Education

N'Jema McIntyre / WNIJ

Scholars from Ecuador are wrapping up a seven month stay at Northern Illinois University. 

The 37 teachers came to the United States to study English.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa is pushing the importance of higher standards for education. He is investing in teachers to build a better education system in his country. And that means sending teachers to the U.S.

“You have the best high education system in the world. So we have to learn a lot for the state in this subject.”

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

llinois’ truth-in-tuition law was designed to keep college affordable. But it might be having the opposite effect.

  Since 2003, Illinois parents have banked on the law that guarantees their kids’ tuition rate  will remain at the same rate for at least four years. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says that allows families to plan their finances, making the state’s public universities an attractive option. But think about it:

Study Ranks Illinois Public Schools 10th Nationwide

Jul 29, 2015

Illinois ranks tenth among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the quality of its public school systems, according to a new study.

The state ranked first in the percentage of high school graduates who completed the ACT and second in the average SAT score, personal-finance website WalletHub reported. It also ranked above average – in 23rd place – in the dropout rate.

Illinois was just below average in bullying incidents, placing 26th, and in school safety, ranked at 27th. The statewide pupil-teacher ratio earned a ranking of 30th.

A plan that would limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions is moving through the Illinois legislature. 

The measure would end zero-tolerance policies and the practice of charging fees for minor infractions and emphasize in-house measures over expulsions.

A Chicago youth group pushed the changes for the past two years. Along the way, they dropped a component that sought to limit offenses warranting arrests on campus.

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

A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would help high school students know what kind of college credit to expect for their advanced placement test scores.

High school students taking AP exams know they have to score at least a three on a five-point scale to pass, but they don't know which Illinois universities will give them credit for that score.

A score of three on a Biology test might earn college credit at Western Illinois University, for example, but not at Illinois State. Same goes for all 34 AP tests across all Illinois universities.  

DeKalb School District Gets A Security Upgrade

Feb 4, 2015
DeKalb.org

DeKalb School District 428 has gone high-tech to help prevent potential security threats. Superintendent Douglas Moeller is confident the new security measure, known as the Raptor System, will be effective to address security risks rapidly.

“It obviously is much more convenient for our families who we do want to be involved in their children’s school experience,” Moeller said. “The old process was time-consuming; and a lot of parents, I think, felt that we were trying to keep them out of schools rather than welcoming them into our schools.”

Arlington Heights’ John Hersey High School, Prospect High School and Naperville Central High School are among the top 20 high schools in Illinois. That’s according to the website CityDescribed.com.

The list was based on criteria such as extracurricular activities, ACT scores and AP test pass rates. 

Flickr user / Lee Ruk "2013 Dec.19, Pre-School 3" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois won an $80 million federal grant to increase access to early childhood education. 

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the award Wednesday. The state will receive a maximum of $20 million per year for four years.

The program is intended to help four-year-olds from low-income families attend preschool. 

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

New statistics released by the Illinois State Board of Education show that more than half of Illinois' public school students are low-income.

facebook.com/GovernorQuinn & facebook.com/BruceRauner

Both major party candidates for governor say Illinois should put more money into education. But neither is ready to embrace a controversial plan that would change how state money is distributed to schools.

A proposal passed by the state senate is meant to even out how much money schools have to operate. Schools where poverty is high and property values are low would get more state funding by cutting money for wealthier districts.

Supporters say the change is fair. Gov. Pat Quinn isn't on board.

State of Illinois

State education leaders urge Illinoisans to weigh in on their priorities for education as the state develops the 2016 K-12 budget.

The State Board of Education will hold public hearings to gather opinions and ideas about resources and funding. This year the hearings will also offer attendees an opportunity to give feedback on Senate Bill 16, which would distribute state dollars more equitably among public school districts. 

Freeport School District

Freeport School District Superintendent Roberta Selleck has submitted her resignation to the Freeport School Board.

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.

