More School Districts Serve Low‑Income Students
In recent years, far greater numbers of Illinois school districts are teaching students who are living in poverty. In 43% of school districts in 2015, more than half of the students are coming from low-income homes, up from 13% in 2005. Research shows that it costs more to educate low-income students, many of whom start school academically behind their more affluent peers.4 These students may need, for example, help to build vocabulary and background knowledge, extra learning time, or links to other services, such as healthcare, to meet the full range of their needs.5
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More School Districts Serve Students Learning English
Students learning English are now over 10% of the total Illinois public school population and live all over the state. Schools that never served English learners in the past are now realizing they must adjust to meet changing needs, as students learn English and a full array of traditional subjects.
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Race & Poverty in Illinois
Inequitable K-12 Funding Shortchanges the State’s Neediest Students
More than half of Illinois state education dollars go to districts regardless of their wealth, shortchanging poor districts that have students with greater needs. For every dollar Illinois spends on a non-low-income student, the state spends only 81 cents on a low-income student. The existing funding system fails to provide adequate funding to address the social, emotional and physical needs of low-income students, English learners and students with special needs. Because of inequitable funding, students in low-income and majority African American and Latino districts are too often faced with larger class sizes, fewer special classes like art and music, outdated textbooks and increased student activity fees, when they need the opposite.
After a nearly year-long budget impasse, the General Assembly passed a stopgap budget in late June 2016 that ensured that schools would open on time in Fall 2016. However, structural reform is still needed. At the time of this writing, the Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission is in discussions to fix the structural issues of Illinois’ notoriously inequitable state education funding formula. This longstanding inequity demands change when the General Assembly returns in Spring 2017.
FOR EVERY $1 SPENT ON A NON-LOW-INCOME STUDENT,
OHIO SPENDS $1.22 on A low-income student.
ILLINOIS SPENDS $0.81.
Low-Income Students, Especially Those of Color, Lose Most Under Our Current Funding System
“I want to change my students’ lives,” says Marilyn Gutierrez, an aspiring teacher now in her senior year at Rolling Meadows High School in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. “I see it as a privilege to be bilingual and be able to connect with students.”
With a 4.0 GPA and a 21 on her ACT, Gutierrez precisely fits the hardest demographic to recruit into the Illinois teacher workforce: high-achieving students of color. This year, Gutierrez is part of a cadre of 20 seniors who have committed to teaching and intend to return to the local area’s schools.
Their district, District 214, has partnered with National-Louis and Northeastern Illinois universities to offer low-cost, no-debt college financing and is working with partner elementary districts to guarantee student teaching placement, professional development and hiring interviews to the prospective teachers as they proceed to and through college. “As a community, there’s a seven- to eight-year investment being made in these students,” says Dan Weidner, director of career and technical education for District 214.
For many students like Gutierrez, who would be the first in their families to attend college, affordability and proximity to family are often key considerations, notes Weidner. And coming back to District 214 or its partner elementary districts as teachers can be an economic boost to entire families. Based on salary and working conditions, “these are destination districts,” he observes. “If they get hired back in our area, it’s very possible they will be earning multiples more of their entire family income.”
Interested high school students can explore teaching through a four-course education pathway, which includes a dual-credit capstone teaching experience for seniors, called Education Academy. To be eligible for the college and postsecondary incentives, students will have to take Education Academy plus at least one earlier course in the pathway.
Gutierrez is in the first of four practicum rotations she’ll experience through Education Academy, supporting a class of 2nd graders at Kimball Hill Elementary School. Later this year her practica will focus on English learners, students with special needs and middle-schoolers.
Already, Gutierrez is putting her language skills to work. “I have a student who just came here recently from Mexico. He’s been struggling in the English [literacy instruction] block,” she says. “I’ve been able to translate for him and help him practice.”
