Education and learning

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Bilingual employees are in hot demand. At least that’s what a recent survey by Northern Illinois University found. One of the greatest areas of need is for teachers with skills in more than one language. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens spoke with NIU Professor James Cohen, who specializes in bilingual education.


Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Monday, 9:00 pm

The strike is suspended and Rock Valley College faculty and students will be back in class Tuesday. The RVC Faculty Association approved a mediator's contract proposal that had been negotiated last Friday. It appears the wrong contract was voted on and rejected at a faculty meeting Sunday night. The discrepancy was discovered today during negotiations between the two sides. A corrected version was presented to members of the union Monday night and approved.

Rock Valley College

Rock Valley College faculty members rejected a mediator's proposal that could have ended their strike.  Union members gathered to review the latest five year contract from the school and voted to reject it at a meeting Sunday night at the Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford.. 

The two sides met for 10 hours Friday and were given a plan to consider by a mediator working on the contract dispute.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

After a long day of negotiations Friday, the union representing striking Rock Valley College faculty agreed to meet Sunday to vote on a proposal from a mediator

  . If the union accepts the offer, classes could resume as early as Monday. If the union rejects the offer, the two sides will return to the bargaining table Monday.

The school's board of trustees will vote on the mediator's proposal Tuesday at its regular meeting.

Teachers have been on strike since Wednesday. Classes have been canceled since then.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Update, Friday 6:22 pm: Contract negotiations continue between striking Rock Valley College faculty members and the school's bargaining representative. They've been negotiating all day.

Classes are canceled for a second day at Rock Valley College because of a faculty strike. Now the college’s president is making a plea for them to return to work.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

  Striking union faculty members at Rock Valley College meet this morning to discuss the latest offer from the college’s board of directors. The sticking point? How much the 160 RVC faculty members will pay for health care. Joe Perkoski is the attorney representing the school. He says “What we’re simply trying to do is get employees to pay a little more toward that. At the same time, we are providing a very generous salary offer.”

'Disappointing' PARCC Test Scores From Illinois Students

Sep 16, 2015
Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

The latest statewide tests results show that a vast majority of Illinois high school students are not meeting Common Core standards.

It was revealed today about 37 percent of students passed the Language Arts section. Fewer than 30 percent passed the math portion.

Results are based on the PARCC test, which is different from the old ISAT assessment.

Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith is working to improve lower-than-average test scores.

U.S. Department of Education Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Illinois students will get a hint about how they scored on the PARCC test — the standardized test based on the Common Core — when statewide results are announced today. State officials have warned that scores will be lower than with previous tests. But U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says it’s time for an honest assessment.

“It’s so important that we tell the truth to parents and to students about are they on track to be successful in college or not,” Duncan says. "And many states, including Illinois, dummy down those standards to make politicians look good.”  

Whooping Cough Case Identified At Auburn High School

Sep 15, 2015

Pertussis, or whooping cough, has made its presence into the Rockford public school district.

Last Friday, a letter was sent out regarding an Auburn High School student with a confirmed case of pertussis.

Families of West View Elementary and West Middle School also received letters about probable cases that have been reported.

Pertussis is easily mistaken as a bad cold, but its symptoms are more severe and can last up to 100 days.

NIU Enrollment Down, Retention Up

Sep 9, 2015

NIU’s enrollment has slightly declined this fall, while the university says retention and quality of students have increased. The university’s official 10-day count showed enrollment at 20,130 students. It represents the smallest dip in several years. 

Officials say NIU’s efforts to attract higher achieving students has paid off, as class rank, grade point average, and ACT scores have risen.

Eric Weldy is in charge of enrollment management at NIU. He spoke at a town hall meeting last week, telling staff there is fierce competition for students.