"Report Card" Suggests Improvements for IL Schools

Nov 13, 2012

Advance Illinois has issued a "report card" on Illinois' public schools. The advocacy group has a number of suggestions for improvement, but they're not the sort of things that had been getting all the attention in Springfield this year.

Credit Advance Illinois

Both President Obama and Governor Pat Quinn made a big show this year of urging the high-school dropout age be raised to 18.

Illinois lawmakers considered it, but ultimately rejected the idea. Instead, they created a commission to study the issue.

Robin Steans, the director of Advance Illinois, says a big fight over the dropout age would be a distraction. She says forcing kids to stay in school won't be enough to help them succeed.

"Whether you raise that level or not, the key is: Are we engaging students? Are we giving them effective instruction? And are we making school a place they want to be?"

    - Robin Steans

And unlike many groups that agitate on behalf of schools, Advance says the problems in Illinois education do not primarily have to do with funding.

Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley is co-chair of the group.

"We don't want to run to the money and the difficulties of looking at additional sources as though that's the solution to this."

- Bill Daley

The report urges Illinois to follow the example of changes made to education in another state: Massachusetts.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report