Monday, August 31, 2015

Civics course graduation timeline
to be challenged

Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 4025 on August 21, requiring that all Illinois public high school students must take a civics semester in order to graduate. Under the bill, now Public Act 99-0434, the course has to be provided in a separate class, but as part of the state’s two-year social studies requirement.

The requirement takes effect January 1, 2016, with implementation in the 2015-2016 school year, a timeline school supporters say could create problems for some students and schools.

Critics, including the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, note that thousands of students will be scrambling to get in a civics course before graduating in the current school year. The Alliance opposed the legislation in the spring based largely on school district concerns about difficulties in providing the courses and rearranging student schedules, as well as other potential problems.

Video: Exec. Director Roger Eddy speaks with Illinois Channel on variety of state education issues

In this Illinois Channel interview, IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy provides an update on a variety of Illinois education issues, including the state budget and education funding, school mandates, Common Core, Vision 2020 progress, and more.

If this video is not displaying in your browser, click here.

Joint Annual Conference Update

Registration and housing selection continues for the 2015 Joint Annual Conference. Over 500 Illinois school districts and over 200 companies are registered for the 2015 Conference. With attendance once again on the rise, school board members are encouraged to join their colleagues in education. As of this writing, three hotels had sold out for the 2015 event: the Embassy Suites, the Swissǒtel, and the Fairmont. Click here for Conference information or to register.

This year’s conference features General Session keynote speakers covering motivation, leadership, and education: motivational speaker, author, trainer, and comedian DeDe Murcer Moffett, University of Maryland President Freeman Hrabowski and Kevin Brown, who serves as assistant vice president of SERVPRO. Click to learn more about the keynote speakers.

Additional registrations continue to be available for Pre-Conference Workshops and the Chicago Schools Tour.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September/October Journal
features dual language programs

The September/October issue of the Illinois School Board Journal examines the need for and implementation of dual language programs in Illinois public school districts. The series includes overviews of the changing landscape of language education in Illinois and the nation. Educators from several districts share their stories of community expectation, board decision-making, and school implementation of dual language programs for English Language Learners. Additionally, the Journal includes a piece on collective trends and strategies for negotiators to bring to the negotiating table.

Click here to read the digital version of the Journal.

Friday, August 28, 2015

IASB Board slates officers

The IASB Board of Directors at its quarterly meeting in August reviewed and suggested minor changes to board policies, completed the annual evaluation of the executive director, approved the FY 2015 Audit Report, and welcomed five new directors to the table.

The board nominating committee also met and slated Phil Pritzker, Wheeling CCSD 21, and Joanne Osmond, Lake Villa CCSD 41, as president and vice president candidates, respectively. Both will be voted upon during the 2015 Delegate Assembly in November.

IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy and Mario Perez, executive director of El Hogar Del Niño, address visitors from NSBA’s Central Region who toured the Chicago early childhood center on Aug. 21. Also on hand were representatives from the Ounce of Prevention, a private, nonprofit corporation focusing on prevention policy and programs aiding children, families, and communities in Illinois.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

PDK/Gallup: Testing overemphasized;
Local schools earn high marks

Results from a respected annual national public education survey show — unsurprisingly — that people love their local public schools but are not very fond of standardized testing. Public school parents — 97 percent of them — say quality teaching is the best way to improve public schools.

For the first time in its history, the 47th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitude towards Public Schools presents sector-based responses: black, Hispanic and white; political party affiliation; and public school parents.

Although 64 percent of total respondents and 67 percent of public school parents said there is “too much emphasis” on standardized testing in public schools in their community, students aren’t complaining — at least not as much. In response to the statement “My child complains about taking too many standardized tests,” 31 percent of public school parents chose “agree” or “strongly agree,” 24 percent were neutral, and 39 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

“What this shows is that people expressing a lack of confidence — not in assessments themselves but in properly using assessment results,” said IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy. “Assessments used to inform higher standards are fine. People don’t like high-stakes testing. They don’t like a single assessment used to ID the potential of a single child or a single community.”

In addition, respondents were split about the right to opt out of testing, but most public school parents say they would not opt their own children out. Responses to this question showed a significant contrast when comparing overall responses to sectors. Most black respondents — 57 percent, compared to 40 percent overall — said parents should not be allowed to excuse a child from taking standardized tests, and 75 percent — compared to 59 percent overall — said they would not let their own child opt out.

Law clerk providing
pro bono assistance at IASB

Shanell Bowden will be working as a law clerk for IASB this fall. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, in Columbus, Ohio, and is originally from the Chicago area.

In addition to her law degree, Bowden has received certificates in Children’s Studies and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She was granted an Excellence for the Future Award in Dispute System Design Workshop from the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), a non-profit consortium of law schools that conducts applied research and development in the area of computer-mediated legal education. CALI member law schools can opt to give such awards to the students who have the highest scores in individual law school courses.

She will work with IASB until the end of October and attend the Illinois Council of School Attorneys seminar at the Joint Annual Conference in November, providing IASB with 150 hours of pro bono work in the office of the general counsel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall division dinner meetings to feature
new state education leaders

 IASB's fall meetings offer a variety of topics

Beth Purvis
IASB’s 2015 fall division dinner meetings, which will take place in each of the Association’s 21 divisions beginning on Sep. 22 and concluding on Oct. 29, will feature a variety of education topics. Presenters this year will include Illinois’ new education leaders, ISBE superintendent Tony Smith and Secretary of Education Beth Purvis.

Smith’s presentation to “Kick off the New School Year” will outline his priorities and include a question-answer session. He began his work as state superintendent in May and is touring the state to visit schools and meet with educators and students.

Purvis will share with participants the role of the Illinois Secretary of Education in implementing Governor Bruce Rauner’s education vision: that all children have an education experience that readies them to be engaged citizens.

Tony Smith
Guest presenters for the fall meetings include state Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Greenville College president Ivan Filby, and education speaker Jim Burgett. Other scheduled topics include property tax freeze and PTELL, community engagement, the state budget and school funding, “Dimensions in Learning” from Apple, Inc., parenting universities, legal issues, and legislative hot topics.

In addition to dinner and scheduled programming, division meetings offer networking opportunities and updates from IASB staff and directors on IASB resolutions, legislative updates, and other Association activities. Divisions may also offer tours, open houses, breakout sessions, or other presentations.

Brochures detailing the fall division dinner meeting plans are being mailed, and will be available online.

Check the IASB website at for the meeting schedule, brochure and registration for your division.

Alliance Legislative Report 99-33

August 26, 2015
There is still no end in sight to the budget stalemate in the Capitol as both Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrat leaders continue to dig in for the long haul. The House of Representatives convened Tuesday but, again, little was accomplished. The House is scheduled to return on September 2 and the Senate on September 9.

The Governor has been busily acting upon legislation that was approved this spring by the General Assembly. He has signed into law over 420 bills and has issued a veto on approximately 50 bills. Of course, many of the vetoes were part of the budget package sent to him in May. There are about 70 bills still pending on the Governor’s desk.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 99-33, including more education bills signed into law.

Friday, August 21, 2015

IASB utilizing new application system
for administrative searches

The IASB Executive Searches department has launched a new application management system to improve the application process for superintendent and administrative candidate positions. The new system, AppliTrack, is web-based with a clean and simple interface that aids in the registration process.

AppliTrack has a number of features that aim to improve recruiting and tracking of applicants, while providing a mobile-friendly platform that works on tablets, iPads, and smartphones. AppliTrack also collects information as candidates fill out an application, allowing that information to be carried over to additional applications without having to be re-entered.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Resolutions Committee reviews, recommends district proposals

The IASB resolutions committee met July 31 to debate six proposals brought forth by member districts. The committee recommended the adoption of two new resolutions submitted and the reaffirmation of two current position statements, all to be decided at the 2015 Delegate Assembly in November.

IASB Vice President Phil Pritzker chaired the committee that is responsible for recommending either the approval or disapproval of the proposals submitted and determines which resolutions are presented to the full delegate assembly. The committee’s decisions may be appealed by member districts in writing at least eight days prior to the Delegate Assembly meeting.

A Report to Membership summarizing all the proposed resolutions and the committee’s recommendations on each proposal will be mailed to districts in September.

The resolutions that received a “do adopt” recommendation this year include:

  • Charter school funding, submitted by Woodland CCSD 50, is a reaffirmation of Position Statement 2.27. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall urge adoption of legislation which would create a new methodology for the funding of State Authorized Charter Schools which would not have a negative financial impact on the host district.
  • Sale of district property—student constructed homes, submitted by Pekin CHSD 303. As amended, the Illinois Association of School Boards shall support legislation that amends statutory guidelines outlined in Section 5-22 of the Illinois School Code to allow a school district the initial option to advertise, list, and sell a structure single family residence, constructed or renovated by students as part of the its curricular program, by other means than the sealed bid process (i.e. sale by owner, licensed real estate agent).
  • Hospital charity tax status, submitted by Niles THSD 219. As amended, the Illinois Association of School Boards shall support any litigation and clarifying legislation which requires hospitals to meet existing constitutional standards as a charity in order to qualify for property tax exemptions.
  • School construction prioritization, submitted by Opdyke-Bell River CCSD 5, is a reaffirmation of Position Statement 2.20. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall prioritize the School Construction Project List for 2004 and that the state of Illinois fully fund the 2004 School Construction Project list.

