Educators push back against testing requirements

SPRINGFIELD – Teachers and other education professionals are urging the Illinois State Board of Education to reduce the amount of time students spend on standardized tests each year and to adopt a new testing system that produces more useful information to help teachers improve their instruction. “One thing that we’re saying and that our members […]

Pritzker signs 4 laws to tackle shortage of teachers, aides

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ governor has signed four pieces of legislation into law aimed at easing a shortage of teachers and classroom aides in public schools. The new laws lower the fee to reinstate a lapsed teaching certificate, allow student teaching by college seniors, lower the minimum age for classroom aides and extend the number of […]

State appeals court’s order on school COVID-19 mask, vaccine mandates

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration are asking a state appellate court to set aside a lower court order from late Friday that invalidated the mask and vaccine mandates that the state-imposed last year for public schools. On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow granted a temporary restraining […]

One in four students regularly absent last year, Illinois report card shows

CHAMPAIGN — Learning did slow last year during pandemic school – especially for the state’s most vulnerable students. The Illinois State Board of Education dropped this information on Friday morning in its annual report card. “We need to recognize that for our Black and Hispanic children, remote learning was not very effective, particularly for English […]

Lawmakers Question Enforcement Of School Mask Mandates

SPRINGFIELD – Expressing concern that the Illinois State Board of Education might have overstepped its bounds by threatening to withhold funding from school districts that do not enforce its mask mandate, a legislative panel on Tuesday urged the agency to put its policies into formal rules. The unanimous vote by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, […]

State Board of Education Calls For In-Person Learning Next School Year

school buses

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday calling on all public schools to return to in-person learning during the upcoming school year. The resolution doesn’t institute any mandates or requirements for Illinois schools to follow, but shows unified support from ISBE for an upcoming decision by State Superintendent Carmen Ayala. In […]

Regional Superintendents Look To Address Illinois Teacher Shortage

SPRINGFIELD – Following a February survey of school districts that illustrated a persistent teacher shortage in the state, the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools has released policy recommendations calling for better benefits and more lenient certification in an effort to reverse the trend. The IARSS, which serves as an intermediary between local school […]

Pritzker Now Says Budget Can Include Added $350 Million For K-12 Schools

State Capitol of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Citing an “improved” economic outlook, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Thursday his support to increase evidence-based education funding in the state by $350 million in fiscal year 2022 which begins July 1. In his February budget proposal, Pritzker originally proposed flat spending for education, citing “financial uncertainty” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have […]

State Senator Seeks To Stop School Dress Code Restrictions On Hair

SPRINGFIELD – A Chicago state senator wants to withhold funding from schools that apply dress codes to hairstyles. School associations and the Illinois State Board of Education are worried the bill’s punishment mechanism goes too far. In the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, said policies that ban certain hairstyles in schools are outdated. He […]

New Illinois Law Expands Black History Education — But How Will It Be Taught?

DANVILLE – Brennon Hightower says Black history is lacking in the education her two sons receive at their public school in Danville, a city in east-central Illinois. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hightower decided to homeschool her sons — aged 10 and 15 — using curricula she found and liked. But even that material included very […]

Pritzker Urges Schools To Focus COVID Relief Funds

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker took to the road Monday to urge local school districts in Illinois to carefully target the roughly $7 billion in federal funds they will soon receive in order to help students overcome the learning loss they may have suffered during the pandemic. “We’re all wondering if this was a lost […]

State School Board Requests $400 Million Funding Increase, Including K-12 Boost

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Board of Education officials on Monday made their case for an added $362.1 million to the state’s evidence-based funding formula and $50 million in early childhood education grants, pushing back on the governor’s proposal to keep state K-12 education funding flat next fiscal year. In total, the board recommended a $406 million, […]