BERWYN – February 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today called on lawmakers, administrators, teachers and parents across Illinois to recognize the critical role technology plays in educating the next generation of students. Just a day after President Obama asked governors across America to protect and invest in education even during tough budget times, Governor Quinn championed his plans to continue investing in Illinois’ education during a visit to Piper Elementary. The Governor was joined by Riverside Village President Michael Gorman, 2nd graders and their teacher Maureen Gorman, who demonstrated how their class uses technology to improve learning.
“The most valuable investment we can make is in the education of our children,” Governor Quinn said. “Preparing our students for a 21st century economy starts with making sure their classrooms use the technology that will be vital to their success in high school, higher education and their careers."
Piper Elementary, part of District 100 in Berwyn, is making strong progress in narrowing the achievement gap that hurts too many Illinois students. District 100 is 79% Hispanic and 74% low income. However, Piper students are showing real progress thanks to strong parent and teacher cooperation and administrators investing in 21st century educational technology like smart boards, multimedia labs and tablet computers.
83% of Piper students met or exceeded standards in state testing in 2011 and District 100 as a whole rose to the top 49% of districts statewide, following three years at the mid-60% level. Piper has made adequate yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind every since it was enacted – one of only 7 elementary schools of similar combined demographics and incomes to achieve this progress.
Governor Quinn has reiterated his commitment to education, jobs and economic growth in his proposed budget by maintaining funding for K-12 and higher education and increasing early childhood funding by $20 million, as well as a $50 million increase for the state Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships for needy students. Governor Quinn also recently announced $623 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to help dozens of school districts statewide make critical repairs, additions and technology updates to classrooms. Combined with local dollars, the funding will allow school districts to complete projects totaling more than $1.2 billion. In his budget address, Governor Quinn renewed his commitment to continued capital construction funding for school construction.
In his recent remarks to the National Governors Association, President Obama challenged the states’ chief executives to invest in American economy built to last by doing their part to ensure American students and workers have the education and training they need to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century. Governor Quinn intends to meet the President’s challenge and urge lawmakers to pass his education blueprint, which will help avert teacher layoffs, make college more affordable through targeted tax relief and reigning in student loan rates, securing funding for Pell Grants and taking steps to double the number of work-study jobs over the next 5 years to help students who are working their way through school.