AN EDUCATION PRICE TAG    How much does a good education cost? That question is the focus of researchers for the recently launched Illinois School Funding Adequacy Initiative at National-Louis University.Ted Purinton, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, and Michelle Turner-Mangan, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Inquiry, are the principal researchers. Modeled on the work of University of Wisconsin researcher Allan R. Odden, the project will put a price tag on educating average-performing and at-risk children to meet high standards, using research-proven strategies and best practices. For instance, research shows that, in the primary grades, low-income children in classes of no more than 15 children had significantly higher achievement than their peers, says Purinton, so the per-pupil cost of educating poor children would include the cost of hiring enough teachers to lower class sizes. The project will also examine spending in Illinois and how it matches up with what research recommends schools spend money on. A task force of educators, funding activists, legislators and civic leaders will craft a strategy for using the research findings to drive policy.

Task force members are: Dominic Belmonte, president and CEO, Golden Apple Foundation; Mary Cahillane, chief financial and administrative officer, Spencer Foundation; Roger Eddy, state representative, (R-Hutsonville); Lori Fanello, assistant regional superintendent, Boone/Winnebago regional office of education; Ed Geppert, Jr., president, Illinois Federation of Teachers; Linda Hernandez, superintendent, Rockford Public Schools; Michael Hollingsworth, superintendent, Midlothian School District, Brenda Holmes, board member, Illinois State Board of Education; Michael A. Jacoby, executive director, Illinois Association of School Business Officials; Michael Johnson, executive director, Illinois Association of School Boards, Kimberly A. Lightford, state senator and chair, Senate Education Committee; Max McGee, president, Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy; Pedro Martinez, chief financial officer, Chicago Public Schools; Terry Mazany, president and CEO, Chicago Community Trust; Ralph Martire, executive director, Center for Tax & Budget Accountability; Robert W. Pritchard, state representative (R-Sycamore) and co-chair of House Education Caucus; Kathy Ryg, state representative (D-Vernon Hills); Donald D. Schlomann, superintendent, School District 303 (St. Charles); J. Glenn Schneider, director of government relations, Ed-RED; Kevin S. Semlow, director of state legislation, Illinois Farm Bureau; Jerry Stermer, president, Voices for Illinois Children; Miguel Del Valle, city clerk, City of Chicago; Toni Waggoner, senior budget analyst, Illinois State Board of Education; Cheryl D. Watkins, principal, Pershing West Magnet School.

NEW CHARTER CHIEF   Former Chicago Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski will become chair of the University of Chicago Charter Schools next January, one of her duties as the university’s new vice president for civic engagement. This fall, the university opened a new middle-school charter, Carter G. Woodson Campus, in the former Woodson South building in Grand Boulevard. Lipinski will also provide leadership support for other university education initiatives and programs for at-risk children. 

125 S. CLARK STHeather Obora has been promoted from officer of procurement and contracts to chief operations officer, a title previously held by M. Hill Hammock, who retains the title of chief administrative officer. Opal L. Walls, deputy officer of contracts and procurement, will replace Obora. …Jarvis Sanford, principal of Dodge Renaissance Academy, is the new area instructional officer for the Office of School Turnarounds.

ELSEWHERE  In California, two groups representing school districts are suing the state board over its new requirement that all 8th-graders be tested in algebra, according to the Sept. 9 Sacramento Bee. The new requirement, championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, essentially mandates that 8th-graders take algebra. Here in Chicago, the number of schools teaching algebra to middle-grade students is up dramatically to 138, from 78 a year ago. … In New York, a commission recommends new limits on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s control over the city’s public schools, according to the Sept. 4 New York Times. The commission wants the Panel for Educational Policy to have more power over policies and budgeting, and give fixed terms to its members, who now serve solely at the discretion of the mayor. The commission also recommends that area school districts be revived to give parents more influence over schools and policy.

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