Illinois schools

The Illinois legislature has approved a measure that would allow public school nurses to provide the life-saving medication glucagon to diabetic students in emergency situations.

As we recently reported, Jennifer Jacobs saved a 7th grader who was experiencing a severe hypoglycemic episode by using another student's supply of glucagon — a hormone that triggers the body to release stored glucose.

When it comes to funding public schools, Gov. Bruce Rauner has wavered a bit.

A few months ago, he vetoed a major funding reform bill, saying it sent too much money to Chicago Public Schools. Later, he signed a compromise measure that gave the Chicago schools even more.

Now he has another bill on his desk.

The release of the Illinois school report card brought new details on school gains and losses. State Superintendent Tony Smith says there was some good news. 

“It’s pretty exciting that the four-year high-school graduation rate increased from 85.5 percent to 87 percent, so just over 2,000 more kids graduating in four years than last year,” he said. “The percentage of students enrolled in college 12 months after graduating also increased.”

Dusty Rhodes/NPR Illinois

More than a dozen school leaders from across Illinois gathered at the state capitol Wednesday to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools. They held signs and banners saying “thank you.” However, gratitude wasn’t their only motive.

If you deal with children, you're probably familiar with the concept of positive reinforcement. You reward children for good behavior as a way to encourage them to continue doing it.

Moody's Investors Service has placed six Illinois public universities on review for downgrade, impacting a total of approximately $2.2 billion of public university debt. According to a release issued by the company, the review is prompted by  "failure of the State of Illinois to enact a budget providing full operating funding to the universities for the current fiscal year 2017 and resulting operational and liquidity strains on the universities."

"Handwriting Tag Game" by Flickr User RomitaGirl67 / (CC X 2.0)

Parents alarmed by the realization that their teenagers cannot decipher cursive handwriting have inspired one Illinois lawmaker to propose requiring schools to offer a course on the art of the flowing font.

Kids use computer keyboards for most communication these days, but what if they need to sign a legal document or read a letter from grandma?

State Representative Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, says they’re going to need cursive for that. He’s sponsoring a measure that would ensure students receive at least one class in old-school slanted script. 

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

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forming a panel to pick up where a recent commission left off revamping the state's outdated public school funding formula.

The Chicago Democrat announced the panel Thursday. He says the group will address questions left unanswered by a funding reform commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year.

That commission reported its findings earlier this month. It concluded Illinois must change how it funds schools to ensure all students are properly educated. But it produced no legislative proposals.

"Asthma Inhaler" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

School personnel across Illinois are adapting to a new state law that requires districts to have an emergency protocol to deal with asthma emergencies.

The Chicago Tribune reports that under the new law anyone who works with students must be trained to handle asthma emergencies. All children with asthma must have a written "asthma action plan" at the school as well. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation in August and it went into effect Jan. 1.

"Weight Rack" By Flickr User Colin Davis / (CC X 2.0)

Data released by the Illinois State Board of Education show many schools in the state have cut back on days of physical education on class schedules.

The Chicago Tribune said Wednesday that nearly 1,200 Illinois schools have been trimming the number of physical education days, frequently saying they don't have facilities or staff to have the courses daily, which is required by a state law.

Of the roughly 3,100 schools that reported, slightly over 60 percent said they had five days a week of physical education.

"IMG_1398" by Flickr User WalrusWaltz / (CC BY 2.0)

Officials studying safety in Illinois schools say local authorities should adopt sound existing guidelines for securing the schoolhouse.

They should also build trust in students to come forward with their suspicions, and consult regularly with local police.

The School Security and Standards Task Force issued an interim report to the General Assembly. Members say it’s meant to offer schools a range of the best options for keeping their students safe in the classroom.

The task force put the report together after the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut.

'Disappointing' PARCC Test Scores From Illinois Students

Sep 16, 2015
Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

The latest statewide tests results show that a vast majority of Illinois high school students are not meeting Common Core standards.

It was revealed today about 37 percent of students passed the Language Arts section. Fewer than 30 percent passed the math portion.

Results are based on the PARCC test, which is different from the old ISAT assessment.

Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith is working to improve lower-than-average test scores.

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.

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.

School Referendum Results Mixed

Apr 10, 2013

Voters in several northern Illinois counties were asked to approve sales-tax hikes on Tuesday. The ballot initiatives aimed to bring in more revenue for school districts in need of facility upgrades.

School District Consolidation

Apr 20, 2012

Some northern Illinois school districts are part of voluntary downsizing efforts identified in a commission's report that was issued this week.