Illinois State Board of Education’s annual assessment of schools’ performance
shows a stable four-year graduation rate, as the Illinois School Funding Reform
Commission met to discuss special and early childhood education.
other news, Lloyd Karmeier was sworn in as the 120th chief justice
to the Illinois Supreme Court. And the
United States Department of Agriculture reported that Illinois farmers are well
on their way to wrapping up harvest.
schools receive annual report card
Illinois State Board of Education released its yearly Report Card October 31,
which showed a stable four-year graduation rate of 86 percent, a dropout rate
of 2 percent and an average class size of 21.
The report also determined that approximately 46 percent of students
were “college ready,” scoring an ACT score of 21 or higher. Meanwhile, only 33 percent of students met
or exceeded performance level on the PARCC.
Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said that though “Report Card indicators
mostly held steady….we must make major changes to the way we fund our public
schools and fundamentally shift our approach to education.” This is a challenge state lawmakers are
currently tackling as the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission continues
to meet and discuss school funding in Illinois.
annual report is an assessment of Illinois schools’ performance, including data
on academic progress in areas such as Partnership for Assessment of Readiness
for College and Careers (PARCC) exam performance, graduation rates and college
readiness, school finances, dropout rates, class sizes, student and teacher
demographics and principal turnover. To
view local schools or districts snapshots, visit http://www.illinoisreportcard.com/.
School Funding Reform Commission focuses on special
The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission met for the
seventh time, this time addressing special populations, including special and
early childhood education. On November 2, the Commission, which includes four
Senate Republican members, heard testimony on school district spending toward
special education services and input on how the current education formula
impacts special education funding.
Other points addressed included the disproportionate funds
awarded to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for special education services, which
more than triples the statewide average. At
the same time, CPS is also raking in approximately 37 percent of the funding
awarded by the Early Childhood Block Grant. The
Commission meeting concluded before being able to discuss bilingual education,
but is expected to take up the topic at the next meeting.
Supreme Court receives new Chief Justice
October 31, Justice Lloyd Karmeier was sworn in as the 120th Chief
Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Having
served on the state’s highest court since 2004, Justice Karmeier was
unanimously chosen by his colleagues to replace former Chief Justice Rita
newly-installed Chief Justice was reported by the Illinois State Bar
Association as saying, “Since joining the court in 2004, I have had the
privilege of serving under five different chief justices, all of whom have done
an outstanding job. I will do my very
best to live up to the high standard they have set.”
Justice Karmeier received his J.D. degree in 1964 from the University of
farmers finishing up with harvest
The Illinois corn and soybean harvest is nearing completion
thanks to continued dry weather in many parts of the state. Outside of
the most Northeastern part of the state, temperatures last week averaged from
two to nearly six degrees warmer than usual.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 91
percent of Illinois corn acres have now been harvested, with 89 percent of
soybeans finished. Harvest progress for both crops is ahead of the
five-year average for this time of year, though farmers in 2015 had made
slightly more progress by the end of October, with both crops at 95 percent
complete then. The most recent USDA crop forecast predicts an exceptional
statewide corn yield average of 202 bushels per acre, 27 bushels higher than
2015. Soybeans are forecast to hit a statewide average of 62 bushels per
acre, six bushels more than 2015. However, lower prices are keeping
farmers from celebrating the high yields. Illinois wheat acres are now 85
percent planted, with 63 percent of the plants having already emerged from the
Soil conditions look good as farmers begin to look forward to
the spring planting season. Eighty percent of topsoil is rated as having
adequate moisture, with 87 percent of subsoil receiving the same mark.