Every child in every neighborhood across Illinois deserves access to a great public school.
But what does a “great public school” look like?
First and foremost, we need great teachers. Illinois is in the midst of a teacher shortage, leaving many schools scrambling to fill empty positions. Addressing this near-crisis requires a comprehensive approach that starts with getting more of our best and brightest to pursue this most essential profession, to compensating them well, supporting them fully, and having a diverse teacher workforce.
In addition to great teachers, there are a multitude of factors that go into having a “great public school.”
Illinois has made important strides in recent years to better define what excellence looks like and, increasingly, it is adding an equity lens to this effort. The State’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan is the foundation for assessing quality. The Illinois ESSA plan offers tremendous potential to transform how we think about “good” and “bad” schools by considering multiple measures of academic performance and school culture to develop a well-rounded snapshot.
Finally, without the right preparation and intervention, the 2020-2021 school year stands to put the continuity of Illinois students’ education even further at risk. Our state’s (and country’s) most vulnerable students stand to lose the most from the pandemic and are more likely to fall behind — and in some cases stay behind — if the right kind of planning doesn’t take place with their needs and challenges in mind.
Stand for Children identified evidence-based actions that school districts can take to keep the academic success and emotional well-being of students at the forefront as decisions are made ahead of the upcoming academic year.