Wednesday AM News: Arts get better picture, Glenbard contract, 11 indicted, Out-of-state loans cause hit, State sues lenders, More CPS grads going to college

Boost in state funding paints a better picture Tribune
For nearly two decades, state education officials set aside a paltry $500,000 a year to help spur arts education in Illinois public schools. But after a 2005 audit revealed that 30 percent of elementary students and 70 percent of high schoolers had no exposure to art, music, theater or dance, state education officials changed their tune.

Glenbard district agrees on contract Tribune
Glenbard High School District 87 teachers will receive an average 2.8 percent salary increase in each of the next five years as part of an agreement approved Monday by the school board.

11 indicted over kickbacks Tribune
Officials with two suburban school districts, a fire department and a Chicago-based non-profit agency were among 11 people indicted Tuesday on federal fraud charges, prosecutors said.

Student loan agency losses top $ 7 million Sun Times
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which offers student loans across the country, lost nearly $7.5 million on its portfolio last year.

State sues over student loan debts Sun Times
For 13 years, the law firm of Wexler & Wexler went after students who didn't pay off their loans on time. Partner Mitchell Wexler estimates the firm collected $45 million for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which backed the loans for the federal government and was responsible for collecting bad debt.

More CPS graduates going on to college Sun Times
The number of Chicago public school graduates going on to college is on a steady uptick, rising from 44 percent to 46 percent to 48 percent over the last three years, CPS officials revealed Wednesday.

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  • George,

    And yet Morton is failing to make AYP for the very same reason that other schools are failing to make AYP. Many of the students' families, for one reason or another, don't value academics or education so it is not stressed in the home. In fact, many of the students will leave high school before graduating in order to take paid work. The students whose parents do stress education, are, by and large, not attending the public school.

    Morton West has been unable to get a tax referendum passed in the last 3 elections. Why? One of the reasons is that when large numbers of people opt out of a public institution, that public institution loses public support. Another is people look at the test scores and wonder why they want to give more money to a failing school without some kind of a promise or commitment to rising test scores.

  • It may be irrelevant, but it is what was discussed most often on Berwyn's chat boards and at town meetings. And referenda are important because it usually takes more money to give teachers raises. Unless the state is willing to pony up more money (we'll see), local taxes is where the possibility of more revenue is.

    Looking at the stats, I see J. Sterling Morton West High School has 61% of its students living in poverty. The student body is 63.1% Hispanic, 31.4 European heritage, 3.5% African-American, 1.4% Asian. Ethnic makeup of the Berwyn population as a whole at the 2000 census was: Mexican 31%, other Latino 7.03%, Polish 12%, German 11.8%, Irish 11.1%, Italian 10.4%, and Czech 6.8%. Or to put it into racial terms, European derived 73.44%, Latin American 38.03%, African-American 1.3.

    So you might think, OK, maybe the European derived are older so their children are no longer in school. That doesn't seem to be born out by the poverty stats.

    About 6.2% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.

    It would seem that the student body is not entirely reflective of the community because of the range of private options.

    I'm not a fan of vouchers because I see it as a dumping of a public responsibility. I see Charters, as public schools that allow choice as a way of preventing vouchers and the consequent abandonment of the public school system. If Morton also had a Math and Science Academy type high school as part of its district, maybe all the parents whose kids are in private schools would choose for their children to go there and then maybe they'd support tax referenda.

  • Thanks for calling me a bigot. I appreciate it. Seriously, I see having options for the better performing students as a necessary part of any school district. Why? Because by keeping those children and their parents in the school district, instead of them going to private, you can get them to support referenda such that the schools don't wind up falling apart. That's where Morton is going to wind up if a referendum is not passed one of these years. And bad scores on those danged tests don't help pass referenda.

    I have no doubt that the conservatives would love to pass vouchers, a move I will fight politically as much as I can. I simply see well done Charter schools as a way to convince people not to bolt from the public system.

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