Though the initial cohort of seniors is small, Weidner says about 900 younger high school students across the district are currently exploring the educator career pathway. While District 214 has long had an outstanding career sequence for aspiring early childhood educators, over the last two years the district has strengthened its offerings for potential K-12 educators and sharpened its focus on encouraging talented minority students to consider teaching as a career. “I want our pathway to become a grow-your-own effort within our community, also focusing on interested minority students,” says Weidner. “We want to bring them back to our own districts.”
|1B||Public charter schools||63||65|
|1D||Public school districts||855||863|
|1G||Private not-for-profit universities||90||83|
|1H||Private for-profit universities||27||26|
|2G||Public charter schools||64,112||59,788|
|2K||Private not-for-profit universities||131,492||129,735|
|2L||Private for-profit universities||52,861||53,403|
|Head Start||PFA||K-12||Community College||Public University||Private NFP||Private FP|
|3G||English Language Learner||25%||29%||23%||16%||11%||10%|
|Head Start||PFA||K-12||Community College||Public University||2-year Private||4-yr Private NFP||4-yr Private FP|
|4A||Total government funding||$7,615||$7,175||$3,161||$3,245||$14,756||$14,510|
|4B||State & local funding||$13,639||$13,301||$9,326||$8,017||$9,301||$8,961||$449||$472||$619||$495||$89||$251|
|5||Tuition paid per pupil||$2,701||$2,636||$10,781||$11,085||$14,727||$14,414||$21,541||$20,901||$22,843||$23,036|
|6||Instructional expenditure per pupil||$7,822||$7,327||$6,421||$5,574||$16,262||$14,906||$5,628||$5,205||$19,298||$17,690||$3,764||$3,768|
|7||Total expenditure per pupil||$7,615||$7,175||$3,161||$3,245||$13,077||$12,389||$15,364||$14,023||$50,170||$46,089||$16,001||$17,175||$61,143||$56,681||$18,803||$20,783|
Are Illinois educators effective?
|Black||Leading State||Leading State's Performance||IL Rank||Latino||Leading State||Leading States's Performance||IL Rank|
|32A||PK-12 teacher diversity compared to student population||65%||8 out of 15||CA||97%||26%||9 out of 15||FL||62%|
|32B||Postsecondary teacher diversity compared to student population||50%||4 out of 15||PA||76%||34%||12 out of 15||OH||71%|
|2014||2012||2009||2004||Leading State||Leading State's Performance||IL Rank||Rank Change||White||Black||Latino||Low-Income|
|33||Teachers demonstrating effectiveness|
|42A||K-8 students per counselor||1 : 1,445||1 : 1,497||1 : 1,421||1 : 1,405||NH||1 : 277||42nd||2|
|42B||High school students per counselor||1 : 315||1 : 320||1 : 294||1 : 298||WY||1 : 96||43rd||2|
Are Students In An Environment That Supports Learning?
|2016||2015||2014||2006||Leading State||Leading State's Performance||IL Rank||Rank Change||White||Black||Latino||Low-Income|
|34||Minimum instructional hours||880||880||880||880||MD; TN||1170||42; 44|
|35||5Essentials: Involved Families||37%||32%||40%|
|36||5Essentials: Supportive Environment||31%||30%||30%|
|37||5Essentials: Effective Leaders||26%||23%||33%|
|38||5Essentials: Collaborative Teachers||34%||34%||30%|
|39||5Essentials: Ambitious Instruction||63%||59%||41%|
|39B||% of schools with at least 3 strong areas on the 5Essentials||38%||34%||35%|
|40||Teacher retention rate||86%||85%||86%|
|41A||K-12 suspension rate of white boys||5%||5%|
|41B||K-12 suspension rate of black boys||19%||18%|
|41C||K-12 suspension rate of latino boys||7%||8%|
|41D||K-12 suspension rate of white girls||2%||2%|
|41E||K-12 suspension rate of black girls||13%||11%|
|41F||K-12 suspension rate of latino girls||4%||3%|
Source identifies race and ethnicity separately.
Low-income is defined as 100% FPL for Headstart, 185% FPL for PFA and K-12, and Pell grant eligibility for postsecondary.
Inflation adjusted to most recent year.
Definition of Truancy changed in 2010.
For more information, including a snapshot of every school in Illinois, visit the Illinois School Report Card.