Education Desk Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Education Desk Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

From NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The NPR Illinois Education Desk is a community funded initiative to report on stories that impact you. Stories on the state of education from K-12 to higher education.More from Education Desk Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS »

Most Recent Episodes

Agreement On School Funding Fizzles

School funding has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the statehouse, but in recent days, there's been a glimmer of hope. A Democrat filed new funding plan, and a key Republican in the Illinois Senate appeared to endorse it, issuing a statement saying that he was "cautiously optimistic." Was this the beginning of a bipartisan solution? We decided to do a reality check.

Lawsuit Aims To Fix School Funding Formula

Lawmakers have been working on a new school funding model for the past few years, but some school districts have gotten impatient and decided to take the issue to court. So far, 16 school boards have voted to join the lawsuit, which will be filed by Chicago labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan .

Is 4th Time The Charm? Manar Files New School Funding Compromise Bill

The Grand Bargain is a package of interlocking legislation designed to break the budget impasse. How important is school funding to that deal? Important enough that leaders titled it Senate Bill One. Under the plan filed by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the state would freeze funding at current levels. Any additional dollars would be distributed based on each district's demographics and unique needs, channeling the bulk of the money toward low-income districts. Technically titled Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1 , it's a plan designed to address the notorious inequity that has plagued the state's school funding system for decades. "You know, the impact of this bill will be measured mostly by how much new money is put behind it," Manar says. "Because if there's no new money, nobody changes."

Is 4th Time The Charm? Manar Files New School Funding Compromise Bill

Are The Arts Important In Schools?

The Illinois State Board of Education approved a massive new school accountability plan last week. Our education desk reporter takes a closer look at the portion of the plan dealing with the fine arts.

Illinois School Funding Inequity: Worse Than The Worst

Normally when I report on Illinois school funding, the story involves some task force or legislation trying to make our system more equitable. I always mention that's because Illinois relies on property taxes to fund schools, so schools in prosperous places have every amenity while schools in areas with low property values are out of luck. Today, though, I'm reporting on something entirely different — a whole separate method Illinois uses to make school funding inequitable.

K-12 Bills Beyond Budget Elephant In The Room

Property taxes, PE, police, twins, tampons, Title I funds, teacher evaluations, lactating students and lottery dollars — these are a few of the legislative measures working their way through education committees in the General Assembly.

UIS Faculty Frustrated By Contract Talks

Faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield have been negotiating for a new contract. Talks have been going on more than a year, and they haven't even started talking about dollars. Kristi Barnwell , an associate professor of history, is vice-president of UIS United Faculty and a participant in negotiations. "Every year, the campus does an analysis of where our wages sit compared to other universities and campuses of similar size and profile, and every year, we come up well below the median for professors' salaries at every rank," she says.

Taylorville Referendum Puts It All On The Line

In the November elections, Christian County went solidly for Donald Trump. It's not the kind of environment where taxes for public services are popular. Nevertheless, the Taylorville School District is asking voters to raise their own property taxes, and the district has put everything on the line. The district hasn't had a tax increase in 38 years, and is now operating with a $1.3 million annual deficit. If the referendum fails, the district will eliminate all extracurricular activities and all elective classes.

Decatur Scholar Turns Rhymes Into Dope Dissertation

A.D. Carson grew up in Decatur, graduated from Millikin University, and earned a master's degree here at the University of Illinois Springfield. He's now a Ph.D candidate at Clemson University, where today he's defending his dissertation — a hip-hop project that's gone viral. One word of warning: The music in this story contains a racial term some listeners might find offensive, but it's part of Carson's scholarly work.

Rauner Raises The Bar On Academic Standards

Gov. Bruce Rauner has made elementary and secondary education a signature issue of his administration, and today, he met with the State Board of Education in an effort to nudge the state's academic goals higher.

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