Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Illinois universities asked to explore budget cuts - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL


Executive Director James Applegate sent an email to the presidents, obtained by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers ( ), saying the schools should be prepared for possible funding cuts of up to 30 percent over the next 18 months. He described it as “bad budget news.”
“They have asked us to prepare a budget recommendation for (fiscal year 2016) involving a 20 percent reduction. We may also be asked to create spending reserves of 5 percent or 10 percent out of our existing budget for the remainder of (fiscal year 2015),” Applegate wrote.
Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told The Associated Press on Monday that the Republican’s transition team was not ordering budget cuts but seeking information on how a rollback of the state’s temporary income tax would affect state agencies.
Schrimpf said the team met with officials from many agencies — not just the universities — as part of Rauner’s own budget preparing process. He said the agencies were asked to “be prepared to talk about” budgets without the extra spending “as a starting point.”….

Read more:  Illinois universities asked to explore budget cuts - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Real Hero Teachers | Public School Shakedown#.VHDGO99dRqI.twitter#.VHDGO99dRqI.twitter


By Russ Walsh
November 22, 2014 - 11:21 am CST


While the corporate education reform movement is waiting for Superman and beating the bushes for non-educators who will “teach like a champion”, every day in thousands of classrooms across the country the real heroes of public education are working to provide the best possible education they can to children with widely varying backgrounds and preparedness for learning, often in over-crowded and under-resourced classrooms and under the cloud of a slanderous public relations campaign that seeks to make them out as the villains in a reform fantasy.

Of course, the real heroes I am talking about are the classroom teachers, building principals, and curriculum supervisors who have studied education, who are certified to teach and who are not looking for a quick exit to a more lucrative career, but are in the game for the long haul because it is their life’s work.

I am thinking about these real heroes today for two reasons. First, I read a research report in the Teacher College Record that at first I thought I was going to like, but in the end made me angry. The study, by Stuart S. Yeh, looked at charter school programs like Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and Harlem’s Children’s Zone (HCZ) under the premise that  they “may potentially be very effective in closing the academic achievement gap.”

Yeh concluded that these programs were simply unsustainable when “scaled up and implemented nationwide.” The reason? This is where I started seeing red, so get ready. “The vast army of unemployed, highly dedicated teachers that is required to implement KIPP and HCZ on a nationwide basis simply does not exist.”

Not a flawed educational design. Not ignoring the harsh realities of poverty. Not hiring unqualified temporary teachers. Not skimming the student population to eliminate students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Apparently the numbers of available teachers who have the “right KIPP stuff” doesn’t exist. Especially considering that three year attrition rates in KIPP and HCZ schools approach 50%.

So, not enough hero teachers. That’s the problem. What constitutes a hero teacher for KIPP and HCZ? According to Yeh, a “highly dedicated teacher in these programs” works long hours, teaches Saturday make-up classes, gives students a cell phone number where they are available 24 hours a day, visits student homes regularly, fosters students’ college aspirations and dedicates a large portion of instructional time on test preparation. I wonder why attrition is so high.

For me a real hero teacher in a KIPP school would be a teacher who refused to drink the KIPP Kool-Aid, refused to abuse children with hours of skill and drill test prep, refused to implement the draconian KIPP discipline policies, resigned his position, walked out of the building and then started a blog to expose charter school abuses. I am thinking maybe Gary Rubinstein.

The second reason I am thinking about hero teachers is because I had a chance to spend some time with some true hero teachers this week. In my capacity as a literacy consultant, I often get a chance to observe teachers at work. I never cease to be amazed at these dedicated, hard-working professionals who are always striving to improve their practice.

I am thinking of Ms. C, who works with a population of English Language Learners. She knew that her guided reading instruction was helping these third graders, but she fretted that they would not perform well on the new PARCC tests. The concern was clear in her eyes and her voice as we discussed the challenges that ELLs have in comprehension as they continue to work on their fluency in English. I tried to reassure her that her work was making a difference no matter what the PARCC tests might report.

And then there was Ms. F, working in a lively classroom of 28 kindergarteners. The joy of learning was readily evident from the enthusiasm the children showed for every task and also from the noise level that Ms. F struggled mightily to contain. It was a happy room and there was great literacy instruction happening. I saw one group of students taking some early tentative moves to apply sight words they had learned to real reading situations.

After school and after her challenging 6 hours with her troop of 5 year-olds, I happened across Miss F. as she held a hushed and concerned conversation with the school nurse about a child who was often sent to school unbathed and unkempt and arrived in class on this bone chilling November day with no coat.

And then there was Mr. M, one of those rare male kindergarten teachers I have a special affection for. I observed as he directed his little ones to a variety of literacy centers and then sat down for an outstanding literacy lesson with a group of children who were about to take off in reading. Every comment Mr. M made was supportive and on target to help the children develop both the skills needed to read and a sense of the joy of reading. As the lesson ended Mr. M said to the children, “You guys are so smart. I want you all to kiss your brain.” With that the children all kissed their hand and tapped themselves on the forehead.

These folks are the real hero teachers. The real hero teachers show up, day after day, year after year after year. The real hero teachers are certified to teach. The real hero teachers studied education in college and they apply that knowledge to the real, often difficult learning situations they encounter. The real hero teachers seek graduate degrees in education that will help them refine their teaching and they are open to the kind of professional development that can help them hone their craft.

Ms. C, Ms. F, and Mr. M are heroes, but they are not exceptions to the rule. They are typical of the teachers I have known and worked with over the past 45 years. Good, honest, hard-working, intelligent professionals doing the best they can. And the best they can is very good indeed.

The notion that there are not enough heroic teachers to replicate the KIPP or HCZ models is stupid. There are not enough of those teachers because the model is fundamentally flawed and it seeks to draw people from outside the profession, who may have a temporary commitment, but no desire to stay the course. These are not dedicated teachers, they are temps. You cannot build a lasting educational program with temp workers. You just need all the Ms.Cs, Ms. Fs, and Mr. Ms you can find. You’ll find them in public schools.

For more go to:

Teachers | Public School Shakedown#.VHDGO99dRqI.twitter#.VHDGO99dRqI.twitter

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Education in Illinois making slow progress, according to report | The Rock River Times


Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — Illinois is making slow progress in the face of daunting challenges in preparing students to succeed after high school, according to a new report.

“The State We’re In: 2014,” released by the nonprofit education advocacy organization Advance Illinois, tracked state performance on 55 measures of early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education going back over a decade.

This year, for the first time, half of all Illinois public school students come from low-income families and will require additional resources and support to achieve. This comes as the state has cut millions from education over the last several years. In the face of such demographic changes, Illinois is making some headway in student achievement, high school graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment. However, the college completion rate is stuck in neutral.

“Even in these difficult times, our most important investment must be to educate our students. This is vital for the state’s economic and social future,” said former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, chairman emeritus of Advance Illinois. “We must be clear about what is at stake for all of us.”

The report is issued on a biennial basis and tracks student outcomes, leading indicators, and learning conditions as well as comparing Illinois’ performance to that of other states.

Early education: Long a national leader in early learning, Illinois is now losing ground. Hard-won access to early childhood programs has been largely erased because of shrinking resources, and there is little time in preschool for children who need it the most. As it did in 2012, Illinois receives an “Incomplete” pending the statewide roll-out of a well-regarded measure of kindergarten readiness. The state’s ranking on other measures slipped from 14th to 15th.

K-12: Despite bright spots of progress — notably in eighth-grade math performance, the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses, and high school graduation rates — other states are outpacing our gains in the critical measure of fourth-grade reading. And we have made little progress growing college readiness among high school students.

Achievement gaps persist among minority and white students, and gaps by income exist across all racial groups. One notable change is the narrowing of the achievement gap between white and Latino students by 5 percentage points.

Illinois ranks 30th among the states for a grade of C-, the same grade earned in 2012.

Postsecondary: Increasing college enrollment rates show young people are getting the message that earning a college credential is now critical. But college completion rates remain stagnant. Rising college costs and inadequate support for students, both financial and academic, are major factors in the lack of progress. On our combined postsecondary metrics, Illinois now ranks 25th among the states for a grade of C, slightly lower than the C+ earned in 2012.

The progress made by the Chicago Public Schools was featured in the report as an example of how obstacles can be overcome. With roughly one-third of the state’s low-income students, Chicago managed to outpace the rest of the state in gains made in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math — both significant milestones in academic preparedness.

Chicago has also seen an increase of 22 percentage points in its graduation rates over the last decade. Due in part to a focus on supporting freshmen success, more than two-thirds of the CPS senior class graduated last year.

