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For immediate release
May 13, 2004

Statement of Janet Steiner, Chair of Illinois State Board of Education

The last five months we have witnessed both chambers of the General Assembly give thoughtful consideration to the Governor’s proposal to change the administration of education in Illinois.

In recent memory - there is nothing that has created as much discussion – or scrutiny of our educational system in Illinois. It is our sincere hope that the final compromise that is adopted by the legislature is one that goes beyond changing the administration of education and will eventually improve student performance and achievement.

Senators Miguel Del Valle and Dan Cronin under the leadership of Senate President Emil Jones held a rare committee of the whole to consider the Governor’s proposal and also visited suburban Chicago and southern Illinois where they hosted additional hearings.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has held several hearings where the administration of the teacher certification process was discussed as well as another where members considered the constitutionality of the Governor’s plan. The Speaker believes that changing the responsibilities of the board and creating a department of education could be unconstitutional and result in litigation, and instead offered several suggestions that maintain the agency and also provide continuity through staggered appointments of board members.

Illinoisans should be proud of the attention that the legislative branch has paid to this issue. While opinions varied, one thing was consistent, and that was that most members wanted change, and we respect their insight.

We are unsure how this compromise will proceed. However, we appreciate the Legislature’s diligent work on this issue.

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