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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2001

Ryan Lauds Illinois High School Seniors for Good ACT Scores

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today congratulated and commended the Illinois high school class of 2001 for its performance on the national ACT tests, results that show Illinois' commitment to improving education is paying off in the classroom.

In particular, Ryan lauded the 52 Illinois high school seniors who "aced" the ACT with a perfect score of 36. Illinois students recorded more perfect scores on the test than any other state in the nation.

Illinois students' composite score on the ACT was 21.6, the fifth year in a row that Illinois students have bested the national average score of 21. Illinois student scores have shown moderate, yet consistent improvement since 1997. While the 2001 ACT scores are good, the governor urged students, teachers and parents to continue working toward excellence. "Illinois' composite score for 2001 puts us among the top 15 states in the nation, but I think our kids can do better than that," Ryan said. "I'm very proud of the effort that the students, parents and teachers put into their schoolwork. These are results that we can build on in the future. We're just beginning to see the results of our strengthened commitment to education. We will do all we can in state government to help all students learn and reach their full potential."

Illinois students who took the ACT last spring as juniors scored higher than the national average in every one of the test's four basic subject areas - English, reading, math and science.

Of the 156 students across the country who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, 38 percent were from Illinois, the highest percentage in the nation.

"These students are the stars of our school system," the governor said. "They show all of us what hard work and commitment can accomplish. Their work in the classroom and these scores set them up for bright futures in college and beyond."

Since taking office in 1999, Ryan has made education his top priority. In each of the last three state budgets, he has earmarked 51 percent of the state's new revenues to schools and job training - an increase of $1.4 billion in state support, or $700 in new funding for every public school child in Illinois.

In addition, the governor has focused more than $64 million in new funds on reading and study programs for the state's youngest students, helped school districts hire more than 9,000 new teachers, earmarked more than $190 million for classroom technology and is funding the construction of 9,500 new classrooms.


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