Illinois schools

Moody's Investors Service has placed six Illinois public universities on review for downgrade, impacting a total of approximately $2.2 billion of public university debt. According to a release issued by the company, the review is prompted by  "failure of the State of Illinois to enact a budget providing full operating funding to the universities for the current fiscal year 2017 and resulting operational and liquidity strains on the universities."

"Handwriting Tag Game" by Flickr User RomitaGirl67 / (CC X 2.0)

Parents alarmed by the realization that their teenagers cannot decipher cursive handwriting have inspired one Illinois lawmaker to propose requiring schools to offer a course on the art of the flowing font.

Kids use computer keyboards for most communication these days, but what if they need to sign a legal document or read a letter from grandma?

State Representative Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, says they’re going to need cursive for that. He’s sponsoring a measure that would ensure students receive at least one class in old-school slanted script. 

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forming a panel to pick up where a recent commission left off revamping the state's outdated public school funding formula.

The Chicago Democrat announced the panel Thursday. He says the group will address questions left unanswered by a funding reform commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year.

That commission reported its findings earlier this month. It concluded Illinois must change how it funds schools to ensure all students are properly educated. But it produced no legislative proposals.

"Asthma Inhaler" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

School personnel across Illinois are adapting to a new state law that requires districts to have an emergency protocol to deal with asthma emergencies.

The Chicago Tribune reports that under the new law anyone who works with students must be trained to handle asthma emergencies. All children with asthma must have a written "asthma action plan" at the school as well. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the legislation in August and it went into effect Jan. 1.

"Weight Rack" By Flickr User Colin Davis / (CC X 2.0)

Data released by the Illinois State Board of Education show many schools in the state have cut back on days of physical education on class schedules.

The Chicago Tribune said Wednesday that nearly 1,200 Illinois schools have been trimming the number of physical education days, frequently saying they don't have facilities or staff to have the courses daily, which is required by a state law.

Of the roughly 3,100 schools that reported, slightly over 60 percent said they had five days a week of physical education.

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