Education

Education and learning

Flickr user Adikos / "Female Typing" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner passed a measure four months ago that created a pilot program for virtual learning days in schools. The idea was to keep snow or emergency days to a minimum during the school year.

Now, the Illinois State Board of Education has announced the participating districts.

Kishwaukee College President Tom Choice will retire next month, and the search to fill his seat is nearing its final stages. The four finalists to become the new president of Kishwaukee College will visit the Malta campus next week.

The top four candidates selected by the Board of Trustees will take part in a public forum.

Dr. Jacqueline Elliott, President of North Arkansas College in Harrison since 2011, will be on campus Monday. She has a doctorate of education from the University of Nebraska.

Lucinda Avenue Now Open

Nov 19, 2015
N'Jema McIntyre

The Lucinda Avenue extension is now open.  The opening ceremony Wednesday was held at the rain location at Stevenson Tower South without the official ribbon cutting due to the weather. The street west of Stadium Drive is ready for cars and buses to use. The gates blocking access will be taken down some time before the end of the week.

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000?

Nov 19, 2015

We're brought up to believe our teachers are modern-day saints.

Just look at how we portray them in the movies and on TV. From Dead Poets Society's iconic Mr. Keating to resourceful LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds, we reinforce time and again that teaching is a noble calling.

These teachers are heroes, we're told. It's hard to imagine them even thinking about money.

Jenna Dooley

The Stevens Building renovation project at Northern Illinois University was halted at the end of June due to the Illinois budget stalemate.

The NIU Board of Trustees this week took action to protect the work done so far from winter damage.

The trustees approved spending $300,000 to protect a portion of the project so it can be heated as protection from the cold. Empty windows and doors also will be sealed throughout the structure to keep out animals as well as inclement weather.

U of I Trustees Sign Off On Settlement With Salaita

Nov 12, 2015
Jim Meadows

On an 9 to 1 vote,  University of Illinois Trustees have agreed on an $875,000 settlement with Steven Salaita.

Progress Made On Lucinda Avenue Extension

Nov 12, 2015
N'Jema McIntyre

The opening of the Lucinda Avenue expansion is nearing. Workers are completing the final touches to the area.

The board of trustees of Northern Illinois University approved the extension of Lucinda Avenue west, to better facilitate access for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus. The move, which required dismantling Douglas Hall, is the first significant step in re-envisioning the NIU campus.

The March 27 board meeting made the Lucinda project expansion a high priority project for the university. The goal was for the process to be completed by mid-November.

Susan Stephens

University of Illinois trustees are scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution urging state lawmakers to agree on a budget. The impasse has been weighing on the minds of many public university leaders.

Illinois has been without a budget since July, putting pressure on the state's universities to dip into cash reserves. It also worries students who rely on MAP grants.

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker says he has made several trips to Springfield, and joins other university leaders in keeping a close eye on lawmakers and the governor.

understandthescore.org

It’s been about six months since students took the PARCC exam. Despite officials saying the tests will be graded by the end of the school year, results are not yet posted.

Illinois high schools are expected to receive test results in the next couple of weeks, and schools should receive test results from 3rd through 8th grades by the beginning of next month. That’s according to an Illinois State Board of Education memo.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois released its report card for public schools last week. There are still no results from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam – known at the “PARCC” test – on the website.

WNIJ News took a look at how standard high schools rank against others in our listening area.

Carroll County has the highest average secondary-school graduation rate of 93 percent, while Winnebago County has the lowest with 76 percent.

Higher Ed Focus Of Illinois Legislative Meeting

Nov 9, 2015
State of Illinois

Illinois legislators will return to Springfield Tuesday ... with no prospect of finalizing a budget for the state. 

So what will they do during the one-day session?

Steve Brown, state House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman, says the plight of Illinois universities and community colleges will be in the spotlight during that meeting.

WUIS

VICE News published an investigation of American universities with ties to the military, police, and intelligence communities.

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale ranked number 23, due to the number of alums who work in “top secret” jobs. The amount of funding SIU receives from national security and defense agencies was another factor.

NIU Anthropology Museum Gets A New Name

Nov 4, 2015

The Anthropology museum at Northern Illinois University has been renamed to honor the contributors of a major gift.

Founded in 1964, the NIU museum will now be known as the James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology. James B. Pick is an alumnus of NIU with a master's degree in education.

WUIS

The Illinois State Board of Education released loads of data on Friday, when the latest statewide report card debuted. But it doesn't include other information school officials say they'd really like to get ahold of.

The school report card shows student demographic trends, class size, graduation rates and how well teachers at any given district are paid compared with the state average.

But a key indicator of academic progress? That's not posted.

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

The diversity makeup of Illinois schools is changing. That’s according to information released by the state.

If you moved every desk, from every Illinois school, into one giant classroom, more than half of the kids in those seats would be students of color.

That's on par with national figures. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education signaled that minorities would outnumber whites at the nation's public schools.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has so far focused his attention on business and union issues, and restructuring state government - like workers' compensation, tort reform and legislative term limits.

