June 2021 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, the CPS universal pre-K program has resulted in an enrollment drop for private day care centers. District 207 recently approved additional “performance goals compensation” for the superintendent after meeting a series of annual goals approved by the board. A new PE course at Quincy High School will focus on leadership and character skills, in addition to physical fitness. A former Belleville district superintendent will take over as chief financial officer for East St. Louis District 189. Also in the News, educators are asking for details from the state of what regulations will be in place for the start of school in the fall.
Chicago Public Schools’ universal pre-K ‘strangling’ private day care centers, owners say
Clare Proctor, Chicago Tribune, June 28

District 207 school board approves $26,000 in merit pay for superintendent, new contract for business administrator
Jennifer Johnson, Pioneer Press, June 28

New QHS class will focus on sports, leadership
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 26

After retiring amid COVID, former Belleville superintendent wanted to get back to school
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, June 27

Frustrated educators demand state’s fall COVID-19 plans for Illinois schools
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 16
In today’s Leading News, with full school reopening expected in the fall, some schools will continue to offer virtual learning options for medically vulnerable students. CPS has unveiled their two-year pandemic recovery plan funded by federal relief dollars. District 25 has extended a contract for their superintendent for at least three more years. After initial delays, Champaign’s new International Prep Academy facility is on track to be completed by next summer. Also in the News, Bloomington District 87 says critical race theory is not part of the school’s current curriculum.
With Illinois schools fully reopening in the fall, Chicago Public Schools and some suburban districts will offer distance learning for kids at risk of COVID-19 exposure
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 25
CPS unveils pandemic recovery plan funded by half-billion in federal relief money
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 16

After contentious reopening debate, District 25 schools boss gets contract extension
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 17

After unexpected delay, new IPA still expected to be finished next summer
Anthony Zilis, News-Gazette, Champaign, June 24

District 87, Unit 5 educators say critical race theory isn't in the curriculum
Lenore Sobota and Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, June 27

In today's Leading News, two CPS employees are challenging the contracts that required them to pay fair share union dues. A bill to assist immigrant college students by creating a new scholarship and requiring colleges to employ an undocumented student resource liaison is awaiting action by the governor. Lawmakers that sponsored a bill to create an elected school board for CPS met with the Chicago mayor last week. Quincy schools are launching a family engagement pilot program. Credit rating agencies have upgraded the state's credit outlook from negative to positive.

Chicago Public Schools employees ask U.S. Supreme Court to hear challenge to union dues
Sarah Mansur, Capitol News Illinois/State Journal-Register, Springfield, June 25

State bill and new scholarship provide more support for immigrant students in Illinois
Stephanie Casanova, Chicago Tribune, June 28

Lightfoot, lawmakers hold ‘robust’ but ‘cordial’ meeting on elected school board bill Pritzker is on verge of signing
Rachel Hinton, Chicago Sun-Times, June 24

QPS pilot program for 21-22 hopes to connect schools and families
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 27

Fitch upgrades Illinois' credit outlook to 'positive’
Peter Hancock, Capitol News Illinois/The Daily Herald, June 24

In today’s Leading News, a decline in routine childhood vaccinations during the pandemic could pose a problem during the 2021-2022 school year. CPS has a plan to re-engage students that were not well-served by a year of virtual learning. Decatur School District and Bloomington District 87 announce a return to normal school days starting in August, while Quincy schools will return to in-person classes with a more detailed plan to be presented in July.
As childhood vaccinations plummet across the US during pandemic, Illinois public health officials warn of possible outbreaks in the coming school year
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 23

CPS looks to re-engage students this summer with search on for next CEO
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 23

Decatur School District planning normal class schedule this fall
Herald & Review, Decatur, June 23

District 87 announces back-to-school date
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, June 23

QPS plans "tactical pause" in 21-22 planning
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 23
In today’s Leading News, opposition builds to ISBE’s proposal to increase the number of standardized tests. A CPS program to give free high-speed internet to students will expand to graduates that move on to City Colleges. One Illinois high school has turned a farm into a classroom. Kewanee District 299 recently approved a facility expansion project, while a number of Alton schools will be getting new marquees.

Parents slam state board’s proposal to triple number of annual standardized assessments for students: ‘We must keep testing at the absolute minimum’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 22

Lightfoot expands year-old program aimed at bridging digital divide
Fran Spielman and Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 22

Farm providing lessons to Greenfield high school students
Ben Szalinski, Dispatch-Argus, June 19

Dist. 229 to create more space with storage addition, welding expansion
Mike Helenthal, Star Courier, Kewanee, June 22

Alton schools getting new marquees
Dylan Suttles, The Telegraph, Alton, June 22
In today’s Leading News, Chicago Public Schools is going in a new direction managing their facilities. Legislation that would require 30 minutes of recess for elementary students awaits a decision from the governor. United CUSD 304 recently hosted a budget hearing. Springfield District 186 recently approved a contract for a variety of employees. As CPS closes out the school year, students, staff, and parents look back on a year of uncertainty.

CPS to take over facilities management after years of filthy school complaints
Nader Issa, Chicago Tribune, June 21

Lawmakers OK mandatory 30-minute elementary school recess
Zeta Cross, The Center Square/Alton Telegraph, June 21

United board adopts $14.6M budget; Principals report on summer school program
Sheila Pressley, Register-Mail, Galesburg, June 21

Springfield School District 186 union employees will see raises after board approves contract
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, June 22
A strange and challenging year of pandemic learning is almost over as CPS breaks for summer: ‘I don’t take things for granted anymore.’
Elyssa Cherney and Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, June 21
In today’s Leading News, see how one suburban Chicago high school district will launch a new Black history program. Parents have questions about mask wearing in school facilities for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Palantine-Schaumburg District 211 recently adopted an educational equity plan. Also in the news, hear what it was like to student teach during a pandemic.

As Juneteenth becomes a federal holiday, one suburban Chicago high school district is slated to educate students about Black history with a world view
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 18
As COVID-19 rates dip, some parents demand that masks be optional for students next fall
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 18

Masks for how long? District 87, Unit 5 outline next steps
Lenore Sobota and Kelsey Watznauer, the Pantagraph, Bloomington, June 19

District 211 adopts plan to improve educational equity
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago Suburbs, June 21

Student teaching a different experience for Millikin senior during pandemic
Valerie Wells, Herald & Review, Decatur, June 20
In today’s Leading News, a look at the hundreds of bills awaiting action from the governor, including legislation on Asian American history and an elected school board for Chicago. Also in the news, will public school enrollment rebound after dropping during the pandemic.
More than 660 bills will head to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker for his consideration
Jerry Nowicki, Capitol News Illinois/State Journal-Register, June 19

Illinois elementary, high school students to learn about Asian American history under measure awaiting governor’s signature
Maggie Prosser, Chicago Tribune, June 21

Legislators, students push for K-12 Asian American studies
Annie Ma, AP/Belleville News-Democrat, June 9

