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McGuire: Focus more on college students who don’t attend elite schools

Thursday, Feb 1, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Gov. Rauner’s State of the State speech

We helped launch the Illinois Innovation Network and the Discovery Partners Institute, a U of I-led effort to link the power of great research with entrepreneurship and new business formation. What Stanford and Berkeley and Harvard and MIT are to the coasts, partnerships of the U of I, U of C and Northwestern can even surpass for Illinois.

* One bit of interesting react

[Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Crest Hill], a member of the Higher Education Committee, was asked about the state of higher education in Illinois.

“It was a one percenter’s view of higher education,” McGuire said. “I’m really disappointed that the governor continues to be fixated on highly selective, elite institutions at the expense of Illinois’ community colleges and public universities.” […]

McGuire said he didn’t hear anything about the other 80 percent of Illinois college students who don’t attend elite schools.

He wanted Rauner to address why so many Illinois high school graduates were leaving the state to attend college. He called on Rauner to commit to investing in higher education and reverse that trend by ensuring funding for programs like MAP grants, which financially help low-income students attend college.

“What we’re hearing from our public universities is that the reason for the record exodus of Illinois high school graduates to schools out of state is because of the uncertainty,” McGuire said.

I agree with Rauner’s goal of strengthening the state’s elite higher ed institutions. But not everybody can attend those schools, so McGuire is also right.

* Meanwhile, here’s more react

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said he’d like to be encouraged by the governor’s address delivered Wednesday, but he doesn’t know what to say.

“At the end of the day, I don’t care if he’s a lone wolf or a head cheerleader, what the state needs is a governor to take charge, engage, and do the job, and that just hasn’t happened,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton said Rauner hasn’t convened a leaders’ meeting in over a year.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said in a statement the governor has reached out to both sides of the aisle for things like education funding reform, and said more bipartisan work is needed to pass a balanced budget as well as meaningful property tax relief.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, didn’t hear how that would happen.

“I’m just really frustrated,” Bush said. “I just … there’s just been no substance.”

* Related…

* Democrats, Republicans react to Rauner’s State of the State: Wheaton Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, Republican candidate for governor: “I don’t know if we’re reading from the same headlines or newspapers or articles about the state of the state. So it was a little bit mystifying that he didn’t hone in a little bit about specific directives that he is going to take control of.”


  1. - Reality Check - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:05 am:

    Good for McGuire. This puts a finger on something I felt yesterday but couldn’t quite define. This dude is prattling on about Harvard and Stanford and Northwestern and U of C while Macomb and Charleston are dying.

  2. - BothSidesofHisMouth - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    McGuire is right on.

  3. - ChrisB - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:27 am:

    The world needs ditch diggers, too.

    Back when I was in high school (late 90’s/early aughts), it was still U of I or out of state for the top half of my class. This isn’t a new phenomenon.

  4. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    At the end of the day, odds are it is someone with a direction and a state in their college name is educating your kids, making sure you don’t die in the ICU at the hospital and a host of other things that have a direct impact on your life.

    We need as a state to remember that

  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    McGuire raises a very good point. Most college students in Illinois won’t be going to an elite institution. Identifying and incentivising the best metrics for success is how policy makers should approach this. Fortunately, there is some recent research for the wonks to dog into.

    From the Illinois Education Research Council at SIU-E:

  6. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    Bravo Sen McGuire.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:42 am:

    I’d add that more emphasis needs to be put on the community colleges to match vocational skills with area businesses.

    The job market is rapidly changing and lifelong learning needs to be the norm.

  8. - Skeptical - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    One of the lesser universities continues to struggle. Enrollment continues to decline at Chicago State University and the Board of Trustees, who tolerated and facilitated rampant cronyism for years, opted to fire Paul Vallas two months before his effective resignation date. Some of the Board members were upset that Vallas was rumored to be leaving the university to launch a mayoral bid.

