Extreme Makeover: Illinois Schools Edition

Illinois is among the states in the nation with the highest percentage of schools in need of improvements.

Ever since the No Child Left Behind Act was implemented in early 2002, states have been required to establish definitions of "adequate yearly progress" for schools that receive any federal funding. If a school does not meet the adequate standards for two years in a row, it gets designated as a school "in need of improvement." 

We took data from the U.S. Department of Education to look at which schools make up the top of the list. Surprise, surprise, there's a familiar state on it. That's right, Illinois is in the top five of states with the most schools in need of improvement.

And, to be frank, the percentage of schools in need of improvement in Illinois is depressing. 


The views expressed in this post are those of Reboot Illinois and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch or its editors.

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Bruce Chalmers February 13, 2014 at 10:45 PM
ex and herc, why dont you two run for office together? im sure you could root out the source of all this corruption
Ex Jolietian February 13, 2014 at 10:51 PM
LOL... I'd miss the Patch !
Herc February 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Me too!
Kent Frederick February 14, 2014 at 12:07 AM
You couldn't pay me to home school my child. Besides the fact that I think my child is getting a better education than I got in the 60s and 70s (I would rather have Common Core than New Math), I need my 6 hours and 25 minutes a day of childfree living. And ex, teachers are no different than any other profession. There are teachers making 100K who are underpaid, while there are teachers making 45K who are overpaid. It's the same with sales, lawyers, plumbers, IT, doctors, and so on. Growing up, I had some terrific teachers. I also had teachers who were counting the days to retirement 10 years before I arrived in their classrooms.
Herc February 14, 2014 at 12:30 AM
Home schooling might not be for everyone but the home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. http://www.nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html
JT February 14, 2014 at 08:44 AM
I agree with you Herc. Common Core is destructive. Luckily Randy Hultgren looked into this, and just put a bill in the house to help curb this education killer. Many people refuse to really look into this, and just accept what the state is doing. I would suggest to check out www.stopcommoncoreIL.org. The data mining is already starting. Granddaughter in 1st grade, math question was what do you do after school hours? It was mixed in with other questions. My daughter caught it and finally asked the question "What does this have to do with math? People should be writing the answers with - non of your business - what does this have to do with the subject, or better yet ask the teachers out right. We need to get stopped. So much more I could write about this, but not enough room. Go to the website.
Tom RS. February 14, 2014 at 08:44 AM
Once we created the Department of Education in Washington D.C. we sealed our fate. Local control by the states was key to a good education. No Child Left Behind just dumbed it down more and now with Common Core you have hit bottom. Republicans and Democrats are both to blame for this mess.
Tom February 14, 2014 at 08:52 AM
Hey Ed, my property taxes in EP have gone up 50% in the past 6 years while my home value has gone down 30%. Have test scores gone up at all? It's called the law of diminishing returns. Yet the teachers have no problem using kids as a bargaining chip when they strike every 3 years. Whatever the government does the private sector can do better. Let parents have a choice on where their kids go to school...but the unions that run the schoos do want anything to do with that, they just want to line their pockets
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 09:15 AM
The dire State of Ilinois isn't worth sqaut these days. We've made our bed and must lay in it - and it's filled with bed-bugs and assorted vermin of our own introduction. Get out - if you can, and don't look back. Detroit, Flint, Gary, Cleveland, Michigan City, Auoroa, Joliet, Waukegan, Peoria, etc, etc; the entire Midwest is imploding. Head east or west, but, head out - if you can and as soon as you can.
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 09:19 AM
PS. 'Home-schooling', how... absurd. Either manifest arrogance on the part of the parents, or religious fanaticism/extremism motivated - it doesn't matter. Socially inept and unprepared for the real world are the 'best' results one could hope for by imposing such draconian measures on your offspring. Even if the prodigy score well on exams, I certainly wouldn't hire one such, nor want to work along side 'em. Home-schooling is sociopathic, at least if it exists on the North Shore - where the only viable public educational alternatives [apart from the handful of magnet schools in the city] in the dire State of Illinois exist.
Herc February 14, 2014 at 09:33 AM
@Tom I agree, for years I've wanted our tax dollars to follow the child! So if a parent sent their children to a private school, their tax dollars would follow the child. This would force the public schools to actually work and educate the child. Competition is a good incentive!