“Real improvement in education requires a plan, talented educators, and time,” said Robin Steans, executive director of Advance Illinois. “It is up to us to provide the supports necessary to get every student world ready.”

For more information on “The State We’re In: 2014,” visit

Posted Nov. 21, 2014

Education in Illinois making slow progress, according to report | The Rock River Times

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

20th President - University of Illinois


The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on November 19  named
Timothy L. Killeen
the 20th president of the University of Illinois.

Timothy L. Killeen, 20th president of the University of Illinois.

President-elect's Reaction

“The University of Illinois, with its three distinctive world-class campuses, stands poised to build on its tremendous and ongoing history of accomplishment to envision and define the future of public comprehensive higher education. I will devote myself to this noble enterprise with every ounce of my energy and thank the Board for their confidence in me.”

University of Illinois names 20th president

SUNY Research Foundation President Timothy L. Killeen selected;
Acclaimed researcher also served as top administrator at NSF

CHICAGO, Ill. — Timothy L. Killeen, vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (SUNY), was named the 20th president of the University of Illinois on Wednesday, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees at its Jan. 15 meeting in Chicago.

Killeen, 62, who would succeed retiring President Robert Easter, brings the experience of more than three decades as a teacher, researcher and administrator in public higher education and in top leadership positions with national scientific research agencies.

His work at SUNY mirrors core missions of the University of Illinois – supporting pioneering research and scholarship across disciplines, and taking it to the marketplace to drive economic growth.

As president of SUNY’s Research Foundation, Killeen is chief executive officer of the largest, most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the nation, administering about $900 million annually across SUNY’s statewide network of 29 state-supported research campuses. Combined with his role as vice chancellor for research, he is at the center of SUNY’s strategy for research growth and works with campus leaders to increase basic, clinical and translational research.

He also chairs SUNY’s Patent and Inventions Policy Board, which seeks to promote economic development by turning research discovery into new businesses, products and services.

Killeen spent more than 20 years on the faculty and in administration at the University of Michigan, and served as assistant director for geosciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) before joining SUNY in 2012. The independent federal agency provides nearly a quarter of federal research funding for U.S. colleges and universities, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranks third among U.S. universities in NSF funding.

A leading researcher in geophysics and space sciences, Killeen earned his Ph.D. in atomic and molecular physics from University College London at the age of 23. In 2007, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which honors the world’s most accomplished engineers.

About the President-elect

Timothy L. Killeen has served since 2012 as vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation at the State University of New York, one of the nation’s largest higher education systems with 64 campuses, 465,000 students, 88,000 faculty and more than 7,600 degree and certificate programs.

As president of SUNY’s Research Foundation, Killeen heads the nation’s largest, most comprehensive university-connected research foundation, administering about $900 million annually across SUNY’s 29 state-supported research campuses. In his dual role as vice chancellor for research, he is at the center of SUNY’s strategy for research growth and works with campus leaders to increase basic, clinical and translational research.

Before joining SUNY, he served for four years as assistant director for the geosciences at the National Science Foundation. He also has served as Lyall Research Professor at the University of Colorado, as director and senior scientist for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and spent more than 20 years as a faculty member and researcher at the University of Michigan, where he also served as associate vice president for research.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007, and also is a member and past president of the American Geophysical Union, and a member of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Sciences.

A leading researcher in geophysics and space sciences, Killeen received his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at University College London, where he earned his doctoral degree in atomic and molecular physics at the age of 23.

His research has earned three achievement awards from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and he has received awards for teaching and research excellence from the University of Michigan College of Engineering. He has authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, along with more than 300 other publications and papers.

Killeen’s wife, Roberta M. Johnson, is executive director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association and a clinical professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the State University of New York at Albany. They have three children.

20th President - University of Illinois

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thank you to all my supporters


We tried very hard to get our message across.  But it was perhaps the wrong time.  Congratulation to Mr. Larson and Mrs. Giesecke.  Please do represent all of us.



Results from Boone County Election



Number of Precincts

Precincts Reporting
100.0 %

Vote For

Total Votes




On a happier note here are the results of two county wide referendums; these results are identical my vote on the issues.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

District #100 Proposition for Nov. 4th, 2014 ballot - YouTube

This presentation is from PASS  Parents Advocating for Students and Staff


Click on the following to view the “YOU Tube” clip:  District #100 Proposition for Nov. 4th, 2014 ballot - YouTube