Three years ago, Advance Illinois released a report summarizing the current state of education in Illinois. That report, using data and maps to show just how widespread the challenges in funding, poverty, and achievement were across the state, was a crucial factor in the General Assembly passing the new Evidence-Based Funding model the following year. Advance Illinois has now released a follow-up report looking at how things have changed over the last two years.
Like the previous report, The State We’re In 2019 uses data from school districts and mapping to illustrate where Illinois schools are today. A few key points from the report are:
- Access to early childhood education for low-income students continues to be far short of what is needed
- Kindergarten readiness is now being measured, and the majority of students enter kindergarten are not fully prepared in all three developmental areas. While white students are generally better prepared than their peers from low-income households or families of color, less than one-third of white students across the state are fully prepared for kindergarten.
- Illinois student growth (improvement in proficiency) is among the leaders in the nation (sixth for math and eighth for reading between grades 3 and 8), but actual proficiency continues to lag the national average. Put another way, while Illinois is doing well at improving student performance, this growth is not fast enough nor far-reaching enough to overcome the early education deficits to prepare students for college and careers.
- Illinois ranks in the bottom 10 states for student access to school counselors. Access to counselors can be critical in preparing students for college and careers.
- More Illinois students are entering and completing college, but equity gaps persist.
- The Evidence-Based Funding model is working to direct more funding to those schools furthest from adequate funding, but the majority of districts are still well below 90% of adequacy.
You can download the report from Advance Illinois and check out the interactive maps to show how various measures have changed for each school district, including the ability to focus on a particular district’s performance.