Education and Family | WGLT

Education and Family

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.

New Ratings For Illinois Students

Oct 5, 2015
Deutsche welle

Schools and school districts across Illinois will be subject to a rating system that was recently signed into law and is scheduled to launch this school year. The system will grade the schools and districts much like students taking a traditional classroom test are graded, on a 100-point scale with labels ranging from "exemplar" to "unsatisfactory." 30 percent of a school or district's score will depend on student achievement and academic progress. That will include state exam scores and graduation rates.

Lincoln College in Normal is losing several certificate and bachelors programs as the institution reorganizes with more programs moving to the Lincoln campus. It's part of what President David Gerlach calls a $7.6 million reinvestment campaign for the 150 year old school.

Lincoln College will stop offering Esthetics, Cosmetology, teacher training, and massage therapy certifications in Normal. Degree programs in Criminal Justice, Business, and Sports Management will move from Normal to Lincoln. Four jobs will also move and the college has eliminated 13 jobs.

IL Wins $42 million Charter Schools Grant

Oct 1, 2015

Illinois has won a federal grant to open scores of new charter schools. As IPR Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes reports, it’s worth more than $42 million.

EIU President David Glassman says layoffs and furloughs have helped the school cut its budget deficit from $13 million to $1 million. Glassman said during his state of the university address that the cost-cutting isn't over but any additional layoffs would be small. EIU doesn't have a state appropriation because GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Illinois Legislature haven't settled on a state budget for the current fiscal year.

MacArthur Foundation

An Illinois Wesleyan University graduate is among this year's MacArthur "genius" award recipients. One of the $625,000 fellowships goes to Juan Salgado. He's a community organizer in Chicago who runs the Instituto del Progreso Latino. That group tries to boost English language skills for Latinos to make upward mobility easier, particularly in healthcare and manufacturing. Salgado says urban development to him means growing human talent, not bricks and mortar.

SIU Details Budget Cuts

Sep 28, 2015

Southern Illinois University officials have detailed $13.5 million in budget cuts, saying they will affect student-worker positions, research resources and on-campus events. The cuts affect a large cross-section of university departments. SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith says the cuts were unavoidable because of a state budget stalemate and a funding reduction for the school because of lower enrollment this year.  

Jose Marti: Why He Matters

Sep 28, 2015
University of Texas Press

One of the most influential men in the western hemisphere is poorly understood by many, including those who grew up in his shadows. WGLT's Jim Browne talks an author (Alfred Lopez), who's finally written a biography of the contemporary of Abraham Lincoln.

Alfred Lopez' appearance was facilitated by Illinois State University's Latin American and Latino/Latina studies program

Hugs Of Hope At NIU Campus

Sep 23, 2015

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. IPR's Jenna Dooley reports on a small effort by college students to reach out to those who may be struggling.

Smiling faces greet rushed students at Northern Illinois University’s MLK Commons.

"If someone doesn’t want to get a free hug, that's okay, just tell them to have a wonderful day and move on to the next person who maybe does want one. We are also giving out high-fives, not everyone likes hugs."

Elgin Schools Evacuate After Legionella Found

Sep 23, 2015

Officials in Elgin say about 2,900 students were evacuated after higher-than-normal levels of Legionella bacteria were found in cooling towers at three schools. School District U-46 spokeswoman Mary Fergus says the levels were found during annual air quality testing of the schools' cooling towers. She says no students were ill. Students were dismissed home or taken to Bartlett High school or Elgin High School to be picked up by parents.

Trustees of a suburban Chicago college have voted to void the contract of its embattled president about a month after beginning the process of firing him. College of DuPage trustees voted 4-3 Thursday night to void Robert Breuder's contract. He's on paid administrative leave and is set to retire in March. Board of Trustees attorney Timothy Elliott says the board contends that it now doesn't have to give Breuder a severance deal worth $763,000 after voiding his contract. The severance deal ends his tenure three years early, and law enforcement is investigating the deal and other issues.

Among the many political battles that have raged in Springfield since the election of Governor Bruce Rauner, one difficult battle has fallen off the radar. The fight for a new school funding formula has been pushed to the wayside as the state operates without a budget for a third month, and Springfield's top politicians talk over each other. But US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Illinois would be better off overhauling the formula sooner rather than later:

The head of the Bloomington Library Board says the library will create six new bookmobile stops west of Veterans Parkway. The move partly addresses a flap caused by a lack of west side bookmobile service.

"The staff is concerned about any population feeling that they are not being given the services they are entitled to."

Carol Koos says to start they will be using locations of several discontinued stops that were shut down for lack of use.   

Preliminary results from new statewide tests based on the Common Core educational standards show that the vast majority of Illinois high school students fell short of grade-level expectations. Only three in 10 of the high schoolers who took the online version of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam in the spring met or exceeded expectations in English language arts and literacy. Less than one in five high schoolers met or exceeded expectations on the exam's math portion.

Faculty members at the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana aren't happy with a policy instituting background checks that starts early next month. The Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus, a group of about 200 faculty members, will vote next week on a resolution that would delay that start date. The resolution says the policy doesn't meet American Association of University Professors standards and isn't mentioned in all job postings. The board of trustees approved the policy last week.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

In a month and a half, the new Illinois Wesleyan University President will take office. Eric Jensen is the current Provost at Hamline University in Saint Paul Minnesota. Just after the announcement of the presidency happened at IWU, Charlie Schlenker talked with Jensen about his vision of higher education, hopes for IWU in Bloomington and why he wanted the job.

WGLT

The next president of Illinois Wesleyan University will be Eric Jensen. Jensen is currently the the Provost of Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Hamline has nearly 5,000 students in its liberal arts, business, and education programs. It also has a law school. Jensen has also taught economics and overseen a policy program at William and Mary, the nation's second oldest University.

Illinois Wesleyan University is getting set to name its next President. The school in Bloomington has announced a news conference Monday to unveil the selection to replace Richard Wilson. The search has been ongoing since Wilson announced in December of last year that he would retire when a successor was named.

NIU Enrollment Down, Retention Up

Sep 10, 2015

The number of students enrolled at Northern Illinois University has dipped slightly, but retention rates are improving. The university reported an enrollment of 20,130 students, a decrease of about 2.3 percent from last year. NIU President Doug Baker says: "We are not where we want to be, but there are encouraging signs of progress." The one-year retention rate for last year's freshmen increased 1 percentage point, to 72 percent. Baker says the university also has been recruiting higher-achieving students.

District 87

Population loss, economic activity, property values are all elements of the Bloomington Normal community that will change with the looming closure of the Mitsubishi Auto Plant. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with District 87 School Superintendent Barry Reilly about how he is assessing those variables.

Hear Bloomington Schools Superintendent Barry Reilly talk about the implementation of the high speed wi-fi initiative for low income children in District 87.

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