Archive for the ‘300’ Category


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.


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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Opposition is growing from parents, religious groups and Republican lawmakers on sex education standards for Illinois schools.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said when signing the legislation into law that it “will help keep our children safe.” The law, among other things, requires teaching sex ed to kindergarten students.

The measure requires the curriculum to align with the National Sex Education Standards created by the Future of Sex Education initiative.

State Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, was behind the legislation and wanted the sex ed curriculum mandated for schools, which ultimately was excluded from the final legislation.

“It is not too early to start teaching children, as young as pre-school and definitely by kindergarten, about healthy relationships,” Willis said.

During a protest outside the governor’s mansion in early July, Davis Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, said local school districts should make local decisions.

“Let the parents, along with their priests, rabbis and pastors, teach sex ed and the birds and the bees to our kids,” Smith said. “That’s not the job of government educators.”

Read more here.

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By Steve Huntley

July 20, 2022

The covid-19 pandemic left a lot of wreckage in its wake. High on the casualty list is a growing loss of confidence among middle class parents in public schools.

When schools shut down, moms and dads got a peek at zoom classes. They watched with disbelief, then anger as they got a closeup look at how too many public schools promoted an unsettling agenda of political and cultural indoctrination to pupils.

Radical racial ideas distorting American history and sowing division. Nonsense about kids born guilty of oppression because of the color of their skin. Theories about the “fluidity” of gender identity trafficked under the banner of sex education. All that taking priority over math and language instruction.

And that was just the beginning.

When the covid emergency receded, school unions and the school boards in their pockets resisted reopening in-person learning in classrooms. Chicago parents saw the city’s teachers union go on strike for five days to try to keep from returning to the classroom.

Union defiance to in-person learning came even as evidence mounted that computer screen classes knee-capped learning in pupils. Reading and math scores fell across the board, but especially plummeted for low-income kids.

Then there was nonsense like the far-left San Francisco school board that, rather than open classrooms, worried about schools being named for famous heroes of history like Abraham Lincoln.

Steve Huntley’s commentary continues here.

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Delegates to the National Education Association’s annual meeting again called for mask and vaccine mandates, as well as remote learning. On Nov. 8 voters will decide whether to grant Illinois union bosses more power to set school policy.

The National Education Association’s delegates called for mandatory masking, vaccinations and remote learning options during their annual meeting July 3-6 in Chicago.

Delegates discussed new business item 37, which asks national leadership to continue to support forcing COVID-19 policies on schools. The stance runs counter to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which moved to optional masking in schools in Spring 2022.

NEA isn’t the only teachers union wanting to take away personal or local choice in favor of blanket COVID-19 policies. In January, the Chicago Teachers Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, went on strike for five school days to impose its own policies regarding testing and remote learning – again, against the expertise of public health leaders.

Chicago’s top health official and other large city schools saw no need to suspend in-person learning. The walkout was the union’s third work stoppage in 27 months.

Union bosses too often use strikes to push public policy. CTU has taken to the picket line or made demands regarding its social agenda on housing, immigration, “restorative justice,” wealth redistribution and defunding the police.

Still, they are seeking more power through a change to the state constitution. Voters on Nov. 8 will be asked to decide Amendment 1.

Read more here.

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Teachers unions tout support for a constitutional amendment that threatens to raise property taxes over $2,149. Illinoisans already pay the nation’s second-highest property taxes.

Teachers unions are pushing for a change to the Illinois Constitution that would significantly boost their bargaining power as well as Illinoisans’ property tax bills – by at least $2,149.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers and Illinois Education Association have mounted a social media campaign to proclaim their support for Amendment 1, the so-called “workers’ rights” amendment. Their union websites also tout support for the amendment, which would drive up costs as taxpayers are forced to fund expensive contracts and a new range of demands allowed under the amendment.

If voters agree Nov. 8, the constitutional change gives government union leaders more power than elected state lawmakers and voters. Before putting Amendment 1 on the ballot, lawmakers received 90 witness slips from unions, firms, committees and individuals showing support for it.