After enrollment dips, public schools hope for fall rebound
Kalyn Belsha and Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee of Chalkbeat and Annie Ma and Larry Fenn, AP/Chicago Sun-Times, June 16
In today’s Leading News, the Illinois House passed a bill to create a 21-seat school board for CPS, including 10 elected members. A sweeping plan announced by the  Illinois Board of Higher Education addresses funding, graduation rates for low-income and diverse student populations, and equity. Also in the news, learn about Juneteenth, commemorating the day (June 19, 1865) that slaves in Texas learned of their freedom, more than two years after the President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. There are efforts at local, state, and national levels to make Juneteenth a holiday.
Fully elected Chicago school board gets final thumbs up from Illinois House in ‘long-awaited first step’
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 16
Once-in-a-decade plan aims to tackle equity gaps and reverse ‘financial trauma’ at Illinois colleges and universities
Elyssa Cherney via the Decatur Herald and Review, June 15
Senate approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States
Kevin Freking, Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, June 15
Juneteenth becomes official state holiday
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 1
Companies Making Juneteenth A Paid Holiday Say It's The Right Thing To Do
Marisa Penaloza, National Public Radio, June 16
In today’s Leading News, Chicago Public Schools will have an interim CEO. School districts continue to seek answers to coronavirus questions. Also in the news, local and national conversations are underway about Critical Race Theory in K-12 education: What it is and is not.
Who is José Torres, the new interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools?
Sarah Freishtat, Chicago Tribune, June 14
Schools await further guidance for post-COVID school year
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, June 13
Critical Race Theory: These states are already cracking down on the controversial concept
Michael Ruiz, Fox News, June 13
Critical race theory battle invades school boards — with help from conservative groups
Tyler Kingkade, Brandy Zadrozny, and Ben Collins, NBC News, June 15
What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?
Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, May 18
In today’s Leading News, a Kinnikinnick CCSD 131 facility was used as an evacuation center after a chemical plant explosion in Rockton. Also in the news, read about other school health, safety, and acility updates in Illinois districts.
Massive chemical fire at Chemtool in Rockton could burn for days
Chris Green, Rockford Register Star, June 14
District 87's Food Services Staff Gets Shoutout For Their Pandemic Pivot
Michele Steinbacher, WGLT, Normal, May 27
Alton getting $1.3M for Safer Routes to School
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, June 10
Galesburg High School power delay pushes start date discussion for D205
June Carlson, Galesburg Register-Mail, June 10
School Board clears way for junior high elevator repairs
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 11
In today’s Leading News, there is renewed conversation about standardized testing in Illinois. Also in the news, Critical Race Theory appears to be the next “major cultural battle.”
Ill. Teacher Unions, Education Advocacy Groups Urge State To Not Add More Standardized Tests
Derek Cantù, NPR Illinois, Springfield, June 11
More standardized tests in Illinois schools? Vote delayed as educators raise alarms: ‘Our students and teachers are exhausted’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 10
The Brewing Political Battle Over Critical Race Theory
Barbara Sprint, Morning Edition, NPR, June 2
Tensions Run High During Public Comments At District 87 Board Meeting
Samira Kassem, WGLT, Bloomington, June 9
Teachers Wary of New Laws Limiting Instruction on Race
Associated Press/Alton Telegraph, June 12
In today’s Leading News, it’s re-opening day in Illinois.
Ready or not, Illinois is reopening on Friday
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 10
State issues guidelines for June 11 re-opening
Ron DeBrock, Alton Telegraph, June 4
Illinois face mask rules: Where masks are still required in IL
ABC7 Chicago, June 10
Coles County businesses, teams welcome return of state track meet, easing of COVID restrictions
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, June 10
Family trip to state: 3 sisters, cousin make up Henry-Midland state-qualifying relay
Kevin Chlum, LaSalle News-Tribune, June 9
In today’s Leading News, school districts keep up with coronavirus with testing, relief funds, Advance Placement adjustments and accommodations, summer meals, and vaccinations.
Illinois Department of Public Health expands COVID-19 testing to elementary schools
Shaw Local, Northern Illinois, June 9
A piece of an $8 billion pie: Groups that run kids’ after-school programs don’t want to be left out of districts’ COVID-19 relief windfall
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 1
AP tests in area high schools are a mix of paper and digital tests in school and at home
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press, The Doings, LaGrange, May 25
Carthage school district plans summer meals program
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 26
Schools try pep-rally tactics to get students vaccinated
Associated Press/Chicago Sun-Times, May 25
In today’s Leading News, teachers in Chicago’s Urban Prep Academies are on strike. The annual convention of the FFA is taking place across the state. Proposed changes to the math curriculum raise questions in Hinsdale HSD 86. Liberty CUSD 2 wins a journalism grant.  Also in the news. Coal City CUSD 1 adds ASL to the curriculum.
Urban Prep teachers on strike over pay, lack of special education resources
Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, June 7
'Celebrating our members' — Agriculture students gather for FFA convention at SIU
Les O’Dell, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, June 7
A Clash Over Math Plan In Hinsdale D-86
David Giuliani, Hinsdale Patch, Jun 3
Liberty High, other Illinois schools, receive grants for journalism
Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 4
Coal City School Board Adds American Sign Language to Foreign Language Program
WSPY, Plano, June 5
In today’s Leading News, read analysis of the bill promoting an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools. Springfield SD 186 builds for accessibility in a classic school building, while Moline/Coal Valley SD 40 looks at long-range facilities needs. Decatur SD 61 aims for improved transparency. Also in the news, Bourbonnais addresses scheduling.
Elected CPS board ‘supposed to be about democracy,’ but that’s ‘not what happened’ in Springfield, Lightfoot says
Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, June 2
Rising to the top: Accessibility to be addressed at Dubois, district's oldest building
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, June 1
Committee: ‘Phase out’ four schools in Moline-Coal Valley district
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 24
Decatur school board vows more transparency
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, May 26
Bourbonnais schools working out scheduling issues
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, May 26
In today’s Leading News, heading toward the state’s “full reopening,” school districts manage summer work, vaccination programs, and plans for the fall.
Pritzker Issues Guidelines Ahead of Full Reopening
Kristen Thometz, WTTW, Chicago, June 4
Summer school? Parents and teachers are just saying no, despite COVID-19 learning loss and federal relief funds to pay for it.
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, June 7
As the year wraps up, schools in southwest IL are helping students get vaccinated
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, May 31
U-46 to set up online learning ‘academy’ for students who are not vaccinated and have medical conditions
Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, May 25
Reopening Rockford: Education adjusts to new normal but questions remain about fall
Richard Bodee, WREX, Rockford, May 24
In Friday’s Leading News, read a reflection on the past year of change in social and racial justice. Southern-tier school districts address the teacher shortage. Residents in Byron strive to prevent the closure of a nuclear power plant. COVID-19 positive cases are dropping statewide. Also in the news, discover “ambiguous Ps” and why some students aren’t in favor.
How Education Has Changed in Illinois Since 2020 Racial Justice Protests
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, June 2
Can rural southern IL school districts find help within to solve teacher shortages?
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, May 29
Byron residents in last ditch effort to save nuclear plant from closure
Dylan Srocki, Alexis Carpello, WTVO, Rockford, May 27
New cases of coronavirus dropping as state nears June 11
Erich Murphy, Pontiac Daily Leader, June 1
COVID-19 led some schools to drop letter grades. One suburban student is on a quest to get his back.
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, May 28
In today’s Leading News, read additional reporting of education-impacting legislation from the Illinois General Assembly spring session.
Illinois Lawmakers Boost School Spending, Guarantee Recess And Mandate Sex Ed
Susie An, WBEZ Chicago, June 2
Bill creating 21-member elected Chicago school board passes state Senate
Rachel Hinton and Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 1
Illinois budget heads to Pritzker’s desk with a boost for K-12, flat funding for early ed
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, June 1
State Senate sends 'sexting' measure to governor
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Kankakee Daily Journal, May 28
Illinois tackles anti-Asian hate with the TEAACH Act
Rita Oceguera, Injustice Watch/Decatur Herald-Review, May 31
In today’s Leading News, read a collection of the news stories on the education-impacting legislative action over the weekend.
Illinois legislators vote to dramatically limit use of seclusion and facedown restraints in schools
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, May 31
Illinois lawmakers move primary date, expand voting access
Ben Szalinski, State Journal-Register, Springfield, June 1
FOID card fingerprinting bill passes — but stalls — as grammar school play time measure advances
Rachel Hinton and Andrew Sullender, Chicago Sun-Times, May 29
Illinois Legislature’s $42 billion budget heads to Pritzker
AP/Belleville News Democrat, June 1
Two new state holidays approved: Juneteenth and Election Day. What do they mean for you?
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, June 1

