Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced September 16 that her office would immediately begin making payments to early intervention providers who work with disabled infants and toddlers to create developmental strategies.
Funding for such services has been affected as legislative Democrats continue to stymie state budget negotiations with short-sighted, incomplete budgetary measures.
The Comptroller’s office looked more closely at several active consent decrees and determined that early intervention services were covered. This determination allowed her office to begin the process of setting up accounts so that payments can be processed as soon as that office begins to receive vouchers from the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Preliminary PARCC results released
Preliminary statewide results from last spring’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam were released during the week, causing concern for some as a number of Illinois students fell short of expectations. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Smith, however, stressed that these results should serve as a baseline for schools and students, and cautions against using them to “shame or punish” anyone.
The PARCC exam, based on the Common Core standards, measures what students should know for their grade level, emphasizing the importance of skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. PARCC replaced the Prairie State Achievement Examination, which had been administered to high school juniors, and the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, which had previously been used to assess grade school students.
While some have expressed frustration over Common Core and PARCC, others argue that this new curriculum and testing is here to stay. They maintain that Illinois should focus on fixing the flaws in the new system so the state can ensure that students are properly prepared for higher education and the workaday world.
However, other parents and educators are concerned about the pace at which the state is moving forward with Common Core standards and PARCC testing, arguing that many schools don’t have the necessary technology to administer the exams. Critics also worry that the Common Core curriculum isn’t ready for the classroom, and suggest the testing could negatively affect children. Some parents are also very concerned about the Common Core content, believing that parts of it may be politically motivated.
A report from the Better Government Association released during the week shows that more than 1,000 deceased Illinoisans received pension payments from 2010 to 2014.
In one instance, more than $90,000 was direct-deposited into the bank account of a woman who had died four-and-a-half years earlier. The woman’s daughter, who had failed to report her mother’s death to the pension fund and instead pocketed the payments, ultimately pled guilty to felony theft.
More information about this case and other pension payment fraud cases is available in the Better Government Association report.
Night and day, Illinois and Indiana
A recent article from Reboot Illinois takes a look at the night-and-day differences between Illinois and neighboring Indiana. The analysis looks at finances of state and large city governments, and the implications these finances have on migration patterns.