Ex Jolietian February 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM
I'm surprised that Quinn hasn't forced parents that home school to join the teachers union.. like they did with parents that get benefits to take care of disabled children. Supreme Court to hear arguments on forced unionization for home-care families. Harris v Quinn hits directly at the home. Illinois passed legislation that requires people who received Medicaid funding for their home care of a disabled family member to join a union and pay union dues, under the legal argument that accepting the Medicaid benefit makes them a state employee. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/21/supreme-court-to-hear-arguments-on-forced-unionization-for-home-care-families/
CheKeroauc February 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM
All the fault that we let in 15 million illegal aliens to this country and their children come to school unprepared and unable to read or write in English.
Lorriane February 14, 2014 at 10:25 AM
What people would find super shocking is the DRAMATIC increase in the number of children attending attending Dupage County schools that are at the poverty rate. Numbers are at, in some cases, triple to quadruple their levels in the last 8 years alone. What the heck is going on in Illinois?
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Public education, as it was known in the US before we advanced to a technologic based economy served a purpose. However, that was then and this is now. The 3-R's and a strong back no longer make you employable. Today it's mostly about STEM. The vast majority of 'students' in the US - certainly in Illinois, are virtually uneducable from practical viewpoints. Whether the insistence on programs like 'no child left behind', on bilingual programs and/or driving the system to the most common denominator, the 'system' of public education in Illinois and the nation has been so... dumbed down as to lead one to ask the question: 'why bother?' Apart from the words in our Declaration of Independence, where it states 'all men are created equal', there's no real truth to the expression. Not all people are equal - not economically, as relates to intelligence, nor in sporting skills / capacity, etc. With the advents of robotics, voice-recognition, the Internet, computerization, automation and the globalization of labor; there's simply no place for... the mediocre; and an educational system designed to and for the most common denominator is simply both a denail of reality and a waste of resources. We've already reverted to a feudal society. There are those who have and control capital, there are those who support the mechanisms of society and there are those who are [and/or will soon become] both superfluous and drains on resources. Though a little over a century ago perhaps 90% of the population was involved with agriculture, today it's 3%. Though we used to be a principally rural and agrarian society, we're now urban and either technology or services based. Textile mills that used to employ three thousand people now operate with 300 and that number is trending downward. Further/pending advances in technologies: driverless vehicles, robotics/automation and disintermediation at all levels, will render the majority of the population... superfluous and dependent on the largess of those with means. The so called 'middle-class' has imploded and real earnings - for most, have regressed to pre-1996 levels. Those who obfuscate the real issues - with such trivialities as unionization, when labor has already become a globalized commodity as any other commodity and where states under-cut each other with tax-incentives to attract and/or keep businesses, along with legislative devaluation of labor through 'right-to-work' laws, etc; all combine to lead us - inevitably, to the conclusion that there are simply too many people and too many who are - and shall continue to be, incapable of contributing to 'the greater good' - let alone sufficiently to even maintain themselves. While I'm no Luddite, I would caution readers that nothing short of a global pandemic drastically thinning the ranks of our species; we're facing an unprecedented challenge of what to do with the majority of the population. How will the eat? Where will they sleep? How will they be clothed? How will they gain access to medical care services? By whom and how will these basics of life be provided? Frankly, short of a pandemic of biblical proportions, there's no solution that is either palatable or politically feasible. So, unless you're a member of the '1%' [and have your private island to escape to], enjoy the gravy-train now and think about where you're going to run to when the fecal matter hits the oscilating mechanism. 'Home-schooling', what a joke! Unless you're teaching 'em carpentry, animal husbandry, essential agrarian functions, as well as shooting, archery and fishing skillsl; you may as well be sentencing 'em to... becoming human land-fill.
