Illinois governor signs education bills aimed at reducing student violence and improving reading skills
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed three education bills into law, reports the Chicago Tribune, that are aimed at reducing violence in schools and boosting student performance in math and reading. One of the bills provides for training kindergarten through third grade students in resolving conflicts without resorting to violence. The training was previously available only in grades four through twelve.
The other two bills are aimed at ensuring that students who lag behind academically can get a boost in the core areas of reading and math. According to Illinois State Board of Education officials, the state school code already mandates remedial help for the most struggling students, listing as options everything from tutoring to added class time and repeating a grade. One new bill essentially requires that if struggling students enroll in summer school, the school must emphasize reading and math during the classes.
The third bill requires schools to promote an hour of reading every day for students in kindergarten through third grade who test below grade level. The law does not specify, however, what exactly schools must do to promote reading. “There is a focus on making sure everyone, including students who are a little behind maybe, get that push in reading and math,” Quinn said.
Source: Chicago Tribune, 8/8/11, By Tara Malone
[Editor's Note: In June 2011, Legal Clips summarized a Chicago Tribune article reporting that Gov. Quinn had signed ambitious education reforms into law. The reforms will change how Illinois educators earn tenure and how districts remove ineffective teachers from the classroom, with seniority for the first time mattering less than performance. Federal education officials praised the legislation as a model for the nation. The measure also sets the table for a longer school day and school year in Chicago, which for years has had one of the nation’s shortest instructional days.]