60-year-old school.

On weeks they don’t get to work in the MakerSpace lab, students try their hand at Lego education.

Spencer Tritt

The beginning of the school year is always hectic. That’s according to Suzy Changnon. She’s been a paraprofessional in the DeKalb School District for around 15 years.

If you’re not sure who paraprofessionals are, you might know them better as instructional assistants or aids.

“There's a lot of scrambling," as Changnon characterized the job. "Students have needs that need to be met. And sometimes a lot of us are doing double duty trying to cover one schedule and then breaking away mid-class to go help another student.”

The Illinois State Board of Education yesterday released its new report card. That name makes it sound like gives schools a grade, which it does. But there’s much more to it than that. Here are five things you need to know about the Illinois Report Card:  

This week, we hear how the legal system can have a disproportionate impact on low income individuals.  Fines and fees can pile up and experts say that can keep people in a cycle of poverty.  We'll learn what other states are doing to improve the situation.

East St. Louis has a rich cultural history, but even many of its residents are unaware.  A new effort is underway to show the town's contributions.

And speaking of history, Illinois has plenty to brag about when it comes to homegrown musical artists.  We'll learn about plans for the Rock and Roll Museum on Route 66.

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Peter Medlin

This week on Teachers’ Lounge, we take a look at the science behind brewing with DeKalb High School biology teacher, Steve Byers. He’s also the owner and brewmaster behind the new Byers Brewing Company in downtown DeKalb. Byers talked with Peter about how he got started brewing in college trying to recreate his favorite discontinued beers. They also discuss how he manages running a small business, being a full-time teacher, oh, and he has a new baby!

Enrollment declined at Illinois community colleges again this fall, driven in part by a strong economy and low unemployment.

Last week, Northern Illinois University announced the Huskie Pledge. The grant could cover tuition and fees for a student’s first year and up to four additional years.

The university is now offering more details on what the process will look like for students interested in applying.

Peter Medlin

The organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a report on Thursday on after-school programs.

The report found that the hours immediately following school, between 2 to 6 p.m., when youth are most likely to get in trouble with the law.

 

We sit down with a woman who spent years in prison for the murder of her 3-year old son.  She was later exonerated.  But in our conversation with Kristine Bunch, she talks about her time behind bars, her struggle with forgiveness and why returning to her friends and family has been challenging.   

The amazing scenery of the Shawnee National Forest makes it a tourist destination.  But some of its most popular sites might soon begin charging admission.  We find out what's behind the change. 

That and more on this episode of Statewide. 

 

Yuliana Quintana worries she won’t succeed in college because she didn’t have access to lab equipment, Advanced Placement classes, and other resources during her high school years.

Peter Medlin

About a mile away from Northern Illinois University’s campus in DeKalb, a nice 2-story house on the corner of Woodlawn Drive is vacant. The only sign of wear in sight is on a small metal sign in the freshly cut yard where the address is slowly rusting away. 

Built in 1955, this house has been home to the presidents of NIU. But, when Dr. Lisa Freeman was hired last year, she already had a home in DeKalb.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's approval rating is strong in the latest Illinois Issues survey, conducted last month involving registered voters from across the state.  While more people see the state making progress, a majority of those responding still say the state is going in the wrong direction.  We'll break down the findings.

Also, a national marijuana advocacy group sees Illinois' recreational cannabis law as a big win - not just for the cause in Illinois, but across the country. 

And, a new report has recommendations for keeping teachers of color in the classroom.

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

This week, a conversation with Lissette Jacobson about growing up the daughter of Mexican immigrants, social justice, using football to bond with boys in her school and what it takes to be a successful administrator. She is the new principal of Pioneer Elementary School in West Chicago.

District 300

Eastview Elementary School in Algonquin was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School.

This is the first time in more than three decades (and the second time ever) a school in Community School District 300 has received the distinction.

The award recognizes either “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing” or, like Eastview, “Exemplary High Performing” schools.

It’s based on student scores placing in the Top 15 in the state for Math and English.

Jim Zursin is the principal at Eastview.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University wants to make the list of companies that it contracts with more inclusive. This year, its Diversity Vendor Networking Fair will focus on small businesses, as well as firms owned by women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans.

About a dozen children with complex medical needs have been kicked out of school over a funding dispute. The children reside at Children's Habilitation Center — a long-term care facility for children with complex medical needs, located in Harvey, Illinois.

On Friday, CHC filed a lawsuit against the West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147, the Illinois State Board of Education, and several other school districts.

The STEM Read Podcast - Going Wild

Sep 30, 2019

Going Wild with Peter Brown and Dr. Holly Jones

In this episode of the STEM Read Podcast Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile), Kristin Brynteson (@kbrynteson), and Melanie Koss (@melaniekoss) sit down with NIU Biology professor Holly Jones, Ph.D., and author of The Wild Robot Peter Brown (@itspeterbrown) to talk island ecosystems, endangered species, writing, and robotics. 

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

Rich Egger, news director at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, joins us for a special edition episode of Teachers’ Lounge. Public radio stations across the state collaborated on our “Enrollment Exodus” series chronicling enrollment challenges facing Illinois colleges and universities, especially since the 2015-2017 state budget impasse.

A four-year degree is not the only option for students when they finish high school. But many choose community college in an effort to join the workforce sooner and save on tuition costs.

Community colleges funnel a lot of students into four-year institutions.

So-called articulation agreements like the ones John A. Logan Community College has with Southern Illinois University let students feel secure their credits will transfer, and count toward a degree.

When Francisco Gamino arrived at Parkland College four years ago, he didn’t know how to balance work and find the time he needed to study.

A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate student and lecturer has filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, alleging the university withheld public documents regarding faculty sexual misconduct that should have been released through public records requests.

RICH EGGER

Tammy Yates was excited to come to Macomb seven years ago. Yates and her partner Chad Hunziker opened Chubby's, a restaurant on West Adams Street, just a few blocks from the Western Illinois University campus.

"Just the vibe of the whole campus in 2012 was happy. It was positive and people were having fun," said Yates.

"It’s a little different now."

Changes In Store For NIU Title IX Office

Sep 17, 2019
Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University's Title IX coordinator says there are changes being made to her office.  They come in a response to a student protest in May.  

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination at education institutions receiving federal funding.  Coordinator Sarah Garner says her office is currently in the process of hiring a Title IX investigator. 

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

Since returning to DeKalb a decade ago, Maurice McDavid has held many titles. Some call him their teacher, others call him their preacher. To some of his elementary school students, he even goes by his hip-hop moniker, Mr. McDizzle. But above all of that, he's trying to be an advocate in the town he was raised in.

Also on the show, a topic with both international and personal ramifications: cybersecurity.

Former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Gary Gang Xu assaulted and threatened students while university officials downplayed complaints, a lawsuit says. He ultimately resigned, taking $10,000 as part of his separation agreement.

This article was produced in partnership with NPR Illinois, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

FLORIDAHEALTH.GOV / FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

 

Over the summer, public schools across Illinois received kits designed to help staff members respond in the event of life-threatening injuries. Each kit contains Nitrile gloves, a MicroShield mask, QuikClot bandages, and a tourniquet — just enough supplies to help save one person from bleeding to death. Schools can receive up to five more free kits if they train more staff on a curriculum called STOP the Bleed

Pages