But what about his education agenda?

Before he was governor, Rauner was a wealthy private equity investor known in some circles for his involvement in education. There's even a charter school named after him: Chicago's Rauner College Prep.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

There’s no end in sight to the political gridlock in Springfield. But one group says it has an education plan that could get Republican and Democratic support.

It’s a new twist on an old idea: corporations paying money into a special fund. They’d get tax breaks. And parents would get cash to use for the school of their choice.

Governor Bruce Rauner has drawn a hard line when it comes to his pro-business, anti-union policies. And Democrats - they’re not crossing over. It’s part of why there’s a budget stalemate.

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

Classes will start 25 minutes later next year at one northern Illinois school. That’s so students have more time to sleep.

The Stevenson High School board approved the change, and it will take effect in August 2016. The Lincolnshire school's day will begin at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8:05 a.m.

Classes and passing periods will be shortened, because the school day will still end at 3:25 p.m.

illinois.edu

Illinois' nine public universities have gone four months without money from the state.  University presidents have said it's putting their institutions "at the brink of serious operational damage."

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen spoke to a reporter as he was leaving the governor's office.

"We had a very candid conversation about, about strategies going forward."

Killeen says that did not include any guarantee the schools will get their money anytime soon.

YouTube

Officials of a northern Illinois school district say controversial bleachers built in violation of local zoning laws will be coming down this month.

Homeowners who live near the Crystal Lake South High School football field sued Community High School District 155 after 55-foot-tall bleachers were built two years ago. They claimed the bleachers were erected without proper permits from the city, were too close to property lines and invaded their privacy.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled last month the bleachers must come down.

Breuder Sues College Of DuPage Trustees

Oct 22, 2015

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder, on paid administrative lead since April, is officially out of a job. Now, he's suing the board of trustees that ousted him.

The Board of Trustees voted 4 to 1 at a special meeting Tuesday night to terminate him, effective immediately. Breuder had been president since January 2009.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Schools in Illinois’s neediest districts are being forced to spend federal funds to prop up the state’s Teacher Retirement System. 

Public schools that serve a significant number of low-income students receive federal Title 1 grants, earmarked for initiatives to close the achievement gap. If a school uses those funds to hire certified teachers -- reading or math specialists, for example -- the school has to pay into that teacher’s retirement account.   

cod.edu

After more than six months on paid administrative leave, the fate of embattled College of DuPage (CoD) President Robert Breuder may finally be resolved Tuesday evening.

The college Board of Trustees has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. with a “Resolution to Terminate the Employment of the College President” as the only specific item of business on the agenda.

WGLT

Some officials at public universities in Illinois are at least floating the idea of taking legal action against the governor and the Illinois legislature over the absence of a state budget.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz says it's not likely that will happen, but admitted some educators are considering going to court.

"Some of the institutions are looking at this as a possibility, though we don't think it's a high probability," Dietz said.

NIU, Sauk Valley Partner To Make Degrees Convenient

Oct 14, 2015
Sauk Valley Community College / Northern Illinois University

Sauk Valley Community College and Northern Illinois University have partnered to make earning a degree more convenient.

Sauk Valley president Dave Hellmich and NIU president Doug Baker came together on Tuesday to sign two new agreements.

The first is the "reverse transfer agreement", allowing Sauk Valley students to transfer to NIU and finish their associate’s degree within any department. Likewise, NIU students can transfer credits to Sauk Valley to finish their associate’s.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Classes are expected to resume Friday at Northern Illinois University, after all of the school's campuses were evacuated because of a bomb threat Thursday night.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Bilingual employees are in hot demand. At least that’s what a recent survey by Northern Illinois University found. One of the greatest areas of need is for teachers with skills in more than one language. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens spoke with NIU Professor James Cohen, who specializes in bilingual education.

                                                                                                                         

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Monday, 9:00 pm

The strike is suspended and Rock Valley College faculty and students will be back in class Tuesday. The RVC Faculty Association approved a mediator's contract proposal that had been negotiated last Friday. It appears the wrong contract was voted on and rejected at a faculty meeting Sunday night. The discrepancy was discovered today during negotiations between the two sides. A corrected version was presented to members of the union Monday night and approved.

Rock Valley College

Rock Valley College faculty members rejected a mediator's proposal that could have ended their strike.  Union members gathered to review the latest five year contract from the school and voted to reject it at a meeting Sunday night at the Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford.. 

The two sides met for 10 hours Friday and were given a plan to consider by a mediator working on the contract dispute.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

After a long day of negotiations Friday, the union representing striking Rock Valley College faculty agreed to meet Sunday to vote on a proposal from a mediator

  . If the union accepts the offer, classes could resume as early as Monday. If the union rejects the offer, the two sides will return to the bargaining table Monday.

The school's board of trustees will vote on the mediator's proposal Tuesday at its regular meeting.

Teachers have been on strike since Wednesday. Classes have been canceled since then.

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