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Education and Family

Teacher Unions Hail ESSA

Dec 11, 2015

Illinois Teachers Union leaders are hailing the replacement for the No Child Left Behind Law. The new law, referred to as ESSA, passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Cinda Klickna, president of Illinois Education Association, says teachers are relieved that ESSA allows schools to be judged by a broader measures.

She says ESSA also gives states more flexibility in setting standards for student achievement.

Educators also appreciate the flexibility it provides to states.

President Obama has signed the measure into law.

University of Illinois has formed a committee to build the core curriculum of its new engineering-based medical school at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The university has announced the committee will be led by co-chairs Dr. Robert Good and Professor Rashid Bashir. Good is the senior associate medical director of population health at Carle Health System. Bashir heads the department of bioengineering at University of Illinois.  

Illinois State University

Illinois State University has named a new Dean for the College of Business. He is Ajay Samant who is currently a professor of finance and former Dean at the Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida. ISU Provost Janet Krejci says Samant's previous accomplishments include fundraising, program development, accreditation, and administration of international programs. Samant also formed the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at North Florida. He has also taught and served in administration at Western Michigan University.

The Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation is donating $20,000 to the Tri-County Operation Cool. That program focuses on teens to increase seat belt usage in nineteen schools with about 10,000 students in McLean, Dewitt, and Livingston Counties. It also emphasizes sober driving and school enrollment.

Clotee Allochuku / Flickr

The Bloomington-Normal chapter of Not In Our Town is taking aim at bullying, discrimination and hate talk in the public schools. The group, which promotes racial and cultural understanding, is launching Not In Our Schools with a series of training sessions for students at the high school and junior high levels. Camille Taylor, a retired educator and one of the coordinators, says Not In Our Town's wants to train student leaders who can tackle common social problems in the schools.

Beyond My Ken / Creative Commons

The University of Illinois has committed nearly $5 million to build a new African-American Cultural Center at its Champaign-Urbana campus. Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson talked about the project in an end-of-semester message. The cultural center has been using temporary quarters since its original home had to close for safety reasons last year. The new Bruce D. Nesbitt African-American Cultural Center is scheduled to open by 2018. A site selection committee is evaluating possible locations and will make a recommendation to the chancellor's capital review committee.

Catholic Church Annulments Changing

Dec 8, 2015
The Catholic Post / Peoria, IL

Catholics will find it easier to seek a marriage annulment, as changes to the process announced by Pope Francis in September go into effect this week. The additional process will make it easier for practicing Catholics who divorce their first spouses to remarry in the church. 

Jim Browne / WGLT

A Bloomington man whose preparedness and rapid response likely saved a neighbor's life, is honored by the Fire Department. On Thanksgiving day, David Cummings was able to use his personal fire extinguisher to put out a fire at the apartment next door at Woodhill towers. Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr says Cummings actions that day deserve recognition.

Tony Faiola / Flickr

About half the people involved in the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino escaped the situation without physical injury even though they were boxed in when the two shooters came into the room. The horrific scenario raises the question what people should do if they are confronted with a hostile someone wielding a gun or other weapon. WGLT's Charlie Schlenker took up the issue of best practices with Curt Richardson, the safety director for Unit Five Schools. Richardson says the recommended responses to emergency situations have changed in the last decade.

Matt Hickman

The phrase "prayer shaming" entered the lexicon of many last week as the New York Daily News called out politicians in a position to do something about gun violence once again offering their "thoughts and prayers." WGLT's Mike McCurdy talks with Mennonite Church of Normal pastor Matt Hickman about the intersection of prayer and action.

Community Colleges Struggling

Nov 30, 2015

As the state enters its sixth month without a budget, community colleges are facing a dim prospect. Tom Ramage, president of Parkland College, says the gridlock could mean zero state revenue for this fiscal year.

Higher education is a difficult industry right now. That's according to new Illinois Wesleyan University President Eric Jensen. Many colleges have gone for years without worker pay raises. Jensen tells GLT costs have been pared down ruthlessly and an equilibrium is still developing.

Jensen says he is optimistic about IWU and says it remains a gem.

Jensen says IWU is in a strong position to define itself in a way that other liberal arts colleges may not be able to. He says that will have economic consequences.

 

The University of Illinois took an unusual step this year to increase its in-state enrollment, accepting students with lower entrance-exam scores to enroll while increasing financial aid by several million dollars.  
The moves worked. In-state enrollment jumped by 11 percent, to 5,490 from 4,927 a year earlier. The average ACT score for freshmen dropped by less than a point for in-state students at the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus.  

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."

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