Archive for the ‘Barrington Education Association’ Category


Gov. Pritzker signs a law to prevent his policies from being overturned in court. |PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER DILTS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Progressives are on the march in Illinois, and they want to make sure their new policies can’t be overturned in state court. Solution: Pass a law that requires any constitutional challenge to a state law, rule or executive order to be filed in only two counties.

Yes, that’s really happening, thanks to Illinois Democratic Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s brainstorm. Democrats in Springfield passed it, and on Tuesday Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it. The bill means any constitutional challenge to the Democratic agenda can only be heard in Cook and Sangamon counties. Cook includes Chicago, and Sangamon surrounds the capital of Springfield.

The measure’s proponents were transparent in saying the change is meant to prevent conservative “venue shopping,” a tool pioneered by progressives and trial lawyers when seeking venues favorable to jackpot justice. In the case of conservatives, any choice of where to file would be to seek judicial brakes on the Democrats’ legislative steamroller.

Mr. Raoul’s spokesman says the change is appropriate because “inconsistent court decisions about important public issues have repeatedly caused confusion.” Yes, but that’s how the judicial system is meant to work. Conflicting lower-court decisions are resolved through appeals.

Mr. Pritzker’s infamous plan to end cash bail was rejected by Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington, who ruled the law unconstitutional in December. It’s now on appeal at the state Supreme Court. Mr. Pritzker is expected to sign more than 500 bills this summer, according to Capitol News Illinois, and he wants to neuter the courts.

Read more here.

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From District 220:

At the June 6 Board meeting, the Board heard an update on the district’s latest diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and how it aligns with the Framework 220 strategic plan. Specifically, one of the six strategic priorities in the plan is Inclusive Education. Currently, the district is focused on providing professional development to staff members in order to support this priority. This has primarily included professional development that focuses on the revised Danielson Framework for Teaching. The Danielson Framework is a research-validated evaluation tool for teacher observation, evaluation, and development. It was developed by acclaimed educator Charlotte Danielson. It has been used in Barrington 220 since 2011 and it is used as a teacher evaluation tool in many school districts across the country.

In 2022, the Danielson Group revised its framework to reflect new research and feedback from educators in the field. The revised framework further advances principles of equity and social-emotional learning concepts. Barrington 220 will implement the revised evaluation tool at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

  • Click here to view a side-by-side comparison of the Danielson Framework in 2013 and 2022.
  • Click here to listen to the entire equity presentation.

Learn more about the Equity 220 initiative here.”

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220 Admin

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Consideration to Approve BHS Athletic Program Donation Agreement
  • Consideration to Approve Strategic Plan, and
  • Consideration to Approve BSEO Job Reclassification

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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Illinois may soon require all public school districts to front the costs of a full-day kindergarten program starting in 2027. There is no designated financial support from the state. Opponents said it’s not about a lack of desire or need, but the lack of funding.

A bill on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk could mandate every public school in Illinois to provide full-day kindergarten by 2027, despite offering no funding assistance or estimates on the costs to taxpayers.

House Bill 2396 would require school districts around the state to provide full-day kindergarten to families with children ages 4 to 6 by the 2027-2028 school year. The bill also creates a task force to estimate the costs to local taxpayers of implementing the mandate and to track enrollment.

Illinois previously only required schools to offer a half-day kindergarten program. A Chalkbeat analysis of Illinois State Board of Education data shows over 700 of the state’s 852 school districts already reported full-day kindergarten enrollments.

School districts that don’t already provide full-day kindergarten may need to raise local taxes to cover the costs of the new program. Those include building new classrooms and hiring more teachers, said Illinois Principals Association Government and Public Relations Director Alison Maley.

Maley said without money in the bill to help local school districts implement the mandate, it comes down to whether local taxpayers can afford it.

“It’s not for a lack of desire, it’s a lack of space, lack of resources, lack of staffing,” Maley said.

Read more here.

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Illinois is in the minority of states graduating a higher percentage of students during the first two years of the pandemic. But state data shows those high school students’ SAT scores are dropping and a smaller percentage are immediately continuing onto higher education.

A higher rate of Illinois high school students has graduated since the pandemic, but with lower SAT scores and fewer of them headed to college soon after getting their diplomas.

Illinois is one of 20 states to increase its public school graduation rate during the first two years of the pandemic, based on an analysis of 44 responding states’ data by the EdWeek Research Center. The graduation rate in Illinois continued to increase in 2022.

Yet 11% fewer students graduating from Illinois public high schools are enrolling in U.S. colleges within the first 12 to 16 months after graduating, compared to 2019. The percent of high school students who met proficiency standards has fallen in both reading and math since 2019 as students record poorer performances on the SAT.

Illinois high school graduation rates up, college entry down

Proficiency and college enrollment rates sink lower for Illinois high school students as graduation rates gradually increase.


Illinois graduation rate increases

Graduation rates in Illinois have fluctuated since the onset of the pandemic. Overall, there has been a slight increase in Illinois’ graduation rate since 2019, the final graduation year prior to the pandemic.

Illinois’ four-year graduation rate increased to 87.3% in 2022, marking a 1.1 percentage point increase since 2019. In 2022, 260 Illinois school districts had a higher graduation rate than the statewide average, with 11 districts reporting a 100% graduation rate.

The graduation rate in 2020 was the highest in the past four years. The State Board of Education and Gov. J.B. Pritzker made adjustments to graduation requirements for the class of 2020 because in-person instruction was suspended at the end of the 2020 school year.

Read more here.

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Illinois is infamous for political corruption and has a bad reputation for fiscal malfeasance.

Backers of a new state budget say they’re turning that around with a balanced plan crafted in cooperation. Republicans, however, say the measure that passed the state House of Representatives around 2:30 a.m. Friday — while most Illinois residents were kicking off a sunny holiday weekend — largely ignores their input and sets the state up for obligations it won’t be able to meet.

The spending plan doesn’t increase taxes, but it will cost people $10 more for a new car title. That means come July, it will cost $165 for a certificate of title, with the additional funds to be used to update the Illinois secretary of state’s IT infrastructure, which an external assessment found to be very outdated. The secretary of state’s office said the increase “won’t come close” to raising the $200 million needed to overhaul the “archaic” system “to better protect personal information, increase cybersecurity and prevent outages … but is a decision the GA (General Assembly) made to help generate more for modernization.”

That’s a small portion of the $50 billion spending plan approved by lawmakers and that Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign in advance of July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

One freshman lawmaker, Rep. John Egofske, R-Lemont, a former mayor and company CFO, said watching how the $50 billion plan was put together was “enlightening and frightening.”

Lawmakers behind the plan promised it contains no gimmicks, but Barrington Hills Republican Rep. Martin McLaughlin said “there’s more hiding, shifting, obfuscation of stuff that would make a three-card monte dealer blush,” and Rep. John Cabello, R-Rockford, said projected savings are “straight out of fantasy land.”

More here.

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The Illinois legislature has voted to require a statewide literacy plan to change the way reading is taught in public schools.

Senate Bill 2243 passed the state Senate May 19 in a 56-0 vote. The week before, it passed the House with only one no vote. The measure can now be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature.

Jessica Handy, executive director of education advocacy group Stand for Children Illinois, said the bill is an important milestone in a really long journey.

“There is definitely work to do as we develop this plan. And even after the plan is there, we have more work to do as districts implement new literacy instruction,” she said.

Forty percent of students in the third through eighth grades in the United States lack basic reading skills, the National Assessment of Educational Progress has found. Lack of reading skills in Illinois are in line with reading levels in schools across the country, Handy said.

“Illinois is not out of sync with the rest of the country,” she said.

What has changed this year is that the Illinois State Board of Education has gotten on board with the goal of coming up with a better plan to teach reading.

More here.

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Arlington Kin

Kindergarten classes in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25, like Kathy Riesing’s at Dryden Elementary School, would go to full-day beginning in August 2024 under a plan by the district that will add several new classrooms to most schools. (Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer)

If Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs a bill requiring full-day kindergarten in all elementary and unit school districts within four years, at least nine suburban districts would be forced to comply, even if voters rejected proposals in the past.

That’s according to a Daily Herald analysis of 80 suburban districts in five counties.

The percentage statewide is similar: About 11% of elementary and unit districts statewide don’t currently have full-day kindergarten, education officials said.

And the cost of changing that would be shouldered by taxpayers in those districts.

All nine of the suburban districts without full-day kindergarten offer half-day classes. Some of the districts are in the process of making the transition to full-day after recent voter-approved — and costly — tax hikes.

Both Palatine Elementary District 15 and Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 schools will soon have full-day kindergarten no matter the outcome of the proposed legislation that was sent to Pritzker last week.

District 25 is borrowing $75 million to make additions and renovations at six of the district’s seven elementary schools to accommodate the shift. They also estimate another $1.4 million is needed annually to cover operational costs for personnel and supplies.

In the suburbs, there are five other suburban elementary districts without full-day kindergarten: Des Plaines 62, Mount Prospect 57, Prospect Heights 23, Bloomingdale 13 and Glen Ellyn 41. Two unit districts in Lake County, Barrington 220 and Wauconda 118, also are without full-day kindergarten classes.

While District 220 offers an “enrichment program” for kindergartners that allows students to remain at school all day, changes to that curriculum would be needed for it to be considered full-day kindergarten, district officials said.

More here.

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Budget Protest

Illinois state lawmakers shorted pensions by $4.1 billion and killed scholarships for low-income students, but gave themselves pay raises and a new office building. Their budget leaves no room for error as revenue projections drop.

Illinois state lawmakers approved a record-high $50.6 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2024 at 2:30 a.m. on March 27, despite no Republican support and three Senate Democratic caucus members voting “no” on the bill.

Lawmakers had originally anticipated passing the state budget and adjourning their spring session by May 19 but were hung up amid reported revenue declines and higher-than-expected costs.

Despite repeated claims by elected leaders that the budget is balanced, that claim ignores a massive unpaid bill: state pensions.

Appropriations to the five statewide pension funds will fall $4.1 billion below what the plans’ own actuaries have determined is required to actually begin paying off the state’s pension debt.


While Gov. J.B. Pritzker has touted his administration’s handling of the state’s pension crisis – including making $200 million in additional pension contributions in the 2024 budget – state budgets continue to shortchange pensions by billions of dollars annually. The effects of year after year of paying in too little has resulted in massive growth in pension debt, which now stands at $140 billion, according to state estimates.

It is likely much worse: independent estimates put the figure at more than $300 billion, using assumptions that are more realistic than the state’s optimistic projections.  Refusal among elected leaders to consider constitutional pension reform or make full, actuarially determined contributions leaves the current budget inherently unbalanced and jeopardizes the ability of future budgets to deliver core services to Illinoisans.

Read more here.

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Classroom 1

Iowa teachers will be banned from raising gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students through grade six, and all books depicting sex acts will be removed from school libraries, under a bill Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Friday.

The new law is among similar measures that have been approved in other Republican-dominated statehouses around the country. As with many of those proposals, Iowa Republicans framed their action as a commonsense effort to ensure that parents can oversee what their children are learning in school and that teachers not delve into topics such as gender and sexuality.

Despite the opposition of all Democratic legislators, Republicans who hold large majorities in Iowa’s state House and Senate approved the measure in April and there was little doubt that Reynolds would sign it; she had made issues related to gender identity and sexuality a focal point of her legislative agenda this year.

“This legislative session, we secured transformational education reform that puts parents in the driver’s seat, eliminates burdensome regulations on public schools, provides flexibility to raise teacher salaries, and empowers teachers to prepare our kids for their future,” Reynolds said in a statement.

Under the new law, school administrators also would be required to notify parents if students asked to change their pronouns or names. Religious texts will be exempt from the library ban on books depicting sex acts.

Democrats and LGBTQ groups argued that the restrictions would hurt children by limiting their ability to be open with teachers about gender and sexuality issues and to see their lives reflected in books and other curriculum.

The law’s passage was not a surprise, said Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy at the LGBTQ equality group One Iowa. “But we are still very disappointed by it.”

Read more here.

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