Education and Family

A federal mediator is meeting for a second time with Heartland Community College faculty union negotiators and the administration. The Union has already authorized a strike as early as next Friday. A five year contract expired at the end of June and the two sides remain far apart on pay and benefit issues, particularly the cost of healthcare. Heartland Trustees will meet Monday to discuss the walkout possibility.
 

Staff / WGLT

November 20  Illinois State University Environmental Health and Safety opened the package and discovered documents, according to ISU spokesperson Eric Jome. He says the suspicion regarding the parcel was based on a misunderstanding about the origin and intent of the package.

November 19, 7:38 PM The package has been turned over to ISU's Environmental Health and Safety Office. Jome says staff with office will open the package in a controlled environment tomorrow. Jome says he doesn't know which professor received the package or where it originated.

Some Child Care Cuts Rolled Back

Nov 18, 2015

Thousands of families who lost access to state-subsidized child care this summer are once again eligible. Governor Bruce Rauner in July drastically rolled back the program ... which helps low-income working parents afford daycare. Legislators were set to reverse the cuts last week ... but instead Rauner agreed to a deal. Action yesterday by a bipartisan panel puts that plan into action. Senator Toi Hutchinson, a Democrat from Chicago Heights, helped to negotiate with the governor.

The director of the Bloomington Public Library has announced her retirement. Georgia Bouda's last day in the office will be December 4. Her official retirement will be this January 8. She had previously served as Library Director in Pewaukee Wis. Bouda was hired in 2006 during a $2.8 million expansion project at the library. During Bouda’s time in Bloomington, the library’s circulation has nearly doubled. She was also involved in designing and purchasing the library’s new Bookmobile which rolled out this spring.

Jim Browne / WGLT

Eureka College has it's first female president, and it's first chancellor. Current president J. David Arnold will step into the role of chancellor as he begins a semi-retirement.

unknown / JalopyJournal

The Bloomington Bookmobile is adding six stops to it's schedule for residents in the old east side, and west Bloomington. Two of them, at Miller Park and Raymond School are new, the other four are stops that received luke warm response in the past.

An education activist visiting Illinois State University says children receiving a poor education are having their civil rights violated.  Dr. Pedro Noguera is a distinguished professor of Education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.  He is also a sociologist whose research is focused on how schools are influenced by social and economic factors.  GLT's Jon Norton talked with Noguera via Skype to talk about his research, and how his morality factors into his lifelong passion of ensuring equal access to education for all children.  Norton started by quoting a sentence from his recent book "Excellence Through Equity."

The lack of a state budget is putting stresses on Illinois' public universities that still aren't receiving money from the state. Larger schools such as the University of Illinois are faring better than smaller schools where enrollment has fallen, or fundraising is harder. Those schools have seen layoffs and furloughs, funding cut for athletics, and cash reserves raided. Alan Phillips, chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University, says it would be ``very difficult'' to get through a full year without state funding.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Mitsubishi Plant in Normal is preparing to close, but the company says it still wants to remain a part of the Bloomington Normal Community. The Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation is redirecting its efforts from a national focus to concentrating on charitable works in the twin cities.

Ryan Gremore of the O'Brien Mitsubishi Dealership has announced a nearly $53,000 scholarship gift to Heartland Community College benefiting five graduates each from Bloomington, Normal Community, and Normal West High Schools for five years.

www.tedxnormal.com

The theme of this Saturday's TEDx speaker series in Normal is "Anything But Normal." During an interview with WGLT's Charlie Schlenker, Ken Myszka says a "normal" chef wakes up and goes to the restaurant, works with staff, purveyors, unpacks food out of boxes and so on.

Young people have a lot of energy and a lot of ideas. But, sometimes that can create problems as well as solving them. Today in our series of interviews leading up to the TEDx conference in Normal, we address the idea of empowering young people to get stuff done with the head of the Action Research Center at Illinois Wesleyan University. In this conversation with Charlie Schlenker, Deborah Halperin says to help focus that energy, adults need to create a structure for youth to scaffold their efforts.

We've all heard it over and over. Think outside the box. Take it to the next level. But, when you do that, often it turns out there's no there, there. All this week GLT is talking with speakers at the upcoming TEDx event in Normal. Alex Bruton calls himself "the innographer"--someone who can teach innovation.

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis wants to give employers a hand in helping to pay off student loan debt for the recent college graduates they hire. The Taylorville Republican introduced a bill in the House this week that will let those employers offer a tax-free benefit of just over 5-thousand dollars to attract new hires --- and also help current workers with continuing education. Davis says current student loan re-payment programs are unfair.

Gov Says He'll Fix Education

Nov 2, 2015

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says his administration is working on "big reforms on education" ... but they're still being formulated. Other matters --- like redistricting, a property tax freeze, and lifting unions' ability to bargain – have so far topped his agenda. Rauner says his education plans will be announced in coming months.

