Education Strategy Summary
Table of Contents
Education is essential to a healthy society and to the development of individuals throughout their lifetimes. The continuing vitality of our region depends on the quality of education available in our communities and institutions, especially if it is to remain competitive within the increasingly global economy of the 21st century.
Although the seven counties of northeastern Illinois are home to many outstanding early childhood programs, elementary and secondary schools, as well as post-secondary education institutions, consistent access to high quality education at all levels is uneven, and achievement gaps persist across our region. Minority students are particularly vulnerable, which is of particular concern given that these groups are projected to show the highest growth in school enrollment over the next thirty years, making it imperative that we ensure high quality education and success for all children.
This strategy paper assesses the current state of education in our region, identifies the challenges we face today and in the coming decades, and provides detailed recommendations to achieve consistently excellent educational opportunities for all individuals in the seven-county region.
A sample of findings:
As measured by various assessments, student achievement is low in the United States, Illinois and the region. The U.S. lags behind other nations in educational achievement and has slipped further behind in recent years on several important measures, including math and science scores on international tests such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
In comparing Illinois to the U.S., recent scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate that Illinois falls behind the national average on the percent of students meeting the basic achievement level.
Forty years ago, the U.S. was a leader in high school graduation rates. Today it ranks 18th out of 24 industrialized nations.
Changing Demographics, and the Funding of Public Education
By 2040, the population of children and youth aged 5 to 19 is projected to increase from 1.8 million to 2.1 million, a growth rate of only 19%. However, the percentage of residents in that age range is expected to decline. As parents of school-age children make up a smaller proportion of the adult population, convincing voters to adequately fund public education will become increasingly challenging.
If you're interested in learning more about education, please review the following CMAP strategy report. Comments and criticisms are encouraged.