I'm delighted to share that the Education Commission (ECS) of the States singled out Illinois for our outstanding work in education. At a conference earlier this month, I joined my colleagues, Jim Applegate of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Erika Hunt of Illinois State University at ECS's National Forum on Education Policy to receive the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation recognizing our work to improve the preparation and licensure of school principals.
The Illinois School Leader Task Force, established in 2007, brought together leaders from pre-K-12 schools, higher education, business and state agencies to develop policy recommendations. As a result of the task force's work, the legislature passed Public Act 096-0903 in 2011, which mandated that universities redesign their programs to align with policy recommendations aimed at increasing the quality and effectiveness of school leader preparation programs. All of this work will lead to higher quality candidates for P-12 principal preparation programs, and ultimately develop more instructional leaders who create powerful teaching and learning environments for educators and students. The National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of Chief State School Officers are among those who have also recognized Illinois for this important work, and I would like to again extend my thanks to all those who have been on this journey.
Additionally, ECS recently recognized Illinois for our New State Report Card, which shares information about schools' challenges and successes. Illinois' redesigned report card, which can be found at www.illinoisreportcard.com, is ranked as the top state report card by researchers and parents - Illinois is the only state to receive such recognition. The research report, "Rating States, Grading Schools: What Parents and Experts Say States Should Consider to Make Accountability Systems Meaningful," measures the accessibility, ease of understanding and adequacy of the data, which chose Illinois as the clear winner.
I am very proud of the work we do together in Illinois and feel that these awards recognize the collective leadership of our education stakeholder community and they are great reminders that when we work together we can greatly improve education for the students of Illinois.
Have a great week!