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Yes, Chicagoans do care, at least on this one issue

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019

* I told subscribers about this poll earlier today

The Illinois Education Association (IEA) today released the State of Education report, a first of its kind, bipartisan poll asking Illinoisans about all aspects of public schools. The results show most of those polled give Illinois schools (not teachers) a poor grade, think the state should be spending more money on students and believe teachers are undervalued, underpaid and should have a voice in what happens in schools.

“The State of Education report tells us what Illinoisans believe our students deserve when it comes to public education,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “The people have spoken, and I hope are lawmakers are listening. We are in the middle of a teacher shortage, and this poll shows us exactly why. We need to improve, enhance and address the inadequacies of our schools now so we can continue to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality, equitable public education.”

The data show that on the whole, Illinoisans believe fixing our schools should be a top priority, although there was no clear consensus on how to fix them. However, we do know Illinoisans overwhelmingly believe teachers’ and parents’ perspective are the most important when it comes to determining how schools are run.

“We know everything that happens inside a classroom is governed by decisions made outside of it,” Griffin said. “From the school board to the Statehouse to Congress and the White House, elected officials are determining what our students are learning, how they’re learning it and what resources are available. We need to start listening to those who are on the front lines with our students. Our parents, our teachers and our support staff should have a louder voice when it comes to decisions that impact our children’s futures.”

When asked if funding for schools should increase, 71 percent of those surveyed said yes. Those polled were then told student spending in Illinois is $13,000 per student per year, and nearly two thirds of those surveyed still thought that funding should increase. When it comes to teachers’ pay, those polled were six times more likely to believe teachers were underpaid versus paid too much or just right. A whopping 75 percent of those surveyed believe teachers should keep their full pension.

“We need career sustainability for our teachers — proper salary to start and one that fairly compensates our teachers throughout the life of their careers. Our students deserve the best and brightest facilitating instruction in our classrooms, and we need to do a better job of attracting and retaining high-quality teacher candidates,” Griffin said. “We’re in the midst of a teacher shortage, and this poll proves that Illinoisans understand that pay and benefits are important to address this crisis.”

The poll, conducted by Normington Petts and We Ask America, surveyed 1,000 Illinoisans between March 14 and March 27. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent with 95 percent confidence.

“These data points are unique because, as far as we can tell, no one has done this before in Illinois,” Jill Normington of Normington Petts said. “It makes sense, as well, to ask the people that public education serves what they expect from their schools.”

“By creating a bipartisan process, the IEA has produced an unbiased look at views around public education in Illinois and we were proud to be a part of it,” Mike Zolnierowicz of We Ask America said.

* The IEA asked me not to link to the crosstabs, but I went through them and something stood out for me in the responses to this question…

Priority for proposals to change IL Schools - Spending more money on technology to help long distance learning in rural schools in Illinois?

Respondents were asked to assign a number between 0 and 10 to the priority level, with 10 being the most urgent.

According to the poll, 71 percent of Chicagoans gave the issue a top priority of between 8 and 10. Just 56 percent of Downstaters in the northern half of Illinois gave it an 8-10 and only 51 percent of Southern Illinoisans assigned the issue the same priority.

* The moral of this story is that while some Downstaters like to complain that Chicagoans don’t care about them, Chicagoans in this poll were far more likely to support spending their own tax dollars to help rural schools than were Downstaters.

Now, maybe Downstaters don’t like the idea of distant learning. I have no idea. I’m just saying…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:41 am:

    The teacher shortage in rural Illinois should have legislators pushing to allow for more long-distance e-learning options. This would require more investment in rural broadband access which is needed anyway.


  2. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    =Now, maybe Downstaters don’t like the idea of distant learning.=

    Doesn’t matter at this point. Some schools have implemented distance learning out of necessity.

    =should have legislators pushing to allow for more long-distance e-learning options.=

    We don’t need more options. We need quality. There are hundreds of options including sharing teachers via skype or other video links. Districts just need to get on board.


  3. - anon2 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    === Chicagoans in this poll were far more likely to support spending their own tax dollars to help rural schools than were Downstaters.===

    Any chance the downstate secessionists will take note of this inconvenient fact?


  4. - Sue - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    Does the number for student expenditures include pension costs. As we know we are paying for at least two generations(if not 2.5) of teachers because of the benefit costs. Where does the IEA think more money will come from?


  5. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    We also need to invest in making sure Downstate has adequate broadband. It’ll be hard to expand distance learning without that.


  6. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    =Where does the IEA think more money will come from?=

    You. It is going to come from you, every penny.

    The shorting of the pensions happened on your watch same as mine and we are all going to pay.

    Yell at the moon all you want, but you will pay up just like everyone else.


  7. - City Zen - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    ==Those polled were then told student spending in Illinois is $13,000 per student per year, and nearly two thirds of those surveyed still thought that funding should increase==

    No context given? Here’s a number…should it be higher? Next poll should change that number to $30,000, just to see what the response would be.


  8. - Generic Drone - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    Where were all these supporters when teachers were getting bashed all over the airwaves?


  9. - Nonbeleiver - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    Teacher salaries vary quite significantly throughout the state. fifty years ago this spread was not large, now it is.

    Most suburban, and yes Chicago teachers, are paid well. For downstaters it varies but most salaries are substantially lower. And the cost of living, except for housing, really does not vary much.

    The Feds have an CPI adjustment in their salaries depending upon the area of the country. Check it out and you will see what I mean.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    I can’t say I’ve ever run into anyone in the Chicago metro who initiates smack-talk about Downstate (whole lot of people here originally from Downstate).

    Responding to the long-standing, dog-whistlin’ trash-talk from Downstate politicians, that’s another story.


  11. - Nonbeleiver - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    - anon2 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    === Chicagoans in this poll were far more likely to support spending their own tax dollars to help rural schools than were Downstaters.===

    Any chance the downstate secessionists will take note of this inconvenient fact?”

    This is a poll and what people say and what they do when thy personally have to pony up their own money are often be two different things.

    Talk is cheap. So much for more jabs at downstate people which seems to be a litany even when not related to the topic at hand.


  12. - Pundent - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    As communities have contracted downstate so have the schools within those communities. And in many of these communities schools, and particularly high schools, are a big part of the identity. That may be one reason for the disparate responses on distant learning. It could be viewed as accelerating the loss of schools.


  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    =Next poll should change that number to $30,000, just to see what the response would be.=

    $30,000? Why not making it a trillion dollars? Just as nonsensical as your number.

    The poll appears to have used a state average. That makes sense but it isn’t what most districts spend, especially downstate.

    Better poll would have been customized for each IEA district. Should not be too hard.


  14. - City Zen - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    ==We need career sustainability for our teachers==

    Who says that teaching needs to encompass an entire career? Maybe the future state of the teaching profession isn’t decades spent in a classroom.

    The teaching profession needs to move into the 21st century and drag Griffin and the IEA with them, horse buggy wheels and all. Perhaps the future of teaching is less teachers educating more students across state borders and making more money while doing it. Maybe something like the medical field with physical classrooms occupied with education “practitioners”.

    Not seeing much innovation in the education field outside of leveraging technology that already provided the innovation.


  15. - Almost the weekend - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    City Zen at 1238

    Can you please send us your instructions, syllabus, and coursework for teaching yourself. I forgot you and Abe Lincoln are the only people in the state who taught each other how to read. Is City Zen an accredited educational institution by the Department of Education, where I’ll be able to apply for college, trade school or community College? I’m sick of Republicans who have benefitted from the very system that helped them, then cry out the system is broken and now it’s time to eliminate public education.


  16. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    =Not seeing much innovation in the education field outside of leveraging technology that already provided the innovation.=

    Probably because you are not looking.

    There is significant innovation in instruction if you are interested in seeing it.

    Tell us more about what you know about teaching children.


  17. - consmom - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    Out by me, spending is about $22,000/student, and most teachers make above $100,000. I’d love a poll to see what people think about that. As to kids deserving the “best and the brightest,” I totally agree, which is why it’s concerning that at so many colleges, the School of Education is the easiest to get into. At U of I, if kids can’t get into Liberal Arts or Business, they apply to Education so they can get in. It certainly shouldn’t be that way.


  18. - MrX - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    =Who says that teaching needs to encompass an entire career?=

    The answer to that was the “education reformers” of the Bush and Obama admins that are a big reason for the shortage we see today.


  19. - Poppy - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Geez….

    IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “The people have spoken, and I hope are lawmakers are listening.

    I hope OUR lawmakers are listening.


  20. - City Zen - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==Can you please send us your instructions, syllabus, and coursework for teaching yourself.==

    Sure thing. But since I’ll be doing two jobs, I expect two paychecks. We all can’t be on JB’s staff.

    ==I’m sick of Republicans==

    Uh, voted for Obama twice. You’re sick of Obama voters? That won’t play well here.

    ==Tell us more about what you know about teaching children.==

    Your $13,000 check hasn’t cleared yet.


  21. - Adm Stockd'le - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Poor timing for this news release by the IEA; this is the week we get our property tax bill, reminding how much money we already throw at this


  22. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    =Your $13,000 check hasn’t cleared yet.=

    In other words, you don’t know anything. Nice.


  23. - You Bet - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    The conspicuously missing ingredient is perhaps the most telling across all socioeconomic categories . . . . . . .how involved are the parents in the child’s education?

    It is often said that “there is no silver bullet”. There actually is . . . . . . .outcomes are very predicable with students who have parents acting like rearing and being involved in their children’s lives is the most important endeavor they will ever undertake.

    Great teachers are extraordinarily important as is reasonable Legislative guidance. Everything else combined, however, pales in comparison to parental commitment. This discussion has disappeared from our national discourse.


  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    ===reminding how much money we already throw at this===

    You’re in the distinct minority, bub.


  25. - ChrisB - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    I’m very apprehensive of anyone that refuses to show their work.


  26. - anon2 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    === Talk is cheap (re Chicago support for distance learning funds) ===

    Another example of what happens when there’s a conflict between the plain evidence and political ideology. The evidence is dismissed and the ideology wins again!


  27. - illini - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    @cosmom - You do make an excellent point about admissions to the U of I. Over 50 years ago when I enrolled I had classmates who felt that they could not be admitted to their preferred college or program who opted for an easier admission procedure. Almost all of them, after one or two years, with appropriate grades were able to transfer or change their majors to get into their chosen field.

    And I do not disagree - it should not have to be this way, but you do what you have to do to get into the UIUC. But it goes the other way as well.

    I had a dorm mate who was admitted into ED, transferred to LAS Econ and transferred again to BUS Econ and graduated with High Honors. But he got accepted, enrolled and graduated with a few detours along the way.


  28. - EPatt - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    Rich, did the poll include a question such as ‘are you willing to pay more taxes to allow teachers salaries to increase?

    If such a question was included and tracked as supportive as the other questions, then the survey might mean something.


  29. - SIteacher - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    ESSA is making Social Workers of us all. Disciplinary policies are being changed to accommodate dropping graduation rates which in turn affect district funding. We cannot be the CURE ALL for our students. We are an element, albeit a large one, in their lives. Penalizing schools for students’ attendance, behavior, and failures is not the right idea.


  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    ==Who says teaching has to encompass an entire career=

    No worries there. According to the US Dept of Education, 50% of teachers leave before completing 5 years. Must be a very attractive, lucrative gig /s


  31. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    =Penalizing schools for students’ attendance, behavior, and failures is not the right idea.=

    Absolving ourselves of the responsibility in any of these areas will lead to failure. We, as educators, must own the outcomes no matter what.

    Saying it is their fault they failed only makes it easier to stop trying our hardest to ensure students succeed.


  32. - consmom - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    @EPatt - That would be a great question to ask. Property taxes in my area are outrageous to support the $22,000/child spending and six figure salaries.


  33. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    “Chicagoans in this poll were far more likely to support spending their own tax dollars to help rural schools than were Downstaters.”

    It’s a reflection of our liberal values, not minding giving the government our money to spend on others’ education—for others’ benefit.


  34. - ajjacksson - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    Just curious…..how many of you commenting have spent even one hour in a public school classroom in the last 5 years?


  35. - City Zen - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 4:49 pm:

    ==According to the US Dept of Education, 50% of teachers leave before completing 5 years.==

    And yet still lower turnover than every other single profession, outside of those working for the federal government.

    https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.t04.htm


  36. - ajjacksson - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 6:24 pm:

    City Zen, I don’t understand your point. Why shouldn’t teaching encompass an entire career, for those who love what they’re doing and are very good at it? Are you suggesting “term limits” for teachers? For what reason? And this accusation of teaching needing to modernize—how many hours have you spent in a high school classroom in the last five years?

    Full disclosure—I teach at a suburban high school and have done so for over thirty years. I love what I do and don’t intend to quit any time soon.


  37. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 7:36 pm:

    Does not make sense to argue the point with some folks. They demand higher degreed, professionally oriented, dedicated teachers but act as if minimum wage will do just fine and turn em over so they can’t accrue any retirement funds for their own future. When serving (and that is a key word in their minds) their children, only top notch will do. After that, send them out to bag groceries at the local store. This is the mentality of some who’ve done quite well thanks to their teachers.


  38. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 7:37 pm:

    =Just curious…..how many of you commenting have spent even one hour in a public school classroom in the last 5 years?=

    I spend 50-60 hours a week in a public school. Been doing that for more than 20 years.


  39. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Apr 30, 19 @ 8:21 pm:

    With two sisters who taught in Illinois and a brother in law who is a retired high school principal, I value the perspective of teachers. But theirs is not the only useful perspective.

    $13,000 per student converts to $325,000 for a 25 student classroom. If the teacher is paid $100,000, there is a lot of money that goes elsewhere. Seems to be a lot of support services. In business we used to do a bottoms up build to find low value overhead. Not a magic bullet but a useful tool.


  40. - supplied_demand - Wednesday, May 1, 19 @ 7:44 am:

    ==$13,000 per student converts to $325,000 for a 25 student classroom.==

    Illinois has a 16:1 student to teacher ratio, it’s more like $208,000.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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