  9. - My New Handle - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    Elite schools can take care of themselves and why Rauner wants to “strengthen” those institutions over the colleges and universities that enroll most of the higher ed students is class warfare (a pun but not intended). The private “elite” schools already get a healthy share of state money when MAP grants are available. A governor should side with the public institutions and build a healthy higher ed infrastructure. The people of the state would find far greater benefit.

  10. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    I dont articulate this well, but I believe the workforce of the future (manufacturing) needs an education that contains a blend of IT,finance, and rudimentary engineering skills. Not a tremendous amount of emphasis on any one area. I have founf the JUCO associates to vague. I find the tech schools too isolated and the 4 year bachelor’s degree not broad enough. Hence my call for a three year degree. Just dreaming.

  11. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    ===The private “elite” schools already get a healthy share of state money when MAP grants are available.===

    Lol. The private colleges, whether “elite” or not, don’t get a share of state money. MAP grants allow low income Illinois students to attend the school of their choice, public, private or community college. The fact that “elite” private schools receive MAP means, ipso facto, they enroll low-income Illinois students. And isn’t that the point?

    MAP grants benefit students first and foremost. The better question is which Illinois universities, public or private, are doing well by those students and the taxpayers who support them. I know it’s long, but the study linked to above is worth reading.

  12. - State worker - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    This statement is especially impressive because Senator McGuire has a prison in his district. That’s a place that people with college educations do not go. His statement shows genuine consideration and care for people from all circumstances, and improving their lives and the health of the whole state.

  13. - My New Handle - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    MAP grants are funded with public money. There has long been an argument that this money goes to the student for his/her choice, though the money ultimately winds up at the school. Those funds are available based on tuition rates; eg, a community college student gets less than someone attending private school. I am not convinced that MAP funds need to go to the private institutions.

  14. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===I am not convinced that MAP funds need to go to the private institutions.===

    Think of it this way: the state is privatizing the higher education of its lowest income students by providing MAP grants.

    Do you think low income students would be better served by forcing them into community colleges or only public universities? Also, do you think the public universities want to try and educate even more low income students?

    The problem with the MAP grant is that there aren’t enough dollars to match demand. Or in other words, we have too many low income students in Illinois and not enough colleges and universities for them to attend.

  15. - Flyer - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:14 pm:

    McGuire is right - the focus should be on accessibility and affordability.

  16. - theCardinal - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 4:18 pm:

    Preach on brother Patrick…not every kid wants to go to U of I or NU or U of C and its not just money or academics. There are a lot of great educational opportunities elsewhere in the Land of Lincoln… EIU comes to mind and Go Panthers !

  17. - My New Handle - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 6:02 pm:

    I think that using “forced” into a community collge is an awfully biased comment on the teaching expertise and learning value at those schools. It is not all for low income, marginally qualified students. Private colleges, which gave us Mike Madigan, John Cullerton and a host of other anti-public (or not pro-public) education legislators and governors, do not offer their students a more worthwhile learning opportunity than the public, except for cache’ of the name of the school on the diploma.

  18. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 7:03 pm:


    I think you are reading too much into my comment. I meant “forced” into CCs and public universities because denying MAP students the ability to attend any Illinois college limits choice and is a bad policy idea. I was not making any comment about the quality of community colleges at all.

    That MAP fosters choice and competition is a feature of the program, not a bug, especially if the goal is to keep Illinois students enrolled in Illinois colleges and universities.

    And yet some people still argue that private universities should be excluded when more students will graduate from Illinois private universities than from it public universities. A healthy state higher education system requires healthy community colleges, healthy public universities and yes, healthy private universities. We have a capacity limit so all of these sectors need to be strong and viable options.

  19. - Roman - Thursday, Feb 1, 18 @ 7:38 pm:


    Have you ever walked the campuses of DePaul and Loyola? They are hardly lily white, elitist institutions. Diverse, working class kids.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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