The ones who change the world are the ones brave enough to question it. That's the title of one of the speeches in the upcoming TEDx conference in Normal. All this week, GLT is hearing from TEDx speakers as they talk about disrupting the status quo to "Break Free From Normal."

ISU Senior Shares Her Success Story

Oct 31, 2015
Brooke Hausmann

Among the students graduating this year is a woman who was told college was "not for her." Brooke Hausmann is a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Major in the College of Education at Illinois State University. She has faced challenges from an auditory processing disorder and becoming hard of hearing. With the help of professors and students, she was able to succeed where others thought she would fail. WGLT's Michael Hill talks with Brooke to hear her story.

Illinois' public universities have gone without state support during the nearly five months legislators and the governor have been caught in gridlock. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports on how that's creating a double fiscal whammy.

Raising A Glass For Exchange Program

Oct 26, 2015
Vladimir/Canterbury Sister City Association of Bloomington-Normal

A vodka tasting event is planned for Thursday to raise money for the Vladimir-Canterbury sister cities program. Dave Thomas of Illinois State University's school of Kinesiology and Recreation says there will be light snacks available to help keep the palate clean. He says they will also have experts on hand to discuss the vodkas available.

False Memories Common

Oct 24, 2015
Emily Kneeter / Flickr via Creative Commons

Police reliance on eye witness accounts should be balanced against evidence of the prevalence of  false memories. Illinois State University Psychology professor Dawn McBride is speaking about false memories as part of the university's Main Street College events at the Alumni Center Monday evening at 7.

Illinois State University Trustees will take up a budget resolution forecasting at least a ten percent cut in state funding next fiscal year. That is on top of whatever reductions come in the current year budget now deadlocked in Springfield. Jay Groves is an ISU spokesman.

Schools in Illinois’ neediest districts including Peoria 150 are being forced to spend federal funds to prop up the state’s Teacher Retirement System.  Public schools that serve a significant number of low-income students receive federal Title One grants, earmarked for initiatives to close the achievement gap. If a school uses those funds to hire certified teachers, the school has to pay into that teacher’s retirement account.   

Jessica Handy, government affairs director with Stand for Children Illinois, says this cost Springfield schools more than 1.7 million dollars last year.

State records show that the former Illinois education superintendent left the position earlier this year with nearly $207,000 in severance and unused vacation payments. A public records request shows Christopher Koch received $89,000 in severance and $118,0 for 138.5 unused vacation days. Records also show that several dozen other Illinois State Board of Education staffers who left the agency also received cash bonuses and unused vacation payments.  

Indiana University

Bradley University's new President is a respected legal scholar, attorney, and graduate of the Peoria school. Gary Roberts is currently Dean Emeritus and a law school professor at Indiana University. He is an expert on anti trust and sports law.

Bradley Trustees Chair Dout Stewart says Roberts is a forward thinking, innovative, and proven leader. Roberts replaces Joanne Glasser, who retired earlier this year.

Roberts will take over January first from interim President Stan Liberty.

Salaita’s Hope Of Teaching At U Of I Continues

Oct 15, 2015
Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Steven Salaita was back on the U of I campus this week for the first time in a year. He’s teaching now at the American University of Beirut. But he says he’d rather be teaching at the University of Illinois.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Some officials at public universities in Illinois are at least floating the idea of taking legal action against the governor and the Illinois legislature over the absence of a state budget. During an appearance on GLT's Sound Ideas, Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said it's not likely that will happen, but admitted some educators are considering going to court.

Peoria Man Arrested In Teen Murder

Oct 13, 2015

A Peoria man's been arrested and charged in the Saturday murder of a 14 year old football player.

Dietz Says Budget Cuts Could Be "Devastating"

Oct 8, 2015
Michael Hill / WGLT

The budget stalemate in Springfield is continuing to affect Illinois State University. The public institution is preparing for a revenue cut from the state, which could be as much as 31.5 percent. ISU President Larry Dietz says the highest proposed cut would be detrimental to the university. 

School district officials in Urbana have decided to lift a requirement for prospective student tutors or supervised volunteers to undergo fingerprint background checks. The Urbana school board voted unanimously to update its volunteer background screening policy to mirror rules in Champaign and other nearby school districts. Only volunteers who have unsupervised contact with students and all new employees will be subject to fingerprint background checks. The district has paid $50 per fingerprint background check for every volunteer since 2008.

Leaders of several state universities and community colleges are sounding the alarm as they begin month three of receiving no money from Illinois. State support for Illinois’ 12 public universities and its 49 community colleges is the largest part of the state government that isn’t being funded during Springfield’s budget impasse.

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