Illinois State Board of Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois State Board of Education

Head Start teacher Chea Wyatt guides Kennydi Harris through an exercise June 23, 2017 at the East St. Louis Kindergarten readiness camp.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time this school year, Illinois public schools statewide are required to measure and report how prepared their kindergartners were for school.

The state board of education is collecting the data to better understand what regions are lacking preschool access.

However, area school districts are concerned the reporting process is time consuming. Several expressed doubt that the information will be useful.

Schoolbus
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Of the states that turned in their homework early to the U.S. Department of Education for how they’ll roll out a major overhaul in education policy, Illinois’ adaptation got a mixed grade in an independent review.

Bellwether Education Partners, a research and policy think tank, read through 17 state plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act submitted in April and scored them in a report published this week. It found Illinois’ plan has certain aspects to be commended, but is also light on specifics in several other parts.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 4 with plan officially submitted —

Illinois education officials met the federal government’s first deadline for submitting its plan to measure how well schools are educating students.

The Illinois State Board of Education sent its Every Student Succeeds Act state plan to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday. The plan was approved by its governing board last month.

East St. Louis students spend about a month without school last fall due to a teacher strike. In this Oct. 1, 2015 file photo students spend their free day outside the school district office.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The Illinois State Board of Education has released its 2016 report cards analyzing how well the state’s public schools are educating its students.

Results from the second year using the standardized test known as PARCC continue to paint a dismal picture: more than 60 percent of students failed to meet state benchmarks in math and English.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

The latest statewide averages for ACT scores are out, and for the first time both Missouri and Illinois have a complete picture of how well their students did.

With 100 percent of 2016 graduating seniors participating, Missouri students scored an average of 20.2 and Illinois students scored an average of 20.8 out of 36.

via Flickr | frankjuarez

Illinois state education officials and members of the East St. Louis school board have settled a nearly year-old lawsuit sparked by the state board's attempt to take over the struggling district.  

Flickr | alkruse24

A St. Clair County Circuit Court judge has approved a preliminary restraining order for a group of recently ousted East St. Louis School Board members. 

Flickr | alkruse24

For the first time in its history, the Illinois State Board of Education has taken over a public school district.

The members voted unanimously today to dissolve the elected board of the East St. Louis Public Schools and replace it with an appointed oversight authority.

State board member and long-time educator Vinni Hall of Chicago said she'd heard the concerns of East St. Louis residents and understands why the district is struggling.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Seniority, income determining factors in new Illinois insurance law

Governor Pat Quinn's office announced early this morning that he has signed a measure that will require retired state and public university employees to kick in more money for their health insurance. 

Retirees with at least 20 years of service currently get free health coverage. Those with less time on the job pay for a portion of the cost.

(via Wikimedia Commons/kbh3rd)

New trouble for Ameren at Taum Sauk power plant

A recent memo to the Missouri Public Service Commission shows major problems for Ameren at its Taum Sauk power station.

SIUC faculty set strike date

Oct 21, 2011
(via Southern Illinois University-Carbondale)

Reporting by WSIU's Jennifer Fuller was used in this report.

The union representing tenured and tenure-track employees at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale has set a strike date.

The SIUC Faculty Association says its members will walk off the job on Nov. 3 if they cannot reach an agreement with the university on a new contract. The last contract expired in June 2010.

via Southern Illinois University

Updated with quotes from SIUC and union officials. Reporting from Jennifer Fuller at WSIU was used in this report.

One union at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale has approved a strike authorization, and three more are slated to vote on similar questions.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Illinois' board of education says a former top federal prosecutor will head a probe it has launched into spending by East St. Louis' cash-strapped public school system.

Friday's announcement of the probe comes as the 7,500-student district is under state control and beset by questions about its paying millions on consultants and conventions.

The state board says the probe will be headed by A. Courtney Cox, southern Illinois' former U.S. attorney. His firm will be paid up to $100,000 a year to do the investigation, at the district's expense.

(Flickr/ Jason Dunnivant

Ill. Senate Unanimously Approves Legislation Reducing Teacher Job Security

The Illinois Senate has unanimously approved sweeping legislation that would reduce teachers' job security and emphasize performance over seniority. The legislation would make it harder for teachers to achieve tenure. Even after getting tenure, bad teachers could be fired.  If a district has to make layoffs, jobs would be protected based on classroom performance instead of seniority.

MforMarcus | Flickr

The nine-member Illinois State Board of Education has moved to take control of the financially and academically struggling East St. Louis School District 189.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Illinois' education chief is giving East St. Louis' school district an ultimatum - fix the way it deals with some 1,500 special-education students or face "aggressive actions," including having the school system dissolved.