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News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2003

STATEMENT OF ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF
EDUCATION CHAIRMAN RONALD J. GIDWITZ

Chicago - My term as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education has expired and the Governor is expected to appoint a new Chairman shortly. I will continue to serve as Chairman until the new appointment is made and I will remain a member of the board until my term expires in January 2005.

I am grateful for the privilege of having served as chairman since April 1999. During that time, my colleagues and I have made a number of accomplishments including:

  • Streamlined the agency –a reduction in headcount from 820 to 640 to more responsively, efficiently and cost-effectively support Illinois' school districts;
  • Brought more than $50 million in federal funds to Illinois education that otherwise would have been lost;
  • Developed and adopted a student-friendly plan to meet the requirements of the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB);
  • Recruited a world-class educator as State Superintendent – Dr. Robert Schiller – who is as an exceptional leader and advocate for Illinois public education;
  • Updated and improved Illinois’ assessment and accountability system; and
  • Advocated loudly and clearly to increase state funding for K-12 education.

However, we, the people of Illinois, have a long road ahead of us to truly make the education of our children second to none.

There is nothing more important in our society than our children. That's why I personally launched and funded the Students First Foundation (www.studentsfirst.us). I am honored that former U.S. Senator Paul Simon and thousands of individual citizens from across the state are working with Students First to protect the future of our children and the future of the state of Illinois.

As a Board member, President and Founder of the Students First Foundation, a parent and a private citizen who has invested decades in our children, I will continue to work with the State Board of Education, the General Assembly, the local schools and most importantly serve Illinois' 2.2 million schoolchildren.

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