Committee members recommended a motion of “do not adopt” for two resolutions. A full list of all submitted resolutions will be available online by mid-September in the Resolutions Committee Report to the Membership. The report also contains an explanation of the rationale for each proposal and the committee recommendation of “do adopt” or “do not adopt” for the resolutions.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vision 20/20 teams with iTunes U
to offer free teaching and learning content

The Illinois Vision 20/20 coalition, in partnership with Apple iTunes U, has launched a new initiative, the Vision 20/20 21st Century Learning Center.

The 21st Century Learning Center aims to transform Illinois teaching and learning by providing high-quality digital course content for classroom teachers in the four core content areas of mathematics, science, social studies, and English language.

Click here to listen to IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy's response to the announcement.

Illinois Vision 20/20The launch took place today at Township High School District 214 in Arlington Heights with a live simulcast at the Illinois Principals Association in Springfield. Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis attended the unveiling at District 214. State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith joined the event in Springfield. An emphasis on empowering students, facilitating their understanding, and creating engaging experiences prompted Vision 20/20 to launch this initiative.

The new repository, available free for Illinois educators, is an open and accessible collection of education resources. It will initially focus on grades 9-12, with expansion for grades K-8 currently in the initial development stages. Resources include lectures, videos, books, and other materials available for high school courses such as Algebra I and II, chemistry, geometry, ELA 9-10, ELA 11-12, economics, biology, and physics. More course options will be added this fall.

Comments from IASB's Roger Eddy
on the 21st Century Learning Center

Click here to listen to comments from IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy upon the announcement of the Vision 20/20 21st Century Learning Center.

In partnership with Apple iTunes U, Illinois Vision 20/20 has launched this new initiative. The 21st Century Learning Center is an open and accessible collection of education resources. It will initially focus on grades 9-12, with expansion for grades K-8 currently in the initial development stages. Resources include lectures, videos, books, and other materials available for high school courses such as Algebra I and II, chemistry, geometry, ELA 9-10, ELA 11-12, economics, biology, and physics. More course options will be added this fall.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Alliance Legislative Report (99-32)

August 14, 2015
The Illinois General Assembly continues to meet periodically in the Capitol but no budget agreement has yet been reached between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrat leadership in the legislature. Little has been accomplished during the brief sessions that have been held each week this summer other than each side assigning blame to the other for the budget predicament. With the education budget signed into law paving the way for schools to open on time, and with the Governor and the courts allowing State employees to be paid for their work in July, there has been no real pressure point to bring the two sides together.

There was some movement this week on an appropriations bill that will allow the State to access additional federal funding for some social services. The Senate will take that measure up again to review a House amendment to the bill when it returns next week. The House of Representatives is scheduled to return to the Capitol on August 25.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report, including updates to the list of education-related bills signed into law.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Boards face September 30 deadline
to adopt budgets

In nearly all Illinois school districts, the first quarter of the fiscal year ends on September 30. That is also the last day for school boards to adopt a balanced budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Although the law requires boards to adopt a balanced budget, the governing statute does not establish a penalty for adopting a budget that is not balanced. However, an unbalanced budget does trigger a statutory requirement that the board must adopt and file with the Illinois State Board of Education a deficit-reduction plan to balance the budget within three years.

Within 30 days of adopting the annual budget, the board also must file a copy with the county clerk and ISBE. These key deadlines for adoption and filing are contained in state law at 105 ILCS 5/17-1 and at 35 ILCS 200/18-50.

These dates are just a few of many deadlines set by statute. A list of such deadlines can be found in the Annual School Calendar that IASB publishes and posts online. The 2014-2015 calendar is still in effect and posted here: Annual School Calendar. A new version for the 2015-2016 school year will be published in the next few weeks.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Vision 20/20 proposals, other education measures signed into law

Vision 20/20 proposals
Changes to state education law are around the corner as Governor Bruce Rauner begins acting on a number of initiatives passed this spring by lawmakers. With thousands of bills introduced and hundreds approved and sent to the governor, board members and schools officials should be aware of possible effects that may impact current policies and board decisions.

Legislation already signed by the governor will fund schools for the 2015-2016 school year. House Bill 3763 increases appropriations to Illinois districts by $240 million over Fiscal Year 2015 levels, with $206 million of it allocated for General State Aid. This amounts to a 92 percent proration level, as a total of $4.63 billion is allocated for General State Aid payments. Another $85 million will also be available to the neediest of school districts to limit the loss per student due to current proration practices.

In addition to the funding increase, two cornerstones of the Vision 20/20 initiative will become law in the coming year.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Opinions on education

The following are editorials, commentaries, and opinions related to Illinois public education, collected in July 2015. Click on each headline to read more.

McQueary: Rauner, GOP should say 'yes' to fixing school funding
Kristen McQueary, Chicago Tribune, July 30, 2015

Our View: Going back to school can be costly
Editorial, Northwest Herald, July 30

Our View: Rockford School District right to propose library cards for students
Editorial Board, Rockford Register Star, July 29

Voice of The Southern: Consensus can't be strong-armed
Editorial Board, The Southern Illinoisan, July 29