March 2021 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, voters will decide next week on school board elections prompting conversations about partisanship and return-to-the-classroom plans. Also in the news, read the latest on efforts towards an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools.

Party support appearing in District 211, other local races
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 30

Bloomington-Normal NAACP hosting 'Meet the School Board Candidates Forum' Monday
Bloomington Pantagraph, March 26

Three candidates vying for District 186 school board seat in Subdistrict 6
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 28

Most District 121 school board candidates praise pandemic response, plan
Doug T. Graham, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 25

As 21-person elected school board bill gains momentum, calls grow in Chicago for another option
Cassie Walker Burke, Chalkbeat Chicago, March 25
In today’s Leading News, school re-opening decisions dominate the school board election season. Also in the news, after a year of pandemic-impacted learning and decision-making, schools districts overcome challenges, reflect, and look to the future.
Reopening schools became a rallying cry for parents. Now it’s a campaign issue in suburban school board races: ‘This is a lot bigger than COVID’
Karen Ann Cullotta and Rafael Guerrero, Chicago Tribune, March 29
Central Illinois schools reflect on learning through COVID-19, make progress in transition
Decatur Herald and Review, March 29
How many Chicago teachers have been vaccinated? No one knows — leaving serious blind spots for CPS
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, March 26
COVID-19 in the Quad-Cities: Quad-Cities educators say students will 'overcome' the challenges of learning during the pandemic
Anthony Watt, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 26
McHenry County schools look to the future after year of pandemic learning
Kelli Duncan and Sam Lounsberry, Northwest Herald, March 26
In today’s Leading News, schools are being re-named, and more under consideration, often it’s students leading the call. Also in the news, efforts continue to assist students and communities with trauma and mental health issues.

As Agassiz School is rechristened Harriet Tubman, CPS looks at how to deal with other buildings, some named after slaveholders
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 26

Thomas Jefferson Middle School will be the first of six Peoria schools to be renamed
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, March 23

Students at Southwest Side high school push CPS to dump name of slaveholder John Hancock
Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, March 5

After a year of pandemic losses and civil and political unrest, CPS launches new effort to address trauma in students
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 22

Proposed Bill Would Target Certain Student Groups For Suicide Prevention In Schools
Derek Cantù, NPR Illinois, March 12

In today’s Leading News, with the April 6 Consolidated Election days away, early voting continues. Also in the news, reports on the issues to be faced by the next wave of boards of education.

Early voting ongoing ahead of April 6 consolidated election
Ben Szalinski, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 22

Most nonwhite students in US still learning entirely online, school reopening survey shows
Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, March 24

New Illinois report examines attitudes toward education as pandemic continues
Grace Barbic, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 24

High school seniors in Chicago and across Illinois won’t have to take SAT to graduate this spring because of COVID-19 disruptions
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 24

Learning setbacks a top concern for parents: poll
Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, March 23

In today’s Leading News, school district look at what’s next with construction projects, summer updates, career and technical education, and school safety improvements. Also in the news, an Illinois-based charter school operator faces racism issues and scrutiny of its discipline policies.
Rock Island-Milan School Board gets update on construction projects
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 23
Committee explores summer projects in district
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 23
Litchfield Board Hears Update On CTE
Hillsboro Journal-News, March 22
Kansas schools planning for future
Gary Henry, Paris Prairie Press, March 22
Top Chicago Charter School Network Admits A Racist Past
Sarah Karp, WBEZ, Chicago, March 13

In today’s Leading News, the coronavirus pandemic is not halting suburban school board candidate forums, but it is providing a topic for discussion.

