CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard says the school has met a budget milestone.
He told The Southern Illinoisan Editorial Board on Monday that for the first time in several years SIU has been able to enter the next fiscal year with a budget equal to the previous year. University officials had been bracing for another 5 percent cut, but instead were able to convince state lawmakers to reinstate funding at the previous year's level. The school's budget will be $203 million.
Poshard also discussed enrollment. He says it's unrealistic to think the school's declining enrollment will turn around. But Poshard says he sees evidence enrollment is moving in the right direction. He says he has confidence Chancellor Rita Cheng will accomplish the task.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - An East St. Louis program aimed at helping at-risk students is celebrating after every high school senior enrolled in the program graduated and was accepted to college.
Pathways began in 2011, working with students in sixth grade through high school. There are 168 participants, including this year's six graduates.
The program at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis focuses on academics. Director Angela Whitlow tells the Belleville News-Democrat she'll continue to work with the graduates to help them navigate paperwork, registration and financial aid issues.
Seventeen year old Paul Graham will be a first-generation college student when he begins studying in a pre-veterinary program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this fall.
He says his mom is proud.
Less than two-thirds of East St. Louis students graduate from high school.
The Illinois State Board of Education has released the state's first set of math courses under the new common core standards.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon and the board announced the curriculum for 6th through 12th grade classes on Thursday. The package of coursework is aimed at reducing remedial math needs for college-bound students and better preparing students for the workforce.
State officials say the new courses will be available this fall and teachers can adapt the units as needed.
Missouri education officials have also signed on to the common core standards, Republican state lawmakers want to rescind that decision.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has rejected tough new evaluation standards for school principals and administrators.
The House voted 82-76 to defeat the measure Wednesday, one of Republican House Speaker Tim Jones' top education priorities.
This marks the second defeat of legislation to impose evaluations based largely on student achievement. Previous versions of the bill would have subjected teachers to the evaluation standards, but that provision was removed from this bill in an effort to pass the measure.
The evaluations would have started in the 2014-15 academic year and would've included multiple measures and be conducted at least annually. School personnel would have been classified on a four-point scale ranging from highly effective to ineffective.
The new Common Core education standards are meeting local resistance before they've even been implemented in Missouri.
About 150 people in the Lindbergh School District attended an informational meeting held last night. But the state education official was heckled while she tried to explain the new standards. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Maureen Clancy-May was met with calls to "tell the truth" and questions about using kids as a science experiment.
Missouri is one of 45 states that have adopted the Common Core standard, a set of national goals for reading, writing and math skills.
Many at last night's meeting wanted to know why the state Legislature wasn't involved in the decision to adopt the standard.
Legislatures in several states, including Missouri, are now debating a repeal.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials are having statewide meetings to talk to the public about a new uniform set of benchmarks for math, reading and writing.
The gatherings will get started at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Florissant, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Marceline, Camdenton, Warrensburg and Kansas City.
The new Common Core standards replace a hodgepodge of educational goals that varied wildly from state to state. The federal government was not involved in the state-led effort to develop them but has encouraged the project.
The only states not to adopt the standards are Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia. Minnesota adopted the reading but not the math standards.
Backers say they will better prepare students for college and careers. But critics worry they'll be costly to implement and nationalize public schools.
Cuts in the classroom are coming to the East St. Louis School District. Teachers layoffs were announced during Thursday night's packed school board meeting.
In all, 69 teachers in District 189 will lose their jobs. Five elementary school principals and two middle school principals will also be cut.
East St. Louis is just the latest in a long list of metro-east school districts forced to make the cuts because of state and local budget issues.
But the budget proposed by Governor Pat Quinn would cut education spending by more than $300 million.
Many Illinois school districts are already operating on deficits after the state failed to fully fund its obligations for the past two years. Virtually every metro-east district is laying off teachers in anticipation of less state funding next year. Some are cutting sports programs and closing schools.
St. Clair County schools superintendent Susan Sarfaty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "Districts are no longer cutting fat from their budgets — they’re cutting bone." Sarfaty says "there's no more fat to cut."
Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.
The earlier government estimate of 1 in 88 comes from a study that many consider more rigorous. It looks at medical and school records instead of relying on parents.
For decades, autism meant kids with severe language, intellectual and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. But the definition has gradually expanded and now includes milder, related conditions.
The new estimate released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would mean at least 1 million children have autism.
The number is important — government officials look at how common each illness or disorder is when weighing how to spend limited public health funds.
It's also controversial.
The new statistic comes from a national phone survey of more than 95,000 parents in 2011 and 2012. Less than a quarter of the parents contacted agreed to answer questions, and it's likely that those with autistic kids were more interested than other parents in participating in a survey on children's health, CDC officials said.
Still, CDC officials believe the survey provides a valid snapshot of how many families are affected by autism, said Stephen Blumberg, the CDC report's lead author.
The study that came up with the 1-in-88 estimate had its own limitations. It focused on 14 states, only on children 8 years old, and the data came from 2008. Updated figures based on medical and school records are expected next year.
"We've been underestimating" how common autism is, said Michael Rosanoff of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group. He believes the figure is at least 1 in 50.
There are no blood or biologic tests for autism, so diagnosis is not an exact science. It's identified by making judgments about a child's behavior.
Doctors have been looking for autism at younger and younger ages, and experts have tended to believe most diagnoses are made in children by age 8.
However, the new study found significant proportions of children were diagnosed at older ages.
Dr. Roula Choueiri, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said she's seen that happening at her clinic. Those kids "tend to be the mild ones, who may have had some speech delays, some social difficulties," she wrote in an email. But they have more problems as school becomes more demanding and social situations grow more complex, she added.
District 118 will lay off six teachers and 20 staff members. The state of Illinois owes the district nearly two-million dollars.
In Highland, several teachers are being let go, but the specifics haven't been released.
Earlier this week, officials with Belleville District 201 and the Collinsville School District announced layoffs.