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Koch For State Supe

Image002The Gov announced Chris Koch for State Supe today -- not sure if that's good, bad, or indifferent news.  Here are some of the details:

"Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) named Dr. Christopher Koch to serve as the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Koch, who has been with ISBE since 1994, served as Interim Superintendent since December 2006, and was selected to lead the agency after a national search. The State Superintendent serves as the chief education officer in Illinois for elementary and secondary schools."

Gov. Blagojevich
announces Dr. Christopher Koch

as new State School
Superintendent

 

Interim superintendent
selected to lead agency after nationwide search;

Governor reappoints five board
members

 

SPRINGFIELD
– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the Illinois State
Board of Education (ISBE) named Dr. Christopher Koch to serve as the State
Superintendent of Education. Dr. Koch, who has been with ISBE since 1994,
served as Interim Superintendent since December 2006, and was selected to lead
the agency after a national search. The State Superintendent serves as the
chief education officer in Illinois
for elementary and secondary schools.

“The
State Board of Education made the right choice when it named Chris Koch today the
new State Superintendent of Schools. Chris and I share the same belief that one
of the most important functions of state government is providing children with
the best possible education,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Our schools have
been chronically underfunded for decades. Our Helping
Kids Learn
plan is not just an investment in schools, it’s an
investment in our future and in our children. Chris is the right person to lead
our schools as we propose historic funding increases that will improve the
quality of our education system, while raising the bar for accountability and
building needed infrastructure.”

 

“I am
excited about the possibilities ahead and the difference we can make in children’s
lives,” said Superintendent Koch. “Improving education in Illinois requires
consistency and resolve, and I know this Board and Gov. Blagojevich understand
that. I am delighted to be working with them to deliver for our schools.”

 

Among
the priorities for Dr. Koch and the State Board of Education is to implement
the Governor’s Helping Kids Learn plan
which will invest $10 billion in new education funding over the next four years
so that school districts will have the money they need for things like
replacing old textbooks, repairing schools, and even building new schools to
ease overcrowding.  Helping Kids Learn boosts funding by an unprecedented $1.5 billion in Fiscal
Year 2008. 
Under the plan:

 

  • General State Aid to schools
         will increase by $800 million to $6,058 per student;
  • An increase
         of $200 million will boost the state’s reimbursement rate for
         special education teachers – the first increase districts have seen
         since 1985;
  • An increase
         of $153 million will fully fund ‘mandated categorical’
         programs like special education and transportation;
  • An additional
         $69 million will accelerate implementation of Preschool for All and additional resources will be made
         available for school districts that provide full-day kindergarten;
  • Underperforming
         schools will share $100 million in new support for after school tutoring,
         curriculum and textbook enhancements, longer school days or other proven
         strategies that raise student achievement;
  • And Illinois’s
         deteriorating school buildings will find relief in a $1.5 billion capital
         construction plan for projects to improve and upgrade classrooms and
         schools. 

 

Dr. Koch has
been with ISBE since 1994, serving in various capacities, including Chief
Education Officer from 2002 to 2003. Prior to his appointment as Interim
Superintendent, Dr. Koch served as Assistant Superintendent for Special
Education. In that role, he ensured the continuation of federal Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding to Illinois without conditions, corrected
compliance issues at the state and local level, implemented a performance-based
accountability system for special education, established public reporting of
performance data for school districts, and promoted parent and school district
partnerships.

 

Dr. Koch also has
experience as a special educator. He taught in four states in various settings,
including an Outward Bound program, a college preparatory school, a youth
detention center, a psychiatric hospital, and a church-sponsored day school. In
addition to teaching and his work at ISBE, Dr. Koch worked at the U.S. Department
of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education. There he
administered programs in correctional education and School-to-Work (STW)
transition. In his initial years at ISBE, he helped secure STW funding for Illinois, including Chicago.

 

“Dr.
Koch brings a strong education background and diverse resume, that includes
being a classroom teacher, as well as an administrator on the state and
national level,” said Chairman Jesse H. Ruiz. “His experience and
commitment to the students of Illinois
make him a perfect fit for the Superintendent’s position. In his time as
interim superintendent, and even before as Director of Special Education for
ISBE, he has shown the leadership qualities the board feels it needs to
continue its efforts to improve educational opportunities for all.”

 

An Illinois native, Dr. Koch is a product of Illinois public schools, having graduated from Brown County
High School in Mt.
Sterling, Illinois, and from
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
He obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Policy and
Leadership from George Washington University
in Washington, D.C.

 

In addition to the
selection of a new State Superintendent, Gov. Blagojevich announced he has
asked five board members to continue their service through 2011. Those members
include Chairman Ruiz, Dr. Andrea Brown, Dr. David Fields, Edward Geppert, Jr.,
and Dr. Vinni Hall.  The terms of board members, Dean Clark, Brenda Holmes,
Joyce Karon and Dr. Christopher Ward expire in 2009.

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