Among those filing support for the amendment were the Illinois Federation of Teachers and Chicago Teachers Union. They filed support for the amendment twice.

Teachers unions also backed Amendment 1 with cash. IFT and its political action committee, as well as CTU, have already donated to the committee pushing the amendment. They are among 20 unions who have together contributed nearly $5 million in support so far.

While proponents claim Amendment 1 is pro-worker, in reality it is anti-taxpayer. Illinoisans already pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation, but the amendment means the typical Illinois family will pay $2,149 more in higher property tax bills during the next four years.

Read more here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed 35 bills Friday, including measures impacting education, driving and public safety retirement.

Beginning Jan. 1, certain members of law enforcement can retire at the age 55 instead of 60.

Among the bills Pritzker signed Friday are measures that reduce the number of professional development hours for an educator license and allow a school district to waive the evaluation requirement of certain educators if they were rated “excellent” or “proficient” previously.

Another measure pertaining to schools prohibits districts from withholding a student’s grades, transcripts, or diploma because of an unpaid balance on school accounts.

Starting Jan. 1, a measure requires various state agencies to establish programs to receive reports from the public about possible self-harm, criminal acts or potential harm directed at school students, employees or schools.

Effective immediately is a measure that requires grocery stores or supermarkets to display both the regular price and discounted price of an item.

Several measures deal with driving. One measure starting Jan. 1, 2023, prohibits “street sideshows on any street or highway of the state.” A separate measure permits people with a suspended driver’s license due to failure to pay child support to obtain a school bus driver permit “under a new set of circumstances.”

Read more here.

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U.S. News and World Report released its 2022 Best High School rankings this week, and five Chicago schools were ranked in the top 100.

The publication ranked nearly 18,000 public high schools by assessing six factors based on their state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

Eleven Illinois high schools ranked in the top 300. They are:

  • Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago is ranked number one in Illinois and number five nationally
  • Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago is ranked number two in Illinois and number 31 nationally
  • Jones College Prep High School in Chicago is ranked number three in Illinois and number 51 nationally
  • Young Magnet High School in Chicago is ranked number four in Illinois and number 67 nationally
  • Lane Technical High School in Chicago is ranked number five in Illinois and number 84 nationally
  • Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park is ranked number six in Illinois and number 161 nationally
  • Adlai E Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire is ranked number seven in Illinois and number 167 nationally
  • Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills is ranked number eight in Illinois and number 238 nationally
  • Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale is ranked number nine in Illinois and number 277 nationally
  • New Trier Township High School Winnetka is ranked number 10 in Illinois and number 285 nationally
  • Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest is ranked number 11 in Illinois and number 292 nationally

Barrington High School ranked number 25 in Illinois and 610 nationally. Dundee-Crown High School ranked number 192 in Illinois and 5,612 nationally. The complete ranking is here.

Watch the FOX 32 Chicago report here.

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SAT Performance

SAT math scores dropped nearly 15%, and reading scores dropped 9% from 2019 to 2021 among Illinois high school juniors. Low-income and minority students saw bigger losses.

Illinois high school juniors saw greater declines in their standardized test scores from 2019 to 2021 compared to other school years, with math scores dropping nearly 15% and reading scores dropping 9%.

This drop in proficiency is higher compared to recent years, according to data released in December 2021 by the Illinois State Board of Education. Students’ SAT reading scores had dropped an average of nearly 4% from 2017 to 2019 while SAT math proficiency scores actually increased by 1.5% between 2018 and 2019 after a nearly 6% drop in the previous school year.

National data shows school closures had the biggest impact on the passing rates of low-income and minority students. Illinois saw the same trend – academic achievement between socioeconomic and demographic groups diverges, with low-income and minority students faring worse.

Among low-income high school juniors in 2021, under 16% scored at proficiency level in reading and fewer than 13% were proficient in math. This represents a nearly 15% and 25% overall proficiency decline since 2019 in each subject. Comparatively, proficiency scores in reading and math for higher-income juniors dropped around 11% and 16%, respectively.

Read more here.

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