Saturday, February 4, 2023

Addressing the outcomes of public education funding in area schools

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – One area lawmaker reveals concerning statistics at a forum in Loves Park Thursday about the academic performance of students in Rockford Public School District 205.

Wirepoints, an organization that assesses Illinois’ economy and government, hosted the forum. It says it studied education statistics from the Illinois State Board of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Republican State Rep. Joe Sosnowski says the statistics from Wirepoints are startling. The research points to fewer than 20% of eighth-graders in Rockford public schools reading at or above grade level. Only 60% of freshmen at RPS are on track to graduate.

“We’ve got disparities in how we’re doing. Low scoring low reading, yet we spend more and more money on traditional public education,” says Rep. Sosnowski. “The performance that we are seeing not only from the Rockford area but around the state we’re falling behind especially when we are talking about basic skills like reading proficiency we’re not keeping up.”

This data comes as almost 95% of teachers are rated as excellent or proficient. Sosnowski says one way to further education in Rockford is to reduce the power of unions. But Democrats disagree.

“With this change in the school funding formula past couple of years, I think in the years ahead, we’re going to see an improvement and more opportunities for students at all levels to improve and get the education they need,” says State Senator Steve Stadelman

Senator Stadelman argues we need better compensation for teachers so they can give students the attention they need.

“I think parents think teachers do a good job. I think they feel like they need more resources in the classroom. They need more help as far as making sure students have resources. Educating students is a very difficult task,” says Senator Stadelman.

Senator Stadelman says the Invest in Kids program, which helps more students get access to private schools, was renewed. He believes support for this program from both sides shouldn’t fall through.

Representative Sosnowski adds he wants to give parents more access to resources like scholarships to get their children into the colleges of their choice.

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