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Few Illinois third-grade students can read at grade level. Even fewer low-income and minority students are at grade level in reading. Research shows this is a warning sign for Illinois students’ academic success and adult earning potential.

Hannah Schmid

Just over one-fourth of all third-grade students in Illinois can read at grade level. For low-income and minority students, reading proficiency is even worse.

A student’s “academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone’s reading skill at the end of third grade,” according to the National Research Council.

By this measure, the outlook for Illinois third-grade students is grim. Even more troubling is the outlook for Illinois students from low-income and minority families.

What’s at stake isn’t just poor grades on report cards in third grade, but what poor reading proficiency means for students’ futures. As noted in the research to follow, the poor rates of reading proficiency plaguing Illinois threaten to condemn a portion of the state’s future adults to poverty. The price will be paid not just by the children our education system fails but also by society at large.

Third-grade literacy in Illinois

Statewide in 2022, only 27.4% of all students could read at grade level by the end of third grade. A startling 89% of the 734 school districts for which the Illinois State Board of Education recorded proficiency rates among third graders had a higher percentage of third-grade students failing to read at grade level than reading at grade level. There were 12 school districts in which no third-grade students were proficient at reading.

Read more here.

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_kindy ._001

“At the Sept. 19 Board meeting, the Board heard a presentation about implementing full-day kindergarten in Barrington 220. Full-day kindergarten would extend core instruction (math, science, literacy, etc.) throughout the school day, and allow teachers time to encompass the whole child in exploration and personalized learning, as well as social-emotional development.

Currently, Barrington 220 offers a half-day option, however, the majority of students are enrolled in a fee-based Kindergarten Enrichment Program that runs a full day. One might assume that since the district currently accommodates the full-day Kindergarten Enrichment Program, it could easily accommodate full-day kindergarten. However, there are many factors to consider prior to implementing full-day kindergarten. For instance, over the past decade, there has been an enrollment increase each year of 40 to 60 students between kindergarten and first grade. Anecdotal evidence is that many of these students are attending private full-day programs, which leads to the assumption that a full-day program in the district will result in an increase in kindergarten enrollment. This would require an increase in staffing, as well as classroom space.

The district is currently reviewing options to renovate two or three classrooms at BHS to house a kindergarten lab program, or build classroom additions at elementary schools.

A final recommendation will be presented to the Board in October. Click here to listen to the Board presentation.”

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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:

  • Second Reading of Board Policy
  • Consideration to Approve 2023-24 Budget
  • Consideration to approve settlement in pending litigation filed against the District and various District employees in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois relating to a 2017 incident.
  • Safety and Security Update
  • Full-Day Kindergarten Update

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

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A pile of challenged books appear at the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 16, 2021. Attempted book bannings and restrictions at school and public libraries continue to surge, according to a new report from the American Library Association. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Officials from Illinois’ major political parties are making clear one issue they’ll be taking sides on heading into the 2024 election cycle.

Illinois still has a primary to get through in March. But, heading into November next year, things are expected to heat up. One issue Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias put in the national spotlight during testimony to a U.S. Senate committee this week was that of access to controversial books.

“Tragically, our libraries have become the thunder domes of controversy and strife across our nation, the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” Giannoulias said.

The Democratic statewide official promoted the Illinois measure he spearheaded to withhold taxpayer-funded grants to public and school libraries that he said “ban books.”

“This right to read legislation will help remove the pressure that librarians have tragically had to endure over the last couple of years,” he said.


Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias during a U.S. Senate committee hearing

Giannoulias was read obscene materials* some say should be allowed in school, which he acknowledged was offensive.

Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy said he was baffled by the Democrat’s position.

Read more here.

*Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana did not hold back during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee in which there was a hearing on so-called ‘book bans.’

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The books being made available to children in public schools and libraries was the topic of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, with an Illinois law thrust into the spotlight.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias testified before the committee to explain the legislation. Beginning next year, Illinois will withhold tax dollars from public libraries that limit what types of books are available.

“This legislation is important because both the concept and practice of banning books contradicts the very essence of what our country stands for and what our democracy was founded on,” Giannoulias said.

Republicans have taken issue with the definition of book bans adopted by Pen America, which said books being pulled off the shelves in schools for review constitutes a ban.

“This is not a ban. This is about schools deciding what’s appropriate for school children, and sexually explicit and obscene, pornographic material isn’t appropriate,” U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said.

The hearing took a racy turn when U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, read passages from a couple books, including a profane paragraph from “Gender Queer,” which has appeared on Pen America’s banned book list.

“No one is advocating for sexually explicit content to be available in an elementary school library or in the children’s section of the library,” said committee chair U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. “That is a distraction from the real challenge.”

Read more and view the video here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Topics on their agenda include:

  • Indoor Arena Window Proposal
  • Adopt A Policy To Authorize Electronic Attendance At Board Meetings For Commissioners And The Public
  • Maintenance: Remove Buckthorn Next To Front Dumpster, and
  • Portable Ice Skating Rink

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Advisory Committee meets tomorrow evening at 7 PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • Grounds / Landscaping Committee
  • Motorized vehicles in Forest Preserve
  • Additional clear-view windows to be added to the indoor arena for winter
  • Dust-free driveway and parking lot solution

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and remotely via Zoom at 7:00 PM. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found  here.

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220 50

Celebrate Barrington 220’s 50th Anniversary!

“During the 2023-24 school year, Barrington 220 will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. On August 18, 1973, the community voted to combine three area school districts, Districts 1, 4, and 224, officially forming a single school district for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

The consolidation was more than a century in the making. Education in the Barrington area began with a series of one-room schoolhouses. As the population grew, the schoolhouses closed to make way for larger districts, until 1973 when only three districts remained.

Fifty years later, the Barrington 220 School District spans 72 square miles and is geographically located in four counties: Cook, Lake, McHenry, and Kane. The district serves approximately 8,200 students across one high school, two middle school campuses for grades 6-8, eight elementary schools, one early childhood center, and a transition center for special education students who are 18-22 years old.

The district invites local businesses to help us celebrate this important anniversary! If you plan to participate, please fill out this form so that we can include you on our 50th anniversary webpage!

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Empty Chambers Springfield

Unions are major political players in Illinois, contributing almost $133 million to lawmakers and then advocating for their preferred policies at the Statehouse.

About one-third of that comes from teachers unions, which frequently take stances that run counter to what parents in the state may want for their children. Teachers unions oppose donor scholarships for low-income children to attend the schools of their choice and lobby against funding for resource officers to keep kids safe in school.

Since 2010, teachers unions have contributed more than $45 million to current lawmakers’ political committees, according to records with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Of the Illinois General Assembly’s 177 members, 142 of them – more than 4 out of every 5 – have received money from teachers unions.

The Chicago Teachers Union alone has funneled nearly $3 million to current lawmakers.

Teachers unions then lobby those lawmakers on their chosen policies and political agendas. For example, CTU logged support or opposition over 1,360 times on at least 480 bills between 2011-2022, according to data obtained by the Illinois Policy Institute from the Illinois General Assembly.

Political contributions and lobbying give teachers unions a one-two political punch that gives them a big advantage over parents and other residents in the state, who may have different ideas on what’s best for kids.

Read more here.

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