For immediate release
May 13, 2004
Statement of Janet