Education and learning

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

The Illinois budget crisis is costing low-income public schools some of the federal money intended to help them compete with wealthier schools. That’s the finding of a report published this weekend by the Rockford Register Star. Reporter Corina Curry found that state lawmakers are diverting money from a program known as “Title One” and putting it toward teacher pension debt. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens spoke with Curry about her research.

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

“In so many ways, what is old is now new again. That really reflects the case of this unique space.”

That’s how Rockford University President Robert Head addressed the group gathered Friday in the restored snack bar area of the remodeled Blanche Walker Burpee Center on the Rockford Campus.

Built in 1963 as then-Rockford College moved from its location just south of downtown, the building was intended to be a center of student activity.

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

More than 30 Illinois school officials traveled to Springfield yesterday to tell how budget cuts are affecting their districts. 

These days, it seems like every agency in Illinois is complaining about cutbacks. Public school officials, however, are seasoned veterans, having seen the state slash their funding repeatedly over the past few years.

Now, they argue how the pain is distributed. 

A plan that would limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions is moving through the Illinois legislature. 

The measure would end zero-tolerance policies and the practice of charging fees for minor infractions and emphasize in-house measures over expulsions.

A Chicago youth group pushed the changes for the past two years. Along the way, they dropped a component that sought to limit offenses warranting arrests on campus.

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

A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would help high school students know what kind of college credit to expect for their advanced placement test scores.

High school students taking AP exams know they have to score at least a three on a five-point scale to pass, but they don't know which Illinois universities will give them credit for that score.

A score of three on a Biology test might earn college credit at Western Illinois University, for example, but not at Illinois State. Same goes for all 34 AP tests across all Illinois universities.  

Bogenberger Family Photo

Five former Northern Illinois University students are expected to make plea deals today in the hazing death of a fellow student. 


In November 2012, NIU Freshman David Bogenberger died after a night of heavy drinking in Pi Kappa Alpha’s fraternity house in DeKalb. The 19 year old’s heart stopped…his blood alcohol level was .40, five times the legal limit.


Biden Urges Illini Men To 'Show Courage'

Apr 24, 2015
@VP on Twitter

Vice President Joe Biden told students on the University of Illinois Urbana campus Thursday that preventing sexual assault is a shared responsibility.

Biden used an emotional, almost evangelical tone to urge about 1,500 students to "show courage" and “be the man you were raised to be.”

"By the way gentlemen, silence is a form of approval. Inaction is a form of cowardice," he said. "Speaking up takes courage." 

The crowd cheered for the Vice President in the gym of one of the campus' recreation centers.

Biden voiced anger at those who commit sexual assault.

Former Oakland California school superintendent Anthony “Tony” Smith has been selected as the new Illinois Superintendent of Education.

The Illinois State Board of Education made the change unanimously at Wednesday’s meeting, replacing current Superintendent Christopher Koch, effective May 1.

Koch, whose contract expired earlier this year, remained on the job at the request of the state board. One of the longest serving state superintendents in the nation, he has been in the post since December 2006 and has overseen changes to testing and teacher evaluations.

A new partnership based on enviromental, economic, and social projects run by students from an Illinois liberal arts college will benefit an Iowa community.

Starting in the fall, students from the Upper Mississippi Center at Augustana College in Rock Island will work with the city of Clinton, Iowa, a dozen projects to promote "sustainability."

Center Director Michael Reisner says one of those projects involves working with the Clinton Fire Department.

Youngstown State University - Randy Dunn

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to cut higher education by more than 30 percent. Presidents of three state universities appeared before lawmakers to explore ways to minimize such drastic cuts. 

Committee chair Kenneth Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat, challenged the members to make their decisions based on information, rather than along party lines.