Education

Four central Illinois communities will share more than $400,000 in federal housing money to help families with job-training, education and more. 

The Illinois Community College Board is planning to roll out several alternative ways people can earn their high school equivalency certificate other than passing a test.

A new report shows the statewide teacher shortage is felt most acutely in districts with lots of low-income students. But it's also hitting rural and wealthier districts.

Williamsfield is a village halfway between Peoria and Galesburg, with fewer than 300 students. Superintendent Tim Farquer  says he can't find teachers who meet state licensing requirements for every subject. Instead, he's filing paperwork seeking waivers.

Illinois has turned to an online database to help form policy decisions on health, safety, education and work opportunities for residents younger than 25.

Next year the state will have a new way to dispose of dead bodies where no next of kin is found or families don’t have the means to pay for a burial… and it could benefit students.

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Dunlap Superintendent Lisa Parker is leaving that post at the end of the year. The Dunlap School Board narrowly approved the separation agreement with the long-time district employee during a special meeting Tuesday night.

Peoria Public School Enrollment Holds Steady

Oct 31, 2017

The Illinois State Board of Education released its annual report card Tues. and the data show some shifts in Peoria Public Schools 2017 enrollment. 

Illinois Sets Out to Stop Opioid Abuse

Oct 12, 2017

The governor’s new Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force made a stop in Urbana Thursday, to hear ways to curtail drug abuse in the state. 

Illinois education officials say the elimination of some requirements for teacher licenses has streamlined the licensing process and hasn't sacrificed the state's high standards.

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that makes it illegal to expel toddlers from preschools.

Backers of the new law point to a study that says toddlers and other Illinois preschoolers are expelled at a rate three times greater than their older, school-age counterparts.

“I just want you to let that sink in.”

State Rep. Juliana Stratton is a Democrat from Chicago.

“When you see expulsion in early years, it leads to higher suspension and expulsion rates in later grades."

Manar Hopes For School Funding Compromise

Aug 11, 2017
Peoria Public Radio

The chief sponsor of Illinois’ education funding reform bill says he still hopes to work out a compromise with Republicans on a new version of the bill.

But State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill says that if he has to, he’ll back an override of Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of the measure, when the Illinois Senate meets on Sunday.

The Illinois State Board of Education is proposing a new timeline for a federal law that aims to help students pass state exams as well as be proficient in math and reading.

An annual data report says Illinois ranks 19th in the nation when it comes to the well-being of children. The 2017 Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation measures areas including family and community, health, education and economic factors. 

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's chief education adviser says the governor won't support an overhaul of Illinois' school-funding formula if it benefits Chicago Public Schools "at the expense" of others.  The Illinois Senate approved legislation aimed at eliminating the disparity in spending between affluent school districts and those serving poorer communities. Similar legislation is in the House. 

Facebook/Chicago State University

Chicago State University officials say they will work to boost enrollment, resolve financial concerns and improve the reputation of the institution in the coming year.
 
Interim President Rachel Lindsey was appointed to the post last month. As part of a leadership shake-up, university trustees also appointed former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas to a top administrative post.
 

Peoria Public Radio

Quest Charter Academy and Eureka College have a new partnership that formalizes a full-circle opportunity for students entering the field of education.

cheeseslave / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Don't toss the grammar-school composition paper yet. 

School funding is one of the key issues in the General Assembly’s budget debate. Everyone agrees the current funding formula needs to change, but there’s less agreement on how to fix it. A bipartisan effort is poised for a floor vote in the House, but in the Senate, compromise appears to have fallen apart.

Seventeen school superintendents sued the state of Illinois today. They're asking Governor Bruce Rauner and the state board of education to come up with a funding formula that would help schools meet the state's learning standards.

NEIU Students Rally to Protest Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Students at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago rallied today ahead of a week-long university shutdown.

Northeastern is requiring its employees take five unpaid days off next week during Spring Break. It’s another money-saving measure in a string of budget cuts the university has made during the nearly 2-year-long state budget impasse.

Students like senior Patricia Burchfield primarily blamed Governor Bruce Rauner, saying she shouldn’t have to be protesting.

Chicago Public Schools officials are seeking a preliminary injunction barring the state of Illinois from disbursing education funds until it adequately funds the state's largest school district.  Faced with a huge deficit and an upcoming teacher pension payment, CEO Forrest Claypool says the Chicago school year could end three weeks early on June 1 if the state doesn't come through with funds.

A federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, requires every state to make sure kids become proficient in core subjects, and continue to learn more each year. The law further requires states to come up with a yardstick to measure that success, but allows some flexibility on how heavily test scores will count. Other numbers like graduation rates and college readiness can be factored in.

 

The Illinois State Board of Education has voted to approve the settlement of a years-long lawsuit that claimed discriminatory school funding.
 
The board's Wednesday vote resolves litigation with the Chicago Urban League, which claimed in its 2008 lawsuit that the state's funding model had a "demonstrable, disparate and adverse impact" on minority students.
 

After six months of meetings, a panel charged with finding a more equitable way to fund Illinois public schools wrapped up its work today.

The group’s final report plants a flag on a path toward addressing this state’s notoriously inequitable school funding structure, by promising that any new allocation of dollars will go first to the poorest districts. But the bi-partisan commission stopped short of crafting actual legislation, despite having focused all along on a specific plan favored by Governor Bruce Rauner.

One of three school districts participating in an Illinois e-learning day pilot program got to test it out on Monday.

The e-learning day pilot program was meant to provide schools an alternative to snow days and a way for districts to prevent adding days to the end of the school year because of those snow days. West Chicago High School District 94 used its first e-learning day instead of a school cancellation on Monday due to extreme low temperatures.

cayoup / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois data shows almost one in four public school teachers in the state miss 10-plus days of the school year.

The  annual Illinois Report Card, a compilation of data that paints a broad picture of schools, shows that 23.5 percent of public school teachers are absent more than 10 days in the school year.

 The teacher absence rates ranged widely at some 3,600 public schools, with nearly 1,600 schools, mostly in the Chicago area, faring worse than the state average.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is apologizing for saying half of Chicago public school teachers are “virtually illiterate.”

Rauner made the comments in an email five years ago, when he was still a private citizen interested in improving education. He was discussing a teacher evaluation system, but worried it would be attacked in a city where "50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate.”

Rauner apologized today.

Dick Van Dyke Returns to Danville

Jun 24, 2016
Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

One of the biggest show business names to come out of Central Illinois is back home for a couple days with hopes of nurturing more talent, and making sure he always has a place to call home.  Friday, the city of Danville gets a chance to honor native son Dick Van Dyke.  Illinois Public Radio’s Jeff Bossert has more. 

 

If schools don't open in the fall because of a lack of state funding, children will be hungry. That's according to school superintendents reacting to Governor Bruce Rauner's speech in Bloomington.

Summer Camp Connects Girls to STEM Learning, Careers

Jun 6, 2016
Argonne National Laboratory / Flickr/Creative Commons

Jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are still largely dominated by men, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. That’s the message from organizers of the third annual 4G camp in Peoria. 

The program hopes to attract more women to local careers in STEM by offering early exposure to role models and experiences in those fields.

Organizers say about 40 middle school girls meet with local professionals in STEM fields and do hands-on activities like robotics and programming during the week long camp next month. 

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