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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2002

Federal turnaround causes school district problems: Schiller

The timing of a federal government decision to make some Illinois schools offer supplemental services under the new “No Child Left Behind” Act will make it almost impossible for the affected districts to comply, State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller said.

“Ultimately, these services will be very helpful to students,” Schiller said. “But right now, the inconsistency shown by the federal government will be greatly disruptive for local school administrators in Chicago and St. Anne.”

In early July, the federal Department of Education approved Illinois’ “No Child Left Behind” application that called for some schools to begin providing Supplemental Education Services in the 2003-2004 school year. Now the same federal officials say some Illinois schools – 25 in the City of Chicago and one in St. Anne (Kankakee County) -- must offer the services to students this year.

“Our staff has been in constant contact with the Education Department since the new federal legislation was signed by the President in January,” Schiller said. “We followed their instructions and made it clear to them that no Illinois districts would need to offer Supplemental Education Services until next school year under the plan outlined in our application.”

State officials are still discussing the issue both with federal officials and the affected districts and will do their best to comply with the new directives issued by the federal government, Schiller said.

“We should have been told sooner. The federal government approved our application, sent us money based on the application and we distributed it to Illinois school districts,” he said. “Now they change their mind. It’s bad planning on their part and causes immense problems for the two districts involved, which have already established budgets for the coming year.”

The No Child Left Behind Act requires standards-based testing of all schools and provides sanctions for schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on those tests. Illinois initiated the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests in 1999. High schools began administering the Prairie State Achievement Examination in 2001.

The Act says that schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years must provide parents the choice of another higher-performing school. After three consecutive years, schools must provide choice and Supplemental Education Services, such as tutoring. The Act also provides that schools stay this year in the category they were in as of January.

Using the first year of ISAT would place no schools in the category of being required to offer services beyond choice this year. High schools – with only two years of standards-based testing – would not even be in the category to provide choice until 2003-2004. State Board staff sought guidance from federal officials (no written guidance was available until very recently) and with their assurance prepared and submitted the state plan using those parameters.

Federal officials now tell the State Board that they must go back to using pre-standards tests (the former Illinois Goal Assessment Program tests) to determine the required offering of schools. That would mean as many as 26 schools, 12 of which are high schools, would have to offer Supplemental Education Services this school year.

Only Chicago and St. Anne would be affected and they have been notified by the State Board that, contingent on the final resolution of these issues with federal officials, they may have to offer these services this year.

For Supplemental Education Services, the State Board must approve a list of providers from which parents may choose. The State Board is in the process of setting criteria for providers and seeking proposals from those who wish to be considered.

The affected districts and schools are:

CARVER AREA HIGH SCHOOL
CRANE TECHNICAL PREP COMMON HS
FARRAGUT CAREER ACADEMY HS
HARPER HIGH SCHOOL
MARSHALL METROPOLITAN HIGH SCHOOL
ORR COMMUNITY ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL
TILDEN COMMUNITY ACADEMY HS
WELLS COMMUNITY ACADEMY HS
FLOWER VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
RICHARDS VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
MANLEY CAREER & PREP COMM ACAD HS
COLLINS HIGH SCHOOL
ATTUCKS ELEM SCHOOL
BETHUNE ELEM SCHOOL
CATHER ELEM SCHOOL
DOOLITTLE MIDDLE SCHOOL
FARADAY ELEM SCHOOL
FARREN FINE ARTS ELEM SCHOOL
HAMLINE ELEM SCHOOL
HOWLAND ELEM SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
MEDILL ELEM SCHOOL
POPE ELEM SCHOOL
TILTON ELEM SCHOOL
CARVER MIDDLE SCHOOL
MORTON ELEM CAREER ACADEMY
ST ANNE COMM HIGH SCHOOL

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777