Herc February 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Bernard your ignorance of home schooling is showing. Did you know that parents of home schooled children have actual classrooms with other home schooled children. One parent might teach math and another science ect ect. That stereo type that your describing doesn't really exist. These children are well round and well educated. You might want to do some research on it before you make a statement of "Either manifest arrogance on the part of the parents, or religious fanaticism/extremism motivated - it doesn't matter. Socially inept and unprepared for the real world ".
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 10:51 AM
You might as well put your offspring in a plastic bubble - delude yourself all you want.
Ron Jaeger February 14, 2014 at 11:27 AM
It is a shame that we live in the 11th most expensive state for total taxes but our schools are sacrificing the education of our children by not providing solid basics vs ideology speak. The great world societies have each decayed from within. The USA began this decline in 1930 when the fundamentals of our society here-to-for: Judeo-Christian principles, building solid families and limited government. When We the People abdicate our rights and role government is willing to step in and take over. Until We the People begin to vote to take our rights back, the Republican and Democratic elitists will continue to 'direct us'.
Pedro B February 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Of course, the 'anti-Common Core' crowd provides links to sites that are most spouting off about the Obama/Ayers link, and how 'funding universal preschool is a bad thing' <groan>.
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 04:05 PM
We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We were the only industrial power left standing afer WW 2 and we q
Bernard Johnson February 14, 2014 at 04:14 PM
continued: quickly rested on our laurals. By the mid-1960's we'd begun adventures overseas and in buckled under to OPEC in 1973 - the same year we ended the draft and most Americans no longer had skin in the game. It's been steadily down-hill since then. Coincidentally, the last trade surplus that the US had was back in 1975! You don't stay afloat when you're awash in deficits for 40 years / consuming more than you produce and using smoke and mirrors to hide your implosion. The woefully lacking educational system in the US is but one symptom of the greater malaise. Most every family of means that I know on the North Shore who hasn't already done so are looking to send their kids either west of the Rocky Mountains, to the east-coast or out of the country for their university educations. Those who can are also off-shoring assets. Just as the Roman Empire halted at Hadrian's Wall and then imploded inward, the so called ' American Century' is long over. We've tipped the scales over to having those who do pay taxes support not only themselves, but , one other as well; and the ranks of the 'other' are growing. It's become the basic physics of a self-fulfilling dialectic. We have pushed ourselves to within the gravitational reach of a black-star and left ourselves with no way to remove its pull down into the abyss. Countires that let the jetsam and flotsam of their society dictate policy reap what they sow. From 'Citizen's United' on the far right, to the tens upon tens of millions of multi-generationally dependent on the largess of others; we've made our bed - infested with vermin that it is. Sleep tight.
Phaedrus Pirsig February 14, 2014 at 05:10 PM
Ed Crotty, less cheerleading and more thinking. Illinois is the most liberal state in the union and Chicago has the highest paid public school teachers in the country. How did you rationalize that into the fault of the Republican Party? Bernard your posts are too long.
Ty Conderoga February 14, 2014 at 05:34 PM
Some kids I know are off Friday and Monday. Teacher took-off Thursday and Tuesday to make a nice 6-day weekend. I guess Summer, 3-week Christmas break and 2-week Spiring break aren't enough. And a pension, to boot. Teachers today only concern themselves with the big Terra Nova or whatever test; after that it's all movies and busy work. Teachers just hand-out homework for the parents to teach the kids.
Ty Conderoga February 14, 2014 at 05:36 PM
Lincoln Way spends more than $11,000 per kid/per year. University of Arizona in-state tuition is $9K/year.
Bernard Johnson February 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM
And Arizona State has THE largest student body of any univeristy in the country - might was well take your core first two years of classes on the Internet at Az-State, you're sure not going to get to know a professor and your lectures [in which you are but one of hundreds and hundreds of students] are likely to be 'taught' by a TA. Overall, Az-State is a waste of money - in-state and/or non-resident. Az-State has over 76,000 undergraduates and graduate students. Sadly, Az-State is the shape of most public university formats to come.
Bernard Johnson February 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM
