Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vision 20/20

I believe public education is the vehicle that transform communities, the economy, and society. In order to accomplish this task, public education must have the support of both the community and the policy makers to allow for innovative practices, equitable funding, outstanding educators, and a clear and understandable accountability system.

Fortunately, a group of educators, leaders, and school board members have created a blueprint for fulfilling the promise of public education. Vision 20/20 is the result of two years of research, collaboration, debate, and discussion about how to create the best possible schools for the students in Illinois.

Vision 20/20 consists of four main priorities:

Highly Effective Educators

  • We need to recruit, retain, and reward highly effective educators by creating a culture of professionalism, equity and excellence. We should remove barriers that prevent teachers and administrators from other states from working in Illinois.
21st Century Learning
  • 21st Century Learning doesn’t just mean providing access to technology, it means transforming education using new technologies that are redefining instruction and learning. Students are our purpose, and we must focus on the “whole child” not just a narrow aspect of their academic skills. 
Shared Accountability
  • Illinois has countless mandates that put demands on time, funding, and flexibility. The purpose of shared accountability is to increase the role of educators voice in the legislative process through collaboration, compromise, and hard work. We also need a state accountability system that is based on student growth on multiple measures, not just a single standardized test.
Equitable and Adequate Funding
  • Adequate and equitable school funding is perhaps one of the most important priorities of Vision 20/20. Illinois currently ranks 48th with regard to equitable funding of public schools. The general state aid model is antiquated and unfair. Too much of the burden of paying for public schools currently rests on the people and businesses who pay local property taxes, which leads to more inequity and more funding gaps. 
These four priorities are essential for putting Illinois at the forefront of educational leadership and innovation. The priorities are also essential for larger issues of local and state economic development, fiscal stability, and growth. On February 17, 2015, the Urbana School District #116 Board of Education joined over 300 other local school boards in Illinois when it adopted a resolution supporting Vision 20/20. I encourage you to learn more about Vision 20/20, the four priorities, and the recommended policy initiatives that can help transform public education and all of Illinois. Contact your Illinois State Senators and Representatives and ask them to support Vision 20/20. Together, we can support our students by providing them with the education they deserve.

For more information, visit: Vision 20/20

To contact your IL Representative or State Senator, visit: