Misguided Attack on ISBE
By Scott Shelby
Governor Rod Blagojevich delivered his State of the State address,
he laid the blame for problems with
Illinois education squarely at
the feet of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). “The
Illinois State Board of Education is defined by mismanagement and
misplaced spending,” the governor said.
Worst of all, he said, “Illinois
children are paying the biggest price. While the State Board
cripples local school districts with thousands of pages of rules
and regulations, only 46 cents of every dollar is spent in the
classroom.” The state could realize an enormous savings, the
governor said, by eliminating ISBE.
“By taking these steps, we believe
the state can save $1 billion over the course of four years to
reinvest in the classroom,” Blagojevich said. According to a
press release from his office dated the same day as the speech,
January 18, his new Department of Education would operate at 80 %
of ISBE’s budget and 60 % of the Board’s staffing level.
There are problems with the
governor’s proposal, though, as the ISBE is at pains to point
out. ISBE has experienced nearly a forty-percent cut in staffing
during the last three budget years. If the Board is “defined by
mismanagement and misplaced spending”, they are certainly not
Blagojevich asserted that “the
State Board cripples local school districts … with rules and
regulations” but neglected to mention that the Illinois General
Assembly and the governor himself decide how ISBE spends its
money. ISBE is responsible only for administering the budget in
accordance with legislative decrees. Who, then, is responsible if
“only 46 cents of every dollar is spent in the classroom”?
The General Assembly’s suspension
of federally mandated special education standards so that they
cannot be incorporated into the Administrative Code even though
the standards are enforced by federal court order is just one
example of the bewildering regulatory maze ISBE must negotiate to
fulfill its charge. ISBE did not create this maze, they merely
navigate the rules handed down by the legislature.
ISBE currently operates on general
funds of only $49 million dollars annually. If the governor’s
proposed Department of Education would cost 80 % as much, then
only 20% of $49 million ($9.8 million) would be saved under his
plan, adding up to $39.2 million over four years. That’s a far
cry from the $1 billion over four years Blagojevich said his
proposal would save. And that analysis assumes that the
transition from the current system would cost nothing.
The corrupt administration that
preceded Blagojevich certainly left a budgetary minefield for the
current governor to negotiate, and in tough economic times tough
decisions must be made. But his proposal to eliminate the ISBE is
misguided at best. The governor makes promises his plan appears
unable to keep, and his attack on the ISBE appears off-target.
School districts are responsible
for planning course curricula and evaluating the qualifications
and performance of current and prospective teachers under
guidelines set by the ISBE. These teachers labor under budgets
determined not by the ISBE, nor by their local districts, but
instead by the governor and the General Assembly. So whose fault
is it that Johnny can’t read?
UIS MIG named best
By Jonathan Meyer
For three days, students from UIS
participated in Model Illinois Government at the Illinois State
Capitol. Students from many campuses all across the state took
part in this government simulation.
MIG occurs once per year in
Springfield. During this simulation, college students take on the
roles of state legislators, judges, and other governmental
While most of the bills debated in
the legislature simulation come from those previously discussed in
the real life Illinois legislature, students are also allowed to
submit their own.
The event’s main focus is on
teaching the participants how Illinois government works. No laws
passed have any bearing on actual government policy.
Last Thursday, UIS students ran a
simulation of their own, in order to prepare for work at the
Capitol from Friday to Sunday. Here they debated three bills.
One was on universal healthcare and another on racial profiling.
After this, a fictitious bill was
introduced that required all LRH residents to lock their doors if
performing a sexual act. This bill was eventually amended to
include every room on campus.
During the course of this
pre-simulation simulation, mock legislators took full advantage of
their opportunity to offer any number of amendments, both serious
and humorous in nature, to the proposed bills.
Several UIS students attended MIG
for the first time this year. All participants had an enjoyable
“I decided to go this year because
I’m fascinated by politics,” said Sophomore Capital Scholar, Ben
Gurga served on the Transportation
Committee. He did not propose any legislation himself, but did
enter into a number of debates with his fellow congressmen and
congresswomen. “The higher up positions are typically given to
those who have been in MIG at least once before,” said Gurga.
Several returning members from UIS
gained higher office. Dan Kovats was chosen to be governor and
Jason Stuebe, the president of the UIS SGA, became the President
of the Senate.
First year member, UIS Freshman
Brianna Hudkins also obtained the office of Comptroller for
herself. She said her favorite part of the whole event was
“leading a bill for the republican side on the floor.” This was
especially meaningful for Hudkins because it showed that “the
minority leader had such confidence in [her]”, even though it was
her first year.
Sophomore Capital Scholar Bryant
Hitchings also attended MIG for the first time this year. He
acted as a Democrat from Joliet and was elected Majority Whip.
That immediately put Hitchings in the center of a great deal of
He was also nominated for the
Outstanding Committee Member award. However, he did not win the
“I didn’t go last year because,
actually, I didn’t even know about MIG until after it had already
finished,” said Hitchings.
Those wishing to get involved in
MIG in the future should contact Carly Hawkins and attend meetings
when preparations for next year’s simulation begin. Preparation
for MIG includes reading over bills, preparing arguments and
In spite of the work involved, UIS
students who participated this year had very positive opinions of
the simulation. “I think everyone should be in MIG at least
once. It’s a great learning experience, especially for those
interested in politics,” said Hitchings.