Back-to-school process sparks debate among District 128 candidates
Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 24

Western Springs District 101 School Board candidates talk about class sizes and full-day kindergarten during community forum
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Western Springs, March 22

Glenview School District 34 board candidates address full-time return to school
Dave Oberhelman, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 17

Candidates for Lake Forest SD67 board speak to diversity, inclusiveness and future of the district during League of Women Voters forum
Daniel I. Dorfman, Pioneer Press/Lake Forrester, March 19

Waukegan school board candidates discuss a variety of issues in virtual debate
Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, March 18

In today’s Leading News, as coronavirus mitigations begin to ease in Illinois, school communities seek ways to make thing better and pay it forward.
Pritzker unveils revamped COVID-19 reopening plan for Illinois with expanded capacity limits
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Kewanee Star Courier, March 18
QPS task force looks at ways to encourage self care
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 15
Glenbrook District 225 schools looking at smaller, on-campus graduation events Glenbrook high schools planning smaller, on-campus graduation events June 6
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 17
All CPS families are getting $450 pandemic food benefit cards. Some who don’t need the help are trying to pay it forward.
Hannah Leone and Jenny Whidden, Chicago Tribune, March 20
Pandemic batters middle school sports association in Illinois; no state tournaments means no revenue, $1.5 million budget hole
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, March 22


In today’s Leading News, with data pointing towards safe returns, what does that look like inside the schools?
Why health and school officials say it's safer to send children to school full time now
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 17
What in-person school could look like for CPS high schoolers who opt in
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, March 18
For first time in a year, Bradley students eat lunch during school
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 18
Mercer County teachers tell school board about the realities of education during the pandemic
Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 19
'Anything for my kid.' Springfield parents navigate ins and outs of remote, in-person learning
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 14

In today’s Leading News, legislation on curriculum is advanced and proposed. Peoria Public Schools explains a balanced calendar. Galena works toward new facilities. Also in the news, high school sports continue a gradual return.

Mandatory K-12 sex education bill advances in Illinois House
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 17

Bill would require Asian American unit in history classes
J.J. Bullock, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 17

What's a balanced calendar? First of four town halls explains Peoria school year proposals
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, March 16

Galena’s core planning group sifts through early facility drawings: Committee members will visit Dubuque schools to see how space is used
Hillary Dickerson, Galena Gazette, March 15

Graduated Return to Play guidelines for Springfield area high school student-athletes
Bill Welt, State Journal-Register, March 16

High school football is back in southwest Illinois. Here’s what to know before you go
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, March 18

In today’s Leading News, mid-March brings decision-making on moving more students back to the classrooms.
How Naperville-area schools plan to roll out expanded in-person learning
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 16
Elgin’s U-46 ready to bring all hybrid students back to school on a full-time basis starting April 7
Karie Angell Luc, Elgin Courier-News, March 16
Proposed plan would bring D186 students in hybrid model back to school four days a week
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 16
Stevenson High moving to full-day in-person classes April 5
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 16
Ezike says state ‘getting close’ to next phase of reopening
Tim Kirsininkas, CNI/Kewanee Star Courier, March 16

In today’s Leading News, coronavirus and education on a big scale: national and state news on back-in-school decision-making, plus answers to questions about CPS’s return. Also in the news, and mostly outside the coronavirus sphere, Illinois lawmakers review funding reform in early childhood education.
Lawmakers Push To Waive Standardized Testing In 2021, Despite Feds’ Insistence
Derek Cantù, NPR Illinois, March 15
Gov. J.B. Pritzker set to loosen rules gradually before full reopening of Illinois — but Dr. Ngozi Ezike says for now, ‘we’re not getting rid of masks’
Jenny Whidden and Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, March 15
Schools weighing whether to seat students closer together
Collin Binkley, AP/Belleville News-Democrat, March 15
CPS high school families have a lot of questions about reopening plans. Here are some of the answers.
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, March 13
Commission to call for overhaul of early childhood education funding
Peter Hancock, CNI/Lincoln Courier, March 16
In today’s Leading News, with the April 6 school board elections approaching, local media covers candidate forums, issues, community response, and how, when, and where to vote.

