Illinois State Board of Education

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, 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.

The makeup of Illinois schools is changing 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.

State education data released Friday as part of the annual Illinois Report Card show Illinois high schools are sending many graduates to college unprepared.

Monday’s District 150 meeting was “math-a-licous” -- as one enthusiastic teacher was recognized for being named Best Teacher by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Kim Thomas teaches math at Woodruff Career and Technical Center. She choked back tears after thanking the district for their support.

“I feel so math-tastic and honored to have this award,” Thomas said. 

She went on to thank her principal Tom Blumer, who describes meeting her as “getting hit by a bulldozer made of math.”

Plan for school funding could appeal to both sides

Oct 26, 2015

There’s no end in sight to the political gridlock in Springfield. But one group says it has an education plan it’s convinced both Republicans and Democrats could support.  That plan is 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.  IPR’s Tony Arnold explains.

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it. 

Top officials of the state board of education declined to appear before a house committee Tuesday to answer questions about costly perks being paid to the board’s superintendent, Tony Smith. Smith was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and receives a stipend on top of his $225,000 salary.  Representative Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who chairs the committee, said their absence shows disrespect and a lack of transparency.

CHICAGO (AP) - State records show that the former Illinois education superintendent left the position earlier this year with nearly $207,000 in severance and unused vacation payments. A public records request shows Christopher Koch (COOK') received $89,000 in severance and $118,000 for 138.5 unused vacation days. Records also show that several dozen other Illinois State Board of Education staffers who left the agency also received cash bonuses and unused vacation payments. Koch had the job for more than eight years under Democratic administrations.

Today Illinois became the first state to release results of the PARCC  assessment , the new standardized test linked to the Common Core.

  Illinois schools Superintendent Tony Smith is warning school districts to be prepared for dismal statewide test scores. In a letter to school administrators, Smith describes the first PARCC results as "simply a new baseline from which we can move forward. He added he didn't want anyone to use the results to "shame teachers or schools." The Illinois State Board of Education is scheduled to release what Smith called "initial, and still incomplete" test results Wednesday. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests math and English language arts literacy.

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois families who don't want their children to be vaccinated will have to get a doctor's note before claiming a religious exemption, but the new law won't affect students heading back to school in the coming weeks. 

Missing the science

Apr 30, 2015

The U.S.

The Illinois State Board of Education has selected a new schools chief.  The board unanimously voted to name Anthony "Tony" Smith to replace Superintendent Christopher Koch beginning May 1.

Illinois received 20 million dollars from the federal government for expanding access to early childhood education. Illinois currently enrolls just over a quarter of its 4 year olds in state-funded preschool for low-income families. 

Illinois State School Superintendent Chris Koch presented the board of education’s budget request to a panel of lawmakers Tuesday. 

An Illinois lawmaker wants to tighten the rules for parents seeking to exempt their children from vaccination requirements because of religious beliefs.


The Illinois State Board of Education is looking for school districts, local government entities and nonprofits to host the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program.  

When the Illinois State Board of Education met today in Springfield, there was a new chairman running the agenda.  One of the first appointments made by new Governor Bruce Rauner was James Meeks, a former state senator from Chicago and long-time pastor of the city’s Salem Baptist Church. 

Failing schools and state intervention

Oct 15, 2014

If you ask Illinois residents what’s most important to them and their families, education is often at the top of the list. So it’s no surprise that citizens expect high educational standards from government and solid financing. But most people prefer their state involvement at arm's length. As part of our HeyGov series about government’s role in the lives of voters, we look at a little-known muscle the state can flex, right in your school district.   

Bet you didn’t know that the state of Illinois has the power to take over your local schools. As in, fire school board members, even those you and your neighbors voted for. As in put a new superintendent in place.

Illinois State Board of Education

A Peoria area teacher is among 12 finalists to become Illinois Teacher of the Year. The Illinois State Board of Education announced the finalists for the award that will be handed out at an October banquet. Susan Diggle is a fifth grade teacher at Germantown Hills Intermediate School in District 69. Mary Lynn Meredith is also among the nominees. She’s an art teacher at Praireland Elementary School in McLean County Unit 5. There were more than 230 nominations for the Teacher of the Year honor. The award will be announced during the “Those Who Excel” banquet October 25th.  

"Back To School" webinar details changes in learning

Sep 4, 2014

An internet event next week is aimed at reaching out to parents in the state.  The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois PTA have teamed up to offer their first Back To School webinar on Tuesday September 9.   

Rauner files term limit petition

Apr 30, 2014
Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio/WUIS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has filed his term limit petition with Illinois election officials. If approved by voters in November, legislators would be capped at eight years in office. 

Illinois school report cards released

Oct 31, 2013

Thursday is report card day across Illinois. It’s not students who are being graded, but schools and school districts. At first glance, the news is not good. But as IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, state officials say it’s a one-time blip because of a change in the grading.

On paper, Illinois students appear to be doing quite poorly. The percentage of those meeting state standards dropped from 82.1 percent in 2012 to 58.8 percent in 2013. We learned that last month, the latest release of numbers shows the same trend at the level of individual schools and districts. Except state officials say that’s not actually what’s happening.

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education says Illinois needs to immediately address the digital divide in the state’s schools, and it’s not just about learning. 

Misconceptions of "Common Core" standards

Sep 10, 2013

As Illinois schools continue implementing the new "Common Core" educational standards, the changes are drawing criticism. As IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, Illinois' top educator says that's because of a misconception.

The Common Core curriculum has been in the works for years. Illinois adopted it in 2010. It's meant to provide clear achievement standards in language and math at every grade level.

Advocates for disabled fight special education rule

May 20, 2013

The State of Illinois caps the number of high needs learners who share the attention of a single special education teacher.

For the past decade, there has also been a limit on how many children with disabilities can be placed in what are known as “general education” public school classrooms. But those rules could soon be repealed.

As Illinois Public Radio’s Peter Gray reports, the mother of a young man with autism has joined advocates for the disabled who say the proposed change has to do more with cost-savings than with properly educating kids.

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education says the next two weeks represent a “critical period” for public schools. Two weeks is the amount of time lawmakers have to finish a state budget before they’re scheduled to leave the capitol for the summer. Chairman Gery Chico says while he isn’t sure cuts can be avoided, there’s still time to make a case against them.