Illinois students could get a day off of school come election day. Schools are often at the heart of a community, metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites.
But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.
Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved legislation intended to make charter schools follow state laws for special education. But some lawmakers see this as the latest attack on charter schools.
Charter schools already have to follow federal laws on special education and for students who are just learning English. But according to the Illinois State Board of Education, a "handful" say they were exempt from stricter state requirements.
Illinois lawmakers are considering a major change to the way local schools get money from the state. But information about how individual school districts would fare in the new system won't be ready until just before the end of the spring legislative session.
Illinois' schools are primarily funded by local property taxes, which means that there's a big disparity in how much money is spent on a student depending on her zip code.
New data suggests just how big a hit most school districts would take if Illinois' income tax rate rolls back as scheduled at the end of the year.
Illinois' budget could play out a lot of different ways. But under one scenario -- the one Gov. Pat Quinn says will be the case if tax rates aren't kept at five percent -- kindergarten through high school classrooms across Illinois will get $450 million dollars less from the state.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner have attacked one another for their record and positions on education. Quinn and Rauner met for the first time Friday in the 2014 campaign for Illinois governor. They discussing education policy before members of the Illinois Education Association in Chicago.
Quinn is a Chicago Democrat seeking his second full term as governor. He says Rauner is ``the biggest threat to public education in the state of Illinois.''
Rauner supports non-union charter schools, vouchers and moving public employees
Charter schools have long been a divisive issue. Supporters say they allow schools to teach kids free of burdensome regulations. Opponents say they take money away from traditional schools. In Illinois this year, those views are colliding. In the final installment of our series, we find out about the fight at the statehouse and what it might mean for charters:
All four of the Republican candidates for governor have said they will make education funding a priority if elected, but they face an uphill battle finding the money to send to schools. Each of the contenders has an unique solution for fixing education funding in Illinois.
First, some background: Illinois is ranked last in the nation when it comes to how much the state kicks in to public education.
Ask any teacher, superintendent, or government official about it and many would say education funding is in need of some serious change. Local districts are struggling to make ends meet as state and federal appropriations drop - and that means layoffs, school closures, and even shortening the school day in some cases. Some education reform activists say the answer to fixing this problem and others within the system is something called "school choice."
School administrators in Illinois say they're closely monitoring the forecast to decide whether to cancel or delay classes because of bone-chilling weather that's expected to hit the state. The cold is coming as many students are preparing to return to school following holiday break.
The National Weather Service says air temperatures below zero will be accompanied by dangerous wind chills Monday and Tuesday.
The Springfield school board is negotiating with a local woman to become the district's next superintendent.
The board hopes to extend an offer in early January to Jennifer Gill. Gill has been working the past year as the director of teaching and learning in McClean County district five based in Normal. Prior to that, she had worked as an administrator in the Springfield School District and was principal at Vachel Lindsey and McClernand elementary schools.
The 44 year old Gill has also taught in the Springfield and Jacksonville School Districts.
Teachers at the school district in Mount Olive have gone on strike.
The State Journal-Register reports (http://bit.ly/1cwtFY4) teachers went on strike Monday morning in Mount Olive School District No. 5 in Macoupin County. The town is 50 miles south of Springfield. The teachers' union and school district couldn't agree on a new three-year contract.
Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level. That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade. 1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.
The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing. The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions. That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has again suspended state funding to the United Neighborhood Organization, the state's biggest charter-school operator. Quinn spokeswoman Sandra M. Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times the final $15 million of a $98 million state school-construction grant the Illinois Legislature promised UNO in 2009 is being withheld. Quinn previously suspended funding for UNO in April, after reports the organization gave $8.5 million of business to companies owned by the brothers of then UNO executive Miquel d'Escoto.
Former WUIS Reporter, Kavitha Cardoza Hosts "Yesterday's Dropouts"
Approximately 30 million adults in the U.S. are at the low end of the literacy spectrum. They struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule. About 46 million find it challenging to do the most basic math. And for millions of adults, there’s the added challenge of not being able to speak English.
Tune in for this American Graduate Day special program Saturday, September 28th at 2:00 pm.
Hosted by Dick Gordon, this program talks about what’s happening with the drop-out rate in the country. More kids are staying in school but those numbers might be misleading. We’ll hear about some of the new thinking – ways to make school more appealing or more meaningful so students want to stay in high school, and we’ll get a sobering take on the GED, long thought to be a reasonable alternative to a high school diploma.
Tune in for this American Graduate Day special program Saturday, September 28th at 3:00 pm.
Nearly all the students at south suburban Roosevelt Elementary School in Riverdale, IL, are African American. Principal Shalonda Randle says she’s made deliberate efforts to hire more teachers of color because her students identify with their success.
Across the nation, states are considering ways to make teaching a more selective profession. The push for “higher aptitude” teachers has often come from the nation’s top education officials. “In Finland it’s the top ten percent of college grads (who) are going into education,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said to an audience of educators in Massachusetts last year. “Ninety percent don’t have that opportunity.”
Students in Illinois public schools that teach sex education will now be taught about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases _ not just abstinence. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Friday that requires schools to provide the information. It takes effect Jan. 1. Sen. Heather Steans sponsored the bill. The Chicago Democrat says it's intended to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.