Candidates for Lyons Township High School Board talk about saliva tests, vaccines and how to bring all students back in school
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Lagrange, March 2

District 186 school board candidates get their say in virtual forum
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 26

Introducing candidates for April’s election
Steven Barnum, McDonough County Voice, March 15

Ball-Chatham school board hopefuls debate identity politics
Madison Angell, Illinois Times, Springfield, March 11

U-46 school board candidates participate in online forum
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 4

District 87 board candidate says he won't campaign after social media posts surface
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, March 13

Early voting starts March 22 at these suburban sites for April 6 election
Jennifer JJohnson, Pioneer Press/Franklin Park Herald Journal, March 15
In today’s Leading News, one year into the coronavirus pandemic, with federal education funds approved in the latest relief bill and vaccination programs underway, school districts continue to plan for the future.

Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding Can't Come Soon Enough For Schools
Peter Medlin, WNIJ, DeKalb, March 9

COVID-19 relief package could mean $5 billion for Illinois schools, including almost $2 billion for CPS
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, March 11

District 87 Plans 'unique,' Expanded Summer School
Michele Steinbacher, WGLT, Normal, March 10

D205 will get $6.1 million for COVID-related projects
Matt Koester, Galesburg Register-Mail, March 9

With 1 million Illinoisans now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, here’s a look at what the data says about who those people are
Jonathon Berlin, Chicago Tribune, March 6

In today’s Leading News, an agreement is reached in Bourbonnais SD 53. Boards of education make decisions on priorities and resources for 2021 and beyond.

Teacher strike ends in Bourbonnais, school to resume Friday
Kankakee Daily Journal, March 11

How suburban educators are responding to state's call for culturally inclusive instruction
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 7
Champaign district to propose phasing out elementary-level gifted program
Anthony Zilis, News Gazette, Champaign, March 5
Decatur Public Schools, Richland team up to put students on fast track to associates degree
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 10
Leaders discuss Career Academy as they await word on grant
Andrew Adams, Effingham Daily News, March 5
CPS proposes going back to school in August, ditching traditional post-Labor Day start
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, March 3

In today’s Leading News, the teachers strike in Bourbonnais SD 53 continues after negotiating meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. Also in the news, school communities respond to the latest ISBE guidance, and what happens when there is too much vaccine available?
Bourbonnais teachers union continues to negotiate new contract series
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 10
Illinois schools can cut social distance from 6 to 3 feet under new rules aimed at helping districts reopen; Charleston school official reviewing rule changes
Chicago Tribune/Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, March 10
Illinois Board of Education gives new in-person schooling guidance
AP/Bloomington Pantagraph, March 10
What will southwest IL classrooms look like under new COVID guidance from state board?
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, March 10
Landmarks: A school district in Midlothian received more COVID-19 shots than it needed. Within weeks it helped 2,300 community members get vaccinated
Paul Eisenberg, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, March 7

In today’s Leading News, Illinois education funding and curriculum are on topic in the legislature. Also in the news, districts work through return-to-school decisions as concerns of mental health struggles continue.

State school board requests $400 million funding increase, including K-12 boost
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 8

Pritzker praised for signing Black Caucus-backed education plan even as criticism continues over flat schools spending proposal
Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, March 8

Parents from 9 school districts to hold rally in downtown Naperville demanding students return to the classroom
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, March 9

One of the biggest high school districts in suburban Chicago is moving toward full-time in-person classes by April 5
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, March 9

Student mental health struggles intensify as high schools remain closed year into pandemic
Clare Proctor, Chicago Sun-Times, March 8

In today’s Leading News, Governor Pritzker on Monday signed the Education and Workforce Equity Act. The IHSA changes limits to fan attendance for outdoor sports. The US DoE maintains its standardized testing stance, over many objections. Also in the news, a study offers insight into helping students who have fallen behind.
Pritzker signs Black Caucus-backed education equity bill into law
Raymon Troncoso, CNI/News Gazette, Champaign, March 8
Pritzker signs ‘inclusive’ education equity bill into law, allowing state to ‘make history’ – and teach it better
Rachel Hinton , Chicago Sun-Times, March 8
Illinois High School Association announces expanded spectator limits at outdoor events
Justin Conn, Bloomington Pantagraph, March 8
Schools can’t skip standardized tests this spring, Biden administration says. But Illinois educators want a pass because of pandemic disruptions.
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, March 5
Tutoring Study Points To Potential Answer For Reversing Pandemic Learning Loss
Sarah Karp, WBEZ, Chicago, March 8

