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 Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, said policies that ban certain hairstyles in schools are outdated.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, […]

Teacher Shortage Worsening For Most Illinois Districts, Survey Shows

SPRINGFIELD – A new survey of Illinois school districts shows most are continuing to have trouble filling open teaching positions with qualified teachers and even more are having difficulty hiring substitute teachers. It’s a problem that has existed in the state for many years and one that experts attribute to a variety of factors, such as low […]

Panel Approves ‘Culturally Responsive’ Teaching Standards

SPRINGFIELD – A legislative panel on Wednesday allowed the Illinois State Board of Education to move forward with new rules that call on colleges and universities in the state to change the way prospective teachers and administrators are trained in order to make them more accommodating to diverse students. On a party-line vote, the Joint […]

GOP Members Hope To Block New Teacher Standards

Rotunda of Illinois State Capitol

SPRINGFIELD – Republican Illinois state lawmakers are pushing back on proposed new standards for teachers and administrators that are scheduled for a hearing before a legislative rulemaking committee later this month. Supporters of the proposed “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” say they’re merely an attempt to make sure that all educators are trained in […]

State School Board Member Criticizes New Graduation Requirements

Champaign Central High School

SPRINGFIELD – New high school graduation requirements that were part of an omnibus education bill passed during the lame duck session are drawing criticism from some members of the Illinois State Board of Education. Those new requirements were included in House Bill 2170, Amendment 3, which was introduced by Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood. They include the addition […]

Urbana Schools Plan Return To In-Person Learning With COVID-19 Testing On-Site

URBANA – At least 1,300 students plan to return to Urbana classrooms later this month, according to data shared during an Urbana District 116 Board of Education study session Tuesday night. School officials say their safety plans will be bolstered by access to a rapid COVID antigen test — known as the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag […]

COVID-19 Impacts Illinois School Data Collection, Including Attendance Rates

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) published its annual school report card data Friday, but state officials urged caution when interpreting that data due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection for the 2019-20 school year.  State Superintendent Carmen Ayala said during a call with reporters this week that […]