“Illinois PTA has long supported equitable and adequate funding, highly qualified educators, local control, and educating the Whole Child. We were please to collaborate with the other stakeholders to ensure family engagement was included as a vital piece of Vision 20/20. Engaging families in the educational process effectively increases student achievement as well as raising the graduation rate. This is a win-win for children, families, business, and communities across the state.” Peg Staehlin, President, Illinois PTA
The uniting purpose shared across zip codes and political party lines in Illinois is the overwhelming belief that public education plays a defining role in ensuring equal opportunity. It is our collective duty to do all we can to guarantee every student, no matter his or her demographic or geographic identity, has equal access to a quality education. Public educators believe public education works. They reject the premise that education in Illinois has failed, but recognize its impact has not been equitably delivered to all student populations and that there are opportunities for continuous improvement. Now is the time to act.
Our vision forward is clear. We believe the key to continuous improvement in public education relies on the wisdom and innovation of public educators who work with students every day. This is a continuous process. Educators care about the future of each and every student and for the opportunity to teach and shape the next generation. Through the Vision 20/20 process, four areas for prioritization emerged: highly effective educators, 21st century learning, shared accountability, and equitable and adequate funding.
HIGHLY EFFECTIVE EDUCATORS
The quality of teachers and school leaders is the greatest predictor of student achievement schools can influence. By attracting, developing, and retaining our state’s best educators, we can have a profound impact on student learning.
21ST CENTURY LEARNING
For success in life, students need more than knowledge of math and reading. It is time to expand the definition of student learning, commit to the development of the “whole child,” and invest in policies proven to link all schools to 21st century learning tools.
A quality education for all Illinois students cannot be ensured without the collaboration, compromise, and hard work of both educators and legislators. With that in mind, it is necessary to expand educator responsibility in the legislative process, create a
shared accountability model, and restructure mandates to allow more local district flexibility.
EQUITABLE AND ADEQUATE FUNDING
All students in Illinois are entitled to a quality education. It is our duty to ensure our students have access to all necessary resources by improving equity in the funding model, appropriating adequate dollars for education, and allowing local school districts the autonomy needed to increase efficiency.
Educators understand the importance of statewide education policy. However, that policy should be crafted to provide districts the flexibility and autonomy to best meet the needs of the students they serve. Statewide, process-specific mandates in education, similar to over-regulation in the business world, do not result in the innovation needed to improve education and do not recognize the state’s diversity. We believe educators should be held to the highest standards and be given the flexibility to apply their experience and knowledge to match local needs in order to best support each individual student.
The role of family engagement in Vision 20/20 can be found in detail in the Policy Brief.
For more information visit IllinoisVision2020.org.