Illinois | Understanding ESSA



April 30, 2015

Illinois Report Card Celebrated by Peoria Public Schools Superintendent

November 16, 2020

A newly released Illinois School Report Card depicted impressive growth for one district’s programs in particular for the 2019-2020 school year. Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat took to the Journal Star to celebrate the fact that, prior to the pandemic, the district saw its...

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Illinois First in Nation to Include Arts as Weighted Indicator of K-12 Success Under ESSA

March 20, 2020

The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously to “include arts as a weighted indicator of K-12 success in its school accountability metrics under the Every Student Succeeds Act.” Only a few states include the arts in their ESSA accountability metrics, and none include them...

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IL Officials, Experts Take Different Views of School Improvement 

November 16, 2018

In Chalkbeat Chicago, Yana Kunichoff shares that even as state education officials “publicly lauded their new school rating system” last week, the Promise to Practice peer reviewers “criticized Illinois’ approach as too hands-off.” While the state “developed a clear rating system as the federal government...

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Underperforming Schools Identified in IL

November 1, 2018

Dusty Rhodes writes for Tri-States Public Radio that, last week, the Illinois State Board of Education “unveiled a new labeling system for schools” and identified “roughly 550 Illinois schools now being tagged ‘under-performing,’ and another 200 called ‘lowest performing.’” The agency developed these descriptions under...

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New School Report Cards in Illinois Focus on Student Growth

October 19, 2018

Karen Berkowitz reports in the Chicago Tribune that on October 31, Illinois will release its new school report cards, which under ESSA will now emphasize “students’ academic gains in relation to those of other students across the state.”

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SAT vs. ACT Under ESSA

July 27, 2018

Elaine Chen reports for Chalkbeat that in a “fight between two giant standardized test providers, the SAT again has won a multi-million-dollar contract for Illinois’ high-school tests—and the also-ran ACT is filing a protest with the Illinois State Board of Education.” The state is not...

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Local Officials Gathering Public Input on ESSA in Illinois

May 15, 2018

This week, a local school district in the Chicago suburbs held a public community engagement forum “looking for input on what should appear on Illinois School Report cards,” which was “necessitated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.” These report cards “are annual reports outlining...

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Changes Ahead for Illinois

October 31, 2017

Under ESSA, Illinois, “school quality will be measured through standardized tests, alternative assessments, academic growth, English language proficiency, science scores, success on college entrance tests, and graduation rates, as well as factors such as chronic absenteeism and school climate surveys.”

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State Plan Submissions and Drafts

October 17, 2017

Approved State Plans Alabama: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Alaska: Final Plan Approved (5/16/18) Arizona: Final Plan Approved (9/6/17) Arkansas: Final Plan Approved (1/16/18) Colorado: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Connecticut: Final Plan Approved (8/15/17) Delaware: Final Plan Approved (8/2/17) District of Columbia: Final Plan Approved (8/28/17) Georgia:...

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IL Passes New School Funding Formula

October 5, 2017

Northern Public Radio reports that the “Illinois legislature passed a new school funding formula this summer,” in addition to the state’s plan to conform to ESSA, which they “must bring on line as well.” State Superintendent Tony Smith says, “So we’ve got two events. The...

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New Stand for Children Illinois Video Explains New School Grading Method

September 28, 2017

Stand for Children Illinois released a video that explains how ESSA “improves Illinois’ method for grading schools.”

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PA Lawmakers Unsatisfied with State’s Most Recent ESSA Plan

September 28, 2017

Stand for Children Illinois released a video that explains how ESSA “improves Illinois’ method for grading schools.”

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IL Begins ESSA Implementation

September 8, 2017

With Illinois’ ESSA plan accepted, “changes are already in the works in classrooms across the state.” The plan would mandate that “at least 90 percent of the state’s third graders reading at or above grade level, 9 out of 10 fifth graders at or above grade...

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Dept. of Ed Approves 4 State ESSA Plans

August 30, 2017

The Dept. of Education approved four state ESSA plans – the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, and Tennessee. “As more and more state plans come under the department’s review, I am heartened to see how states have embraced the spirit of flexibility under ESSA to...

