Posted by Paul Baker on January 19, 2017
AURORA, Ill. — Advance Illinois, an independent advocacy group for public education, released its fifth biennial report on the state’s public education system last November, stating that low-income students lag far behind academically than their wealthier peers in K-12 schools and are less likely to complete a postsecondary degree.
“Every Student Counts: The State We’re In 2016-2017” goes on to say that this discrepancy threatens a statewide goal of ensuring that 60 percent of all Illinois adults will hold a postsecondary degree or credential by the year 2025. Currently only 50 percent of the state’s adults meet that goal.
According to the report, Illinois now has in place many of the building blocks needed to bridge the performance gap between rich and poor — rigorous learning standards and assessments aligned to those standards, for example — but lacks an equitable funding system needed to achieve it.
“The terrible spread of concentrated poverty throughout Illinois exacerbates challenges for our education system,” said Ginger Ostro, executive director of Advance Illinois. “Our elementary performance shows some of the largest income-based disparities in the nation.”
She also noted that demographic changes in the state have complicated classroom efforts as well. Currently 43 percent of all Illinois school districts have a majority of students from low-income families, up from just 13 percent a decade ago.
The report cites a similar uptick in the number of Illinois students for whom English is not a native language. More than 10 percent of the state’s students are now considered English learners.
As part of its ongoing Town Square Series, Aurora University will host a panel featuring experts in the field of education to discuss the report’s findings, implications and recommendations for Illinois education on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The event is free and open to the public.
What: “Advance Illinois: Every Student Counts — The State We’re In 2016–2017”
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Crimi Auditorium, 1347 Prairie St., Aurora, Illinois (in the Institute for Collaboration building on the AU campus)
For more information and to register, please visit auartsandideas.com.