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Blagojevich Calls for New Education Department

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(State of Illinois photo)

By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill. – Governor Rod Blagojevich wants to demolish Illinois' current system for administering education and create a new Department of Education that reports directly to him.

That's one of the proposals the governor made in his State of the State Address Thursday.

Blagojevich says the current State Board of Education is not accountable to anyone.

"Instead of being an independent body that could regulate and support our schools, the Illinois state Board of Education is like an old Soviet-style bureaucracy," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich says his proposals could save $1 billion over four years.

State schools superintendent Robert Schiller is defending the board's work, saying its rules and paperwork are required by law.

Illinois Republicans say Blagojevich's plan will result in more politics and more bureaucracy.

Republican state Senator Dan Cronin, who is on the Senate Education Committee, says Blagojevich is talking from both sides of his mouth.

"You know he talks about the 2,800 pages of rules and regulations," Cronin said. "My goodness, with the proposed mandates he suggested today, I think the 2,800 pages would probably grow another hundred pages."

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