Freeport School Board Investigating Superintendent

Aug 18, 2014
Freeport School District 145

The Freeport School Board says it is investigating the district superintendent for “certain administrative actions and decisions.”

In an August 17 written statement, Board President Janice Crutchfield says that the Board decided to place Superintendent Roberta Selleck on paid administrative leave on July 15 while the Board pursued its investigation.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

School superintendents in Illinois are getting a chance to weigh in on what could be a huge change in the state’s public school funding formula. 

Rock Valley College / rockvalleycollege.edu

After a national search, Rock Valley College has gone in-house for its new president.  The College's Board of Trustees today announced it has selected Michael Mastroianni as RVC's sixth president.  

Lawmaker Pushes For Changes To Education Funding

Apr 3, 2014
ilga.gov

Illinois lawmakers are beginning to debate how much money the state will put toward education.  First, though, a group of legislators say Illinois needs to fix how it parcels out that money to individual districts.

Senator Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, says Illinois has a problem with the "how." He says the state uses an outdated formula to determine what portion of Illinois' education budget each school gets.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

School districts are pressing ahead with implementing Common Core education standards. They’re required to start using federal standardized tests next year. 

Susan Stephens/Roberta F / Creative Commons

The Illinois State Board of Education is warning school districts to prepare to make due with less next fiscal year.

Tougher Tests for Illinois Students

Feb 4, 2013
State Board of Education

Student achievement tests given to third through eighth graders will be more difficult this year.  The Illinois Standards Achievement Tests are meant to measure learning in areas like language and math.  But the new versions given this spring will require a broader understanding of subjects.  Illinois will also raise the bar for meeting learning standards, which means fewer students are likely to hit the benchmarks. 

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The Rockford Public School Board has named Ehren Jarrett as its new Superintendent.  The board will begin contract negotiations with the possibility of Jarrett assuming his new role July 1, 2013. Interim Superintendent Robert Willis is expected to stay on until then.

TRS

A labor union is demanding the resignation of the head of Illinois' teacher pension system. The union doesn't like what he's been saying about the future of teachers' retirement benefits. Richard Ingram says in order to solve the long-term funding problems of the Teachers' Retirement System, the state has to consider reducing automatic cost-of-living increases for retirees.

mchenry.edu

McHenry County College will receive nearly $600,000 over three years from a U.S. Labor Department  grant to expand its manufacturing and robotics training programs. According to the McHenry County Labor Report of 2011, manufacturing is the largest employment sector of industry in McHenry County.

College Illinois Up and Running...Again

Oct 2, 2012
College Illinois

College Illinois is once again open for business. The state's troubled pre-paid tuition program had previously stopped selling contracts amid reports of financial mismanagement.

9 Rockford schools will get more resources

Jun 18, 2012

Nine Rockford schools will be getting additional resources to help administrators deal with discipline and truancy problems and a lack of parent involvement.

Officials with the Rockford School District say the schools are in what they're calling a neighborhood empowerment zone, which has high crime rates and a higher volume of 911 calls. Officials say more than 90 percent of students at the schools also are economically disadvantaged and qualify for free or reduced lunch rates.

WNIJ

A state commission says Illinois schools shouldn’t be forced to consolidate. Monday night's hearing in Rockford was the final of four public hearings on the issue.  The Classrooms First Commission has now toured its plan around the state.    House Bill 1216 was signed into law on August 23, 2011, creating a commission to research issues affecting school districts.

Around Illinois – April 25

Apr 25, 2012

  • More high school math supported
  • Poll sees gaming as a good bet
  • A test for chlorine safety in Rockford
  • Church installs solar panels
  • Did owners keep workers' health, retirement funds?

Lottery Dollars for Education

Apr 3, 2012

 

Do schools benefit from increased lottery sales?

 

It looks like Illinois will keep most of its regional offices of education. A commission charged with reviewing the need for the offices and the position of Regional Superintendent released its recommendation today: it proposed cutting the number of offices from 44 to 35. 

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