Great Public Schools Criteria for IllinoisGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Illinois.
Readiness to Learn
- State Policy: Illinois requires districts to offer the same number of hours per year for full-day kindergarten and first grade. Districts are not required to offer full-day kindergarten and children are not required to attend.
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: Illinois requires all districts to offer 4 hours per day of full-day kindergarten.
- Funding: Illinois provides more funding for full-day kindergarten than for half-day kindergarten.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
- Class Size. Legal Basis: 1: 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/2-3-51. Enacted 1997.
2: 105 ILL. COMP. STA. 5/2-3.134. Enacted 2004
A Reading Improvement Block Grant Program authorizes monies to improve reading instruction. Schools that are on the State Board of Education Early Academic Warning List or the academic watch list are eligible to participate in the reading improvement block grant program.
Current Average Elementary School Class Size: 22.3
- School Safety. Illinois' anti-bullying statute requires every district’s student discipline policy to include early intervention procedures based upon available community-based and district resources. Also, the state of Illinois' Safe to Learn Program gives money to districts for safety and violence prevention programs. The state also used some creative approaches to raising additional money like Illinois' Violence Prevention Authority that created a special license plate with an increased rate.
School funding systems must provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding.
Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funded at their authorized levels.
- Illinois has one of the ten most regressive state tax systems in the country.
Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States (PDF, 127pp) (ITEP, 2003)
- Illinois' school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations.
Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations (PDF, 62pp) (NEA, 2003)
NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps
The Illinois Education Association plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps to reauthorize funding for implementation of a new principal coaching program, and turn pilots for teacher induction programs into funded support for new teacher mentoring. They also plan to work with the state board to employ growth as a condition for meeting AYP under NCLB, and advance legislation that will mandate mentoring for new superintendents.
Recruitment and Retention
Illinois has state policies that support the Illinois Visiting International Teacher Certificate, Illinois Teacher Incentive Program, and Mathematics or Science Teacher Scholarship Program for minority and disadvantaged teacher preparation candidates. A Quality Teacher Incentive and Mentoring Law enables districts to receive funds for developing and /or expanding teacher mentoring programs. In addition, A Return to Teaching in Subject Shortage Area Program has been established to recruit retired teachers.
State-supported recruitment initiatives: The Illinois Visiting International Teacher Certificate allows districts to implement recruitment programs outside the United States to locate and hire qualified teachers. The certificate is valid for three years and is non-renewable.
Scholarship programs: Illinois offers five scholarship programs geared toward attracting and retaining minority and disadvantaged teacher preparation candidates: Illinois Teacher Incentive Program; ITEACH Teacher Shortage Scholarship; Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarship Program; Mathematics or Science Teacher Scholarship Program; and Illinois Future Teacher Corp Program. Source: 23 IL ADC 2763.10 Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, 110 § 947/52, 23 IL ADC 2762.10, 2762.20, 2762.30 and 2762.40, 23 IL ADC 2772.300, 23 IL ADC 2764
For hard-to-staff schools or subject areas: A Quality Teacher Incentive and Mentoring Law allows teachers to receive a $1000 signing bonus and enables school districts to receive funds for developing and/or expanding teacher mentoring programs. In addition, the Grow Your Own Teacher Act prepares highly skilled, committed teachers who will teach in hard-to-staff schools, and a Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois offers $5000 per year for four years of college in exchange for agreeing to teach in a poor or low-performing school for five years.
Teaching opportunities for retired teachers: A Return to Teaching in Subject Shortage Area Program is an avenue for certain retired teachers to remain in retirement and continue to receive their benefits while being employed in a designated subject shortage area.
40 ILCS 5/16-150.1
Statewide teacher retention-related policies: Illinois offers an induction and mentoring program that gives mentors and beginning teachers systematic opportunities for contact with each other so that new teachers will receive professional and social support in the school environment.
Ill. Admin. Code tit. 23, § 25.910