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Dept. of Ed Issues Feedback to DC and IL

August 4, 2017

The Dept. of Education issued feedback on Washington D.C.’s and Illinois’ ESSA plans. The department commented that D.C. “cannot use tests like the SAT and ACT in its academic achievement indicators,” and “did not clearly describe its measure for differentiating school performance.” Illinois also has...

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IL Education Officials Concerned Proposed Goals are Unattainable

June 25, 2017

Illinois’ ESSA accountably plan is proposing 90% of students would pass state administered reading and math exams by 2032. Local education officials are concerned that the proficiency goal will be “unattainable.” Wilmette School District 39 Superintendent Raymond Lechner argued against the high goals, “Definitely, some...

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Thomas B. Fordham Institute Raises Concerns over IL’s ESSA Plan

April 27, 2017

In an opinion piece, Michael J. Petrilli and Brandon L. Wright of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute raised concerns over Illinois’ proposed ESSA plan. Petrilli and Wright argued that the state’s plan is a “significant improvement on the state’s previous framework,” but “doesn’t do enough...

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IL State Board Approves ESSA Plan

March 15, 2017

The Illinois State Board of Education unanimously agreed to submit the state’s ESSA draft implementation plan to the Dept. of Education. According to Chicago Tonight, Board of Education spokeswoman Jackie Matthews commented “ISBE still has work to do to prepare the plan for the strongest...

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Advance Illinois to Host Community Forum for Stakeholders on ESSA

March 8, 2017

Advance Illinois will host a community forum for stakeholders on ESSA. Illinois State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Smith and Education Trust-West Executive Director Ryan Smith will speak at the event.

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IL State Board Hosts Town Hall

December 7, 2016

The Illinois State Board of Education hosted a town hall for teachers, principals, and administrators to comment on the state’s draft ESSA plan. Attendees inquired about accountability models, teacher retention, and policy.

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IL State Board to Host Third Listening Tour

November 28, 2016

The Illinois Board of Education will be hosting a third “statewide listening tour” to gather feedback on the second draft of Illinois’ ESSA state plan, which was released this week. In addition to the tour, stakeholders can submit comments to the department’s webpage. All comments...

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District Leaders Concerned about State Plan Details

October 17, 2016

Coverage in the Belleville News-Democrat reports that education leaders in some districts are concerned about details in the “Illinois College and Career Ready Indicator Framework” section of the state’s plan. “I think it’s a good start and we just need to provide some feedback,” said...

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Superintendent Smith Criticizes US Dept. of Education for “Micromanaging”

September 26, 2016

Illinois’ State Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith publicly criticized the U.S. Dept. of Education “for micromanaging state agencies” and “perpetuating the same practices in the new regs.”

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IL State Superintendent Discusses Federal Role in ESSA

September 15, 2016

In an opinion piece published by US News & World Report, Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith writes that federal “micromanagement should be cast aside” in order for ESSA to be implemented as Congress intended. Smith calls for schools to be held accountable, and for state...

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IL State Board Begins Second State Tour

September 14, 2016

Staff from the Illinois State Board of Education visited Bloomington Junior High School last week to begin its second state tour. The state Board focused its visit on sharing the first draft of its state plan and receiving feedback from communities. The final plan will...

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IL State Board Releases Draft ESSA Plan

September 7, 2016

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the first draft of its ESSA state plan. In a letter, State Superintendent Tony Smith noted that this plan is not final. In fact, throughout the document, ISBE has highlighted areas where it requires feedback. In order...

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IL State Board Releases Findings from Listening Sessions

June 29, 2016

The state Board of Education released findings from 11 listening sessions it held across the state on the implications of ESSA. According to the report, a major concern for administrators are “measures that compare the school’s growth to the growth rates of other schools”

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IL House Education Committee Holds ESSA Hearing

June 17, 2016

House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee held a hearing on ESSA Friday morning. Board of Education and members of the teachers union spoke about changes that need to be made in the state’s education system and the plans being used to transition to the new...

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IL State Board to Host Listening Tour

June 13, 2016

In State Superintendent Tony Smith’s weekly message, he indicated the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is working with the Regional Offices of Education to host a listening tour across the state this spring to give an opportunity to provide feedback on ESSA implementation. There...

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Releases State ESSA Primers

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s primers include individual state by state accountability system fact sheets, which detail each state’s current accountability system, what could change under ESSA, and what to be asking state leaders. See details about your state here.

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