In today’s Leading News, the state legislature moves into extra innings. Also in the news, read about facilities changes in school districts throughout the state, and re-upping a conversation about open windows.
Illinois lawmakers go into overtime, approve $42 billion budget, elections changes and an ethics package
Rick Pearson, Dan Petrella, Bill Ruthhart, Chicago Tribune, June 1
Superintendent addresses school facilities discussion
Jennifer Bailey, Danville Commercial-News, May 27
Ottawa Elementary board begins process to get air conditioning for schools
Michael Urbanec, Ottawa Times, May 27
CPS proposes giving Aramark, Sodexo another 3 months, $74M for facilities management
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 24
Shiloh students present rain garden plan to board
Samantha Tucker, Prairie Press, Paris, May 24
Why Opening Windows Is a Key to Reopening Schools
Rick Bartzokas, Mika Gröndahl, Karthik Patanjali, Miles Peyton, Bedel Saget and Umi Syam, New York Times, February 26

Leading News

IASB's News Clip Service

The links to articles posted here are selected daily from news sources across Illinois, and sometimes beyond, provided as a service to our membership. These links go directly to the original source (print, broadcast, or online media) of the article. The purpose of sharing these links is to give readers of this site a wider perspective on state and local issues impacting public education. IASB neither endorses nor verifies the content.