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The State We're In: 2012

The State We’re In: 2012 assesses academic performance from early childhood through postsecondary and examines how Illinois compares to other states and nations as it works to prepare all students for the opportunities and challenges of today’s world.

 You can download the executive summary in English and Spanish.

More than 2 million students attend Illinois public schools every day. To better understand how the state’s educational system serves them, this biennial report:

 Defines what it means to be academically prepared at key steps in a student’s education;

 Spotlights learning conditions and climate within schools that support student success;

 Identifies demographic and economic changes in the state during the past decade;

Describes reforms put in place to strengthen Illinois’ education system that now must be implemented.

Steps to readiness

Illinois’ academic performance has remained flat for much of the past decade. This suggests little prospect for improvement absent serious effort and change. While Illinois has taken important steps to improve, the impact on student achievement does not happen immediately.

One-third of Illinois students complete 4th grade proficient in reading, a troubling indicator given decades of research that suggests students who read well by this point are dramatically more likely to succeed in school and in life.

One-third of students begin high school academically prepared for the coursework ahead.

At a time when eight of every 10 jobs require more than a high school diploma, fewer than three-quarters of Illinois students who begin high school will graduate and fewer than a third will earn a two- or four-year degree.

These outcomes are even bleaker for low-income and minority students.

As a state, we must work urgently to meet the goal set by Illinois’ education, legislative, civic and business leaders that 60 percent of students earn a postsecondary degree by 2025.