education

Chicago State University won’t have funds to operate by March 1 if  state money is not released, officials there have said.

A Chicago area transgender student whose fight to use a girls' locker room sparked a national debate will be allowed access on Friday.

The move follows a long battle with federal authorities and public meetings.

Palatine-based Township High School District 211 entered an agreement with federal officials last month after the student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

State of Illinois

Most school districts in Illinois would get an increase in state aid if a budget request approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education is adopted.

Only the wealthiest districts would see a decrease, and it would be less than 1 percent. 

State funding for public schools has remained stagnant or decreased for the past five years. Districts with low property values have no way to supplement that aid, leaving Illinois with one of the most inequitable funding scenarios in the nation.

Many Illinois colleges and universities fronted the money for income-based Monetary Award Program grants to students in the fall semester. That's despite the lack of a state budget and no assurance that they'd be reimbursed. 

Major schools will continue covering them for the spring, although others are telling students they can't cover the debt for the coming semester. 

The list below shows a sampling of schools, their enrollment, the number of students receiving MAP grants in the fall, and the total amount covered.

ACT

Illinois will stop giving the ACT college entrance exam. Instead, the state will start giving high school juniors the rival SAT. 

The company that offers the ACT filed a protest with the state seeking to cancel Illinois's contract with the College Board, which offers the SAT. State records show the three-year contract is worth $14.3 million.

Illinois has given the ACT for free to 11th graders for 15 years. A state budget impasse in Illinois complicated the situation because dozens of districts earlier this school year signed up for ACT testing.

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University students will soon receive an e-mail to name a mental health emergency contact person. That’s because the school will soon be required by law to provide that paperwork.

The Student Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health Act says colleges and universities have to provide incoming students a form that would allow the school to disclose mental health information about the student to a designated person. That’s if the school thinks the student is a threat to others or him-or-herself. 

Rockford Public Schools / RPS205.com

Plans to build two new elementary schools in Rockford are back on track.

The Rockford School Board voted last night to proceed with its ten-year facilities plan -- particularly the construction of the two schools that will replace five outdated buildings on the city’s southeast side, at a cost of $42 million.

The board had delayed a vote so members could determine if the district really could afford the schools on top of major renovations and everyday expenses.

Illinois Ranks 20th In High School Graduation Rates

Dec 15, 2015
"Graduation Cake Guy" by flickr user / David Goehring (CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/1RQsA2o

New data from the U.S. Department of Education show that 86 percent of Illinois students graduate from high school. That's the 20th-highest graduation rate in the country. 

The department said Tuesday that the 82.3 percent national graduation rate for the 2013-14 school year was the highest recorded since it started using a new, uniform measure in 2010.  

That still means nearly one in five students leaves high school without a diploma.  

Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised the improvement but said too many students still drop out.  

understandthescore.org

Only five high schools in the WNIJ listening area have more than half of their students ready for college.

The top school among them is Geneva Community High School, where 66 percent of its students met or exceeded expectations during the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, according to test results released Friday.

PARCC Test Results Released In Illinois

Dec 14, 2015
WUIS

Illinois schools got results for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- or PARCC -- test late last week. That’s the standardized test aligned with the Common Core. Scores were low across the state.

Tony Smith is the state superintendent of schools. He says that’s because it’s not comparing students to each other, but to what they should know.

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