In today’s Leading News, classes are canceled in Bourbonnais SD 53 due to a teachers’ strike that began last Thursday. Also in the news, districts, teachers, and communities plan next steps in coronavirus mitigation.
Schools remain closed as Bourbonnais teachers' strike continues
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 6
For some Chicago teachers who want a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to school, unpaid leave is the only option
Hannah Leone and Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, March 8
Bloomington District 87 to use most of federal COVID-19 aid for student supports
Lenore Sobota, Bloomington Pantagraph, February24
More than 400 have signed petition so far created by Sycamore parents to push for full week of in-person school
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, March 8
Playing in masks a challenge for Rockford area basketball players, but doctors say it's safe
Jay Taft, Rockford Register Star, February 26

In today’s Leading News, read a few more media takes on the recent release of the IARSS educator shortage report. Discussion continues at the state level on seclusion and restraint practices culturally responsive teaching and learning. Also in the news, and social workers carry on their efforts to reach students. .
New survey highlights Illinois teacher, substitute teacher shortage
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 4
Rural locations, pandemic impacts worsen educator shortages in east-central Illinois
Grace Barbic and Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 27
Bill would end restraint and isolation as way of disciplining students in Illinois
Peter Hancock CNI/Belleville News-Democrat, March 4
‘Culturally responsive teaching’ or ‘woke indoctrination’? New standards for Illinois teachers in training are latest flashpoint in culture wars.
Elyssa Cherney, Karen Ann Cullotta and Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune, February 26
Decatur school social workers rise to the occasion for struggling kids
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 1

In today’s Leading News, as the coronavirus pandemic continues its course, vaccines and methods of testing lead to optimism and pushback.
University of Illinois wins FDA approval for saliva COVID-19 test: ‘We’re wasting no time in deploying this,’ Gov. Pritzker vows
Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune, March 1
Some teachers still waiting for first dose, PCHD has a plan
Brittni Clemons, WMBD-TV, Peoria, March 3
All in or all out; Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 to eliminate hybrid learning
Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 2
Parents tear into Naperville District 203 School Board for not reopening schools full time: ‘You will all be replaced’
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, March 3
Elmhurst School District 205 plans to saliva test students; some parents question if it's legal
Jesse Kirsch, WLS/ABC 7, Chicago, February 25

In today’s Leading News, read local assessments of the IIARSS educator shortage report. CPS students adjust to their return to the classrooms. Also in the news, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has announced it will discontinue publication of six of the late author’s books because of racist and insensitive imagery.
Illinois' teacher shortage is worst in west central region
Raymon Troncoso, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 1
Survey shows Illinois teacher shortage worsening in most districts
Peter Hancock, Lenore Sobota, Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, March 1
Back to school, but not quite back to normal, as CPS students return to classrooms after yearlong closure: ‘The kids need this’
Darcel Rockett, Elyssa Cherney, Laura Rodríguez Presa, Gregory Pratt, Leslie Bonilla, Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune, March 1
How to support CPS students worried about going back to school
Clare Proctor, Chicago Sun-Times, February 27
6 Dr. Seuss books will stop being published over racist images
Mark Pratt, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 2

In today's Leading News, the U.S. Senate confirms new Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Classrooms have reopened for many CPS students. Illinois educators discuss testing in the COVID era. Students celebrate ag in Future Farmers of America’s “spirit week,” which also prompts political discussion.
Lifelong Educator, Miguel Cardona, Confirmed As Education Secretary
Cory Turner, National Public Radio, March 1
Senate confirms Cardona as Biden’s education secretary
Collin Binkley, AP/Chicago Tribune, March 1
Excitement, tears and masks as CPS students head back to school for 1st time during pandemic
Stefano Esposito and Nader Issa, Chicago Tribune, March 1
School leaders statewide say no to standardized tests this spring
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 1
Area schools celebrate FFA Week, some draw criticism
Andrew Adams, Effingham Daily News, 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.