Illinois should not be stingy on schools, says the chairman of the state Board of Education.  As he released data showing 82 percent of school districts not making adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Chairman Gery J. Chico (pictured) said the path to improvement costs money, as long as it’s spent wisely.
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“We have to continue to make a strong and compelling case for having an investment mentality in education in this state. It’s our future. If you don’t produce the kinds of people that employers want, that universities and colleges want among their populations, our future is very bleak, and none of us want that,” he said.  He made a push for “proper amounts of state funding,” saying he’s not asking for “opulent amounts of state funding.”
Chico says the state is implementing more rigorous tests for students, and working with colleges of education on their admission policies, and has established a Center for School Improvement to deal with the school districts that struggle the most in terms of student performance.  The state Board of Education has also taken over administration of schools in East St. Louis and North Chicago, districts that are struggling financially and educationally.
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