As head of CCI's Education Department, Zach Wichmann writes an occasional newsletter on education issues pending at the state and federal level and their impact on Catholic schools.
School visits from the Illinois State Board of Education are needed in order to garner state recognition this year. The Catholic Conference of Illinois worked with the Board to focus on the backlog of state visits — those schools that have not been visited since 2007 — and reduce the amount of paperwork under relaxed deadlines. The result: Only 340 schools will be required to undergo a state visit this year — down from more than 500. Read more about it in our November 2013 Education Newsletter.
The school year is back in full swing, and so is the CCI Education Newsletter. Check out the October 2013 issue to catch up on education-related legislation passed last year requiring insurance for high school student athletes, tweaking school safety drills, and updating required immunizations for students. Learn about EdChoice Illinois, which is leading a new statewide coalition working to advance school choice. And check out the Catholic schools that were just named Blue Ribbon Schools — they make up nearly 40 percent of the 21 Illinois schools receiving this federal recognition.
The school year may be winding down but the legislature is finally getting down to business in its final month of session. Funding for the textbook block grant may have a chance, and CCI is ready with legislation in case some monies become available. Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Oak Lawn, has introduced House Bill 2321, while Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, is sponsoring Senate Bill 2152. Read about these measures other education legislation that may be considered by the legislature in CCI's April 2013 Education Newsletter.
Four school choice bills have been introduced in the new legislative session — two in the House and two in the Senate. Although CCI supports all of these measures, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Learn more about these initiatives, as well as other state education news, in our February 2013 Education Newsletter.