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.
The deadline to get bills through committees just passed, so we now have a better idea of which education bills have a chance to get a vote on the floor. Read our March 2014 Education Newsletter to find out which pieces of legislation are still alive.
The deadline for the introduction of new bills for the spring legislative session was Feb. 14, so we've sifted through the new legislation for measures that would impact our Catholic schools. We break down the new initiatives in our February 2014 newsletter into three categories: appropriations, regulation, and school choice. We'll also keep you updated throughout the session on the progress of these bills.
Consider this edition of our education newsletter a primer on the basics on advocating for our Catholic schools. Learn about school choice, state regulations and funding of grant programs, including the all-important Textbook Block Grant. Read about it here in our January 2014 issue.
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.
Happy Catholic Schools Week! We want our Catholic schools to continue their fine work, so in this newsletter, we lay out the goals that will guide our education advocacy efforts for the next two years as the lawmakers elected in November take their seats in the 98th General Assembly. Topping our wish list is a restoration of funding to the Textbook Block Grant, Educational Improvement and School Safety Block Grant, and the Parent/Guardian Transportation Reimbursement programs. Want to know more? Click here to read the January 2013 newsletter.
Democrats in both the state House and Senate won enough seats in the Nov. 6 election to hold a supermajority in each chamber, meaning they have enough votes to pass legislation without input from Republicans. The Democrats will also be able to override any legislation vetoed by the governor. Read the November Education newsletter to see what this means for our education agenda for the upcoming 2013 legislative session.
Read about eight Catholic schools that earned the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the federal Department of Education. And make sure to check this newsletter for the various deadlines for state recognition.