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Illinois Ranks in the Middle for Educational Success

A new education report gives Illinois good marks for preschool enrollment, kindergarten enrollment and post-secondary participation. (picjumbo_com/Pixabay)
A new education report gives Illinois good marks for preschool enrollment, kindergarten enrollment and post-secondary participation. (picjumbo_com/Pixabay)
January 18, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – New research suggests Illinois could be doing a better job preparing its kids for the future.

The annual "Chance-for-Success" index released by Education Week grades states based on 13 distinct factors that affect a person's opportunities from cradle to career. Illinois was given a grade of "B-minus" overall, with preschool enrollment, kindergarten enrollment and post-secondary participation among the areas of strength.

However Sterling Lloyd, assistant director of the Research Center at Education Week, notes the areas of weakness.

"Educational attainment for adults, steady employment and income – and in those areas, Illinois is not faring as well,” says Lloyd. “And students really need a strong economy to boost their success later in life. They may graduate, but they need to be all to find their opportunities for good jobs and good income."

Illinois ranked 23rd among states – and its "B-minus" grade is higher than the national average of "C-plus."

Lloyd notes that compared to data from 2008, the national score has risen by less than one point, now at 79 percent.

"With the grade of 'C-plus' for the nation, and with 24 states getting between a 'C-minus' and a 'C-plus,' there's a sense of mediocrity,” says Lloyd. “And given that the results have not improved much over time, there's a feeling the results are fairly stagnant. And so, new strategies, new approaches are worth trying."

The report found persistent regional disparities, with states faring better in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The largest barriers to success were found in the South and Southwest.

Lloyd says the data should be a chance for policymakers and educators in each state to compare their state's performance with others – and decide how to improve it.

"We're talking about a global economy these days, and every state now, every governor, is looking to attract companies really from around the world and trying to point out that their state has the top workforce,” says Lloyd. “That their residents have the skills that these companies need."

The highest grade awarded, an "A-minus," was given to Massachusetts.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL