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Gov. Blagojevich signs law to provide better coordination of state's education systems          Send a link to a friend

New council will help align state's educational focus from preschool through graduate school

[September 26, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Tuesday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation that will help provide better coordination of the state's education systems. House Bill 1648 creates the Illinois P-20 Council, which will advise leaders in state government and education stakeholders on how to better align Illinois' education systems -- from pre-kindergarten through postsecondary education.

"As a state, we must be on the same page with the same goals and visions for the future of education in Illinois," Blagojevich said. "This legislation will help bring education and policy stakeholders to the table, where they can share the information and ideas needed to develop integrated education strategies for every level from early childhood through graduate education."

Sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling, and state Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville, the bill creates the new statewide council that will study and make recommendations concerning education at all levels and avoid fragmentation of policies, promote improved teaching and learning, and continue to cultivate and demonstrate strong accountability and efficiency, among other duties.

"Our state's economic future is directly tied to how well we educate our students," said Mitchell. "The Illinois P-20 Council will bring together a diverse group of education stakeholders to better coordinate Illinois' education systems from top to bottom."

"We're looking for the P-20 Council to make recommendations that will build on efforts already under way here in Illinois to better prepare our students for their careers once they graduate," said Demuzio. "They will be responsible for coordination across educational systems and advising the state's education agencies, as well as providing other support."

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The composition of the board was designed to represent the diverse perspectives of education stakeholders. The governor will chair the council and appoint six at-large members, each representing a different field of expertise. They will represent organized labor, an organization of parents, a civic organization, local government and a nonprofit organization. The four legislative leaders will each appoint one member to the council. Statewide business organizations will appoint five members to the council, and statewide professional education organizations will appoint six members to the council. Members will also serve representing school administrators and school boards, community colleges, four-year independent colleges and universities, and public universities. Also, the directors of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Illinois Workforce Investment Board, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Early Learning Council, and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy will serve in an ex officio capacity.

"We look forward to working with the members of the P-20 Council to better position our students for success as they transition into postsecondary education and prepare to enter the work force," said Christopher Koch, state superintendent of education, who will serve in an ex officio capacity on the council. "We are working informally now with our partners at the Illinois Community College Board and the State Board of Higher Education to bring about better coordination, and having this formal link is an asset that will drive our decision-making in the future."

House Bill goes into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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