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A host of new laws go into effect in 2023 that will affect education in Illinois.

220 2021

In the wake of school shootings across the country, there are measures to address trauma. One law mandates school board members to receive training on trauma-informed practices.

Practices include “the effects of implicit or explicit bias on recognizing trauma among various students in connection with race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation,” among other things.

State Sen. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, said there is also training for students, but they can’t include more graphic exercises involving police and weapons.

“Children are really having a lot of trauma, being fearful about going to school and having to go through one of these drills,” Villa said.

A new law will revise school teaching about mental health, while creating a mental health council that is designed to develop solutions on how to help children in school to find a mental health provider and how to access the mental health system.

Another law requires the state of Illinois to create a “Safe2Help” hotline where students, school staff and other members of the public can confidentially report information regarding “potential self-harm and criminal acts directed at students” and school employees.

Read more here.

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Laurie Parman

Laurie Parman, who is running for a seat on Algonquin-based Community Community Unit District 300’s school board, delivers her candidate paperwork on Dec. 12 at the McHenry County Administration Building in Woodstock. (Ryan Rayburn/Shaw Local News Network)

In Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300, eight candidates filed for four 4-year terms.

Nancy Zettler is seeking her second term, and Stephen Fiorentino is seeking his fourth term on the board.

Like other suburban school districts, District 300 has had its share of criticism regarding masking mandates, curriculum, taxes and other issues. Most recently, an LGBTQIA+ student group came under scrutiny by some parents.

Parent Randi Gauthier, who is a member of a recently formed LGBTQIA+ parent advisory council, said she is seeking a spot on the board to further equity and inclusivity measures.

In a social media post, candidate Kristina Konstanty said she opposes tax increases and supports parental rights and involvement.

Olutola “Tola” Makinde, Laurie Parman, Robert Reining and Connie Cain also are vying for one of the 4-year terms on the District 300 board.

Read more here.

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Now

The Now Arena in Hoffman Estates hadn’t yet opened as the Sears Centre when the village adopted its economic development strategic plan in 2005. Village officials have approved the first major revision to the plan in 17 years. (Daily Herald File Photo, 2021)

Hoffman Estates officials have approved the first major revision of the village’s economic development strategic plan in 17 years, setting ambitious goals while recognizing a different business landscape from that of 2005.

The strategic plan’s nine strategies include attraction and recruitment; business retention and expansion; foreign direct investment and targeted industry clusters; housing; marketing and communications; quality of life; small business development; tourism; and workforce development.

Economic Development Director Kevin Kramer said the strategies define how the village should focus its limited time and resources in areas of economic development.

The plan also identifies how the village might attract people back to work in their offices, as well as how to make it an attractive place to live for remote workers — such as emphasizing the convenient presence of coworking space like that at Bell Works Chicagoland, Kramer said.

While achieving all the plan’s goals in the next five years is unlikely, Kramer said reaching 90% would be a big win for the village.

“I want to dream big,” he added. “Even if they don’t all come true, maybe some of them can.”

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said what especially impresses him about the plan is that it’s based on a full SWOT — Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats — analysis of the village.

Read more here.

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333

A new survey by SmartAsset.com has found that New York, California and Illinois are losing more highly paid workers under 35 than they are gaining.

SmartAsset, a website that provides financial advice to young professionals, compiled the survey data by comparing the tax returns of workers making over $100,000 during the survey period of 2019 to 2020.

The Prairie State finished third, behind New York and California, for net loss of sought-after workers under 35. The District of Columbia and Massachusetts came in fourth and fifth behind Illinois for net loss of those workers, the survey found.

Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said the survey numbers are small, but businesses in Illinois continue to be concerned about retaining workers.

Illinois gained 6,527 highly paid professionals during  2019 and 2020, but it lost 9,386 comparable workers, SmartAsset found. That is a net loss of 2,859 top-talent workers.

“Whether you are a trucking firm or a McDonald’s franchisee or an IT consultant, everybody is competing for talent,” Maisch told The Center Square. “Illinois is still attracting talent, but the big thing that comes to my mind is, can we keep it?”

The most popular destinations for rich young workers are Washington state, Texas and Florida, SmartAsset found. Maisch said highly paid workers in their 30s are looking for mid-career lifestyles.

“Another state might not have the Chicago lakefront, but it can have a lot of things that Chicago has,” he said. “Recruiters from other states say, ‘We’re safer. We’re more stable. You won’t have to worry about the government zigging and zagging on you all the time.’ That’s our competition.”

More here.

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ISNE

Post-pandemic data shows scores falling, but student growth accelerating

Editorial note: The latest CUSD 220 report card can be found here, and the CUSD 300 report can be found here.

SPRINGFIELD – Student test scores continued to fall last year but new data shows Illinois’ students are on the path to recovering from the learning loss that occurred during the pandemic.

Numbers from standardized tests administered last spring show steep declines in the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards in English language arts and math compared to 2019, the last year tests were administered before the pandemic.

Those numbers were reported in the latest state report card, which the Illinois State Board of Education released Thursday. In addition to test results, the report card includes information on a wide range of education metrics such as graduation rates, class sizes and teacher qualifications. It offers statewide data as well as data on each district and school building.

But while proficiency rates were down across the board, State Superintendent Carmen Ayala said the amount of growth students are showing from one year to the next is improving, suggesting that strategies being used help students catch up in their academics are working.

ISBE devised a new metric this year to track growth rates. It involves measuring a student’s year-over-year change in scores in a particular subject and comparing that growth to a student in a prior year – in this case, 2019 – who started off with the same score. This year’s report card suggests students in 2022 showed greater growth than their academic peers in 2019.

“Now, proficiency rates are still not back to pre-pandemic levels, but this accelerated rate of growth tells us we are on the right track,” Ayala said during a media briefing on the report card.

Read more here.

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ACT Logo

Scores on the ACT college admissions test by this year’s high school graduates hit their lowest point in more than 30 years – the latest evidence of the enormity of learning disruption during the pandemic.

The class of 2022’s average ACT composite score was 19.8 out of 36, marking the first time since 1991 that the average score was below 20. What’s more, an increasing number of high school students failed to meet any of the subject-area benchmarks set by the ACT – showing a decline in preparedness for college-level coursework.

The test scores, made public in a report Wednesday, show 42% of ACT-tested graduates in the class of 2022 met none of the subject benchmarks in English, reading, science and math, which are indicators of how well students are expected to perform in corresponding college courses.

In comparison, 38% of test takers in 2021 failed to meet any of the benchmarks.

“Academic preparedness is where we are seeing the decline,” said Rose Babington, senior director for state partnerships for the ACT. “Every time we see ACT test scores, we are talking about skills and standards, and the prediction of students to be successful and to know the really important information to succeed and persist through their first year of college courses.”

ACT scores have declined steadily in recent years. Still, “the magnitude of the declines this year is particularly alarming,” ACT CEO Janet Godwin said in a statement. “We see rapidly growing numbers of seniors leaving high school without meeting college-readiness benchmarks in any of the subjects we measure.”

Read more here.

Related: “Illinois’s Shocking Report Card

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Am1-Issues-Stamp

Amendment 1 on the November ballot in Illinois has supporters saying it gives workers an even playing field when negotiating with their higher-ups. Opponents say the measure will lead to more tax increases.

The amendment has been the subject of much debate as many Democrats say the amendment is a way to codify workers’ rights in Illinois.

Bryce Hill of the Illinois Policy Institute said it likely will increase property taxes.

“Amendment 1 would open up and create this Pandora’s Box of new subjects of collective bargaining, and each new subject will ultimately raise the cost to taxpayers,” Hill said. “The cost of government gets more expensive when you have to meet new demands.”

Illinois residents already pay the second highest property taxes in the nation. The Illinois Policy Institute property tax calculator indicates that if Amendment 1 is passed, Cook County residents who own a house valued at the county average will see a $3,000 increase in property taxes over the next four years. DuPage County residents meeting the same requirements would see an estimated $2,200 increase and in Madison County, property owners would see on average a $700 increase over that same time frame.

Hill said if voters approve the measure, it would also stop future tax relief legislation.

“These pro-taxpayer reforms, the things that taxpayers need to get relief from this crushing property tax burden, will be thwarted,” Hill said. “Those things will be deemed unconstitutional in many cases because of the wording of the language.”

Read more here.

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RepMclaughlin

State Representative Martin McLaughlin

While Illinois Democrats successfully passed legislation that updated sex education standards in schools, state test scores show that less than half of students can read at grade level.

Under Senate Bill 818, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in August 2021, K-12 schools that teach sex education must meet National Sex Education standards, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Modernizing our sex education standards will help keep our children safe and ensure important lessons, like consent and internet safety, are taught in classrooms,” Pritzker said in the release.

But, GOP lawmakers have mostly opposed the law. State Rep. Martin McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, recentky spoke out about what he believes needs to happen.

“When I drop my child off at the front door of her school, my parental rights don’t end there, it’s where they just begin,” McLaughlin said in an Aug. 31 Facebook post. “School boards need to exert control and local authority representing their communities and the local property taxpayers who they serve, not capitulating to national ‘standards.'”

Under modernized standards, students in grades K-2 will learn about how to define gender, gender identity, gender-role stereotypes and medically accurate names for body parts, according to a report from Break Through. Third through fifth graders will learn about masturbation, hormone blockers, and the differences between cisgender, transgender and nonbinary. Sixth through eighth graders will learn to define oral, anal and vaginal sex, and non-prescription contraception.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the most recent Illinois Assessment of Readiness test scores show that less than 20% of Chicago third graders could read or do math at grade level.

About 38% of students statewide can read at grade level, according to Wirepoints.

Source

Related:Resident tells 220 Board of Education what they needed to hear (but did they listen?)

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JB Teachers

There are fewer students and more teachers in Illinois today than a decade ago, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. Teachers unions push the shortage myth to gain power.

Students and teachers are back in school across Illinois, but teachers unions keep claiming there are not enough teachers to run classrooms.

That’s wrong. State data proves it.

Teachers’ unions have perpetuated the teacher shortage myth. The Illinois Education Association claimed Aug. 28, 2022, the “teacher and education employee shortage [is] getting worse.”

But according to data from the Illinois State Board of Education, there are fewer students and more teachers in Illinois today compared to a decade ago.

Teacher Shortage Graphic

Public school enrollment in Illinois has decreased by nearly 9% in the past decade with just under 1.9 million students enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year. That represents a loss of nearly 180,000 since 2011-2012. Nearly 70,000 of those students have left the public school system since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of teachers in the state has simultaneously been rising during this 10-year period. Illinois had over 4,500 more teachers in 2020-2021, the most recent year with fully available data, than in the 2011-2012 school year. Teacher numbers have climbed by 3.5% while the number of students has dipped by nearly 9%.

Read more here.

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220 Admin

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education announced Friday they will both adopt new, less stringent COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC for kindergarten through 12th grade and early education schools.

“Current conditions of the pandemic are very different from those of the last two years, with many available tools to protect the general public, including widespread availability of vaccines for everyone 6 months and older,” IDPH Director Sameer Vohra said in a news release.

The new guidelines, available in detail at CDC.gov, call for quarantines only in “high-risk congregate settings,” and ease social distancing. The CDC continues to recommend masking when community spread (or the potential for community spread) is high.

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