CHICAGO — This is now the city of big debt, where each of Chicago's 2.7 million residents — from infants in diapers to senior citizens on fixed incomes — is on the hook for about $20,000 in long-term pension promises and bond obligations. Like the relentless snow clogging the city's streets, it just keeps piling up. Chicago isn't bankrupt Detroit, junk-status Puerto Rico or New York at the brink of insolvency in 1975. Yet the city of gleaming skyscrapers along Lake Michigan's shore tripled its debt load from 2002 to 2012, as it ignored annual pension payments and borrowed for capital and operating expenses. A $590 million payment for retirement obligations is due next year, threatening cuts in everything from police to garbage collection, a tax increase, or both. The rescue Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs will have to come from another financial leaky boat, the state of Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating among states. Lawmakers in Springfield, the capital, on Dec. 3 approved retirement-benefit cuts to address a $100 billion state pension shortfall. Not, though, for Chicago. "The legislature and the city council and the mayor need to come to fiscal reality and recognize this is not sustainable," said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a nonprofit research group based in Chicago. "They've created a bigger problem down the road, and now we are down that road. And there is very little road left." The city is about to pile on more borrowing, worsening its status as the biggest carrier of per-capita debt among the nation's most-populous cities. Chicago plans to sell $650 million of bonds in the coming weeks, adding to liabilities that soared in the past decade. In the 10 years starting in 2002, the city increased its bonded debt by 84 percent, to $7.8 billion, according to the Civic Federation. That added $1,320 to the tab of each city resident. Among the 14 major cities surveyed by the group, only New York recorded a higher per-capita increase, $1,555 in that period. The average jump was $324. At the same time, Chicago's per-capita pension obligations for teachers, police, firefighters, transit workers and other employees almost quadrupled, topping $11,800 in fiscal 2012. The combined debt burden from pensions and borrowing reached almost $19,600 per person in 2012, the federation said. It took years for Illinois lawmakers to address pension shortfalls. Chicago doesn't have the luxury of a long debate. Like all other municipalities in the state, it must make higher retirement-fund payments next year, as required by a 2010 law. "The work is far from finished," Emanuel said in a December press release after lawmakers approved the bill cutting state pension benefits, saving Illinois an estimated $145 billion during the next 30 years. Chicago is "standing on the brink of a fiscal cliff." Moody's Investors Service made a similar observation in July when it cut the city's grade three steps to A3, six levels below the top, and tagged its general obligations with a negative outlook. A reduction of that magnitude was unprecedented for a U.S. city as populous as Chicago, according to Moody's data since 1990. The New York-based ratings company cited "large and growing pension liabilities and accelerating budget pressures" stemming from them. "Chicago is on the road to Detroit," declared the headline on a Feb. 5 editorial in the Chicago Tribune. Source: Chicago Tribune, Feb. 15, 2014
RL February 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Considering each state sets its own passing rate and assessment under NCLB, this reporter is either intentionally misleading or just hasn't done any research. This list comparing states is comparing apples and oranges. It amazes me how people with no knowledge of any of this have such strong opinions.
Pedro B February 15, 2014 at 03:20 PM
Phaedrus> You feel IL is the most liberal state in the union?!? Apparently you haven't traveled much, even within the state. Without greater Chicago, it barely qualifies. Here's a question for you- what's a fair salary for an experienced public school teacher in an expensive metro area(?)
Phaedrus Pirsig February 15, 2014 at 05:25 PM
Pedro, Progressive politics rule the roost in Illinois because of Chicago, and the rest of the conservative state must suffer under it's well intentioned but destructive values. So Ed's comment, which I think was pointed Federally, made little sense. I have no problem with the salaries, just the voting in of politician's that promise unreasonable pension obligations that bankrupt the state. Pension's that want to tax my hard earned non-pensioned finances to unreasonable levels. They are talking of doubling property taxes because of it. Pedro do want your neighbors property taxes doubled?
George Murphy February 15, 2014 at 08:45 PM
BOTTOM LINE: (And after reading these posts) we have ruined this great gift of a nation. All of our cities, farmland, waterways and other resources are on a course of destruction. Nothing against the posts - they're very good; however, the Lord spoke of the destruction of the Nation of Israel when his laws and statutes were not adhered to by the people. It was not really punishment; rather it was slow demise because the people were cutting off their only life line. The prophets were constantly warning them that their homes would become haunts for jackals, their fields would dry up, and eventually they would be driven out of their own land by foreigners. America is right there. Look at what we once had, and now look at what we no longer have as a result of our unfaithfulness. Recommend


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