Spring Volunteer Naturalist Training
over 6,000 school children visit the garden for guided hikes and
programs. The number of volunteers available to help with such
activities is limited. On Thursday, April 15 Lincoln Memorial
Garden will hold its spring naturalist volunteer training from
9A.M. – 3P.M at the Nature Center (2301East Lake Dr). Call Sally
at 529-1111 to register or for more information.
UIS Alumni Association to sponsor lunchtime lecture series
The U of I
Alumni Association at UIS will sponsor A Taste of UIS:
Distinguished Faculty/Alumni Lunchtime Lectures, a series of three
monthly presentations to be held at Maldaner’s Upstairs, 222 South
Sixth St., Springfield. The programs are open to the public;
however, reservations are required. Remaining presentation dates
include March 24 and April 28. Each of these programs includes a
hot buffet lunch that begins at 11:45 a.m. Presentations begin at
12:10 p.m. and, along with the Q&A session, are over by 12:50 p.m.
Cost for each program is $18 per person, $13 for Alumni
Association members and their guests. Reservations should be made
no later than one week prior to each lecture.
To make reservations for any of
these programs, call Alumni Relations at (217) 206-7395, register
www.uiaa.org/spfld/, or e-mail
3 positions for
summer ecology camp counselors at Lincoln Memorial Garden are
needed. Requirements include a minimum of 1 year of college,
experience with children, and a basic knowledge of science. A
high level or energy and creativity and previous camp or outdoor
education experience are recommended. Salary is $7.25 an hour
(40hr/week) from June 7-July 30, 2004. If interested contact Sally Patterson at 529-1111
or forward resume, cover letter and 3 references by April 30 to
Lincoln Memorial Garden 2301 East Lake Dr. Springfield, IL 62707.
annual “UIS Cares”
The Office of
Student Volunteers and Service Learning will sponsor the 2nd
annual UIS Cares event on Saturday, March 27. It is a half-day
community service event in which UIS students, staff, faculty,
alumni, and friends take on community service project in
partnership with a community-based organization. This year UIS
will partner with Washington Middle School, 2300 E. Jackson.
Volunteers will meet at WMS on the day at 8:30a.m. and focus on
landscaping. Donations of supplies would also be appreciated.
For further information or to sign up, contact Karen Cotterman at
Junior High Girls
Horizons in Math, Science and Technology
is event that will take place at UIS on March 20th. This event is
open to 6/7/8th grade girls. They will have a career fair with
professionals ranging from firefighters to attorneys presenting.
It will be hands-on and there is an adult track as well. Admission
is limited to 250 girls. There is a $10 fee. For more details go
to the following website:
http://aauw-il.org/springfield/#eyh or contact Karin
Cotterman, Program Coordinator for Student Volunteers and Service
Learning at 206-7716.
Prize money for student scholars
The Illinois State Historical Society invites Illinois high school
students to participate in an essay contest about Abraham Lincoln
and the Civil War era. Essays should be between 1,000 and 1,500
words with an annotated bibliography and suggestions for further
reading. The focus of the essay should be on Abraham Lincoln or a
significant event in the Civil War period in Illinois. The winner
will be awarded an award of $1,000, plus a certificate at the
Banquet of the Illinois History Symposium in December 2004. For
more information, call Tom Teague at 525-2781, or visit the
Society’s web site at
www.historyillinois.org. The deadline for 2004 is May
Due to the increased cost
associated with issuing and maintaining the Value Card system, it
has become necessary to increase the price of the Value Card to
$5.00. This price increase will be effective March 2, 2004.
Students, Faculty, or staff; you do not need to purchase a Value
Card if you have your i-card. Please contact the UIS ID Center
(206-7718 or by e-mail at
in PAC 108 with any questions, or if you have problems with your
Needed at the
Auditorium Ticket Office
We are always seeking applicants for clerical extra help.
apply online. Suggested reading list in preparation for
the Secretary/Office Systems Assistant knowledge test:
Reference: Sabin, W.A. (2001). The Gregg Reference Manual,
York. Troublesome Words, 720.
SERVICE APPLICANT & EXAM SCHEDULE/INFORMATION
Apply to Office of Human Resources, HRB-30 217/206-6652,
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. All examinations will be
conducted in Building HRB 30 unless otherwise notified.
Examinations can be scheduled through NESSIE or by calling
206-7144. Current UIS employees who wish to have their names
placed on a promotional register to take civil service
examinations will need to make this request through NESSIE
or may call Al Newman at 206-7144 or e-mail him at
email@example.com. For further information call
Employment Information 1-800-453-7182 or visit Human Resources
UIS study abroad opportunities
The Global Experience Program is
offering area residents a number of opportunities to spend part of
the summer studying abroad, in subjects ranging from community
work in Jamaica to Chinese ceramic art to excavating prehistoric
sites in Germany. To receive academic credit from UIS, regular
tuition and fees and registration deadlines also apply. For
information, contact Jonathan GoldbergBelle, UIS director of
International Affairs, at 206-6678 or go to the website at
Safe Ally Program at
Safe Ally is
a program designed to offer support to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgendered, and Questioning (LGBTQ) members of our UIS
Community. Following training, Safe Allies respect confidentiality
listen to LGBTQ issues. Our first Safe Ally training is scheduled
for Friday, March 12 from
in PAC conference room G.
We request that applications be returned by March 10 to either
Terri Jackson in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (CPV
163), or to Jim Korte in the Office of the Dean of Students (SLB
22). Hard copies of the application form are also available in the
above offices. For further information, contact Jim Korte,
Assistant Dean of Students at (SLB 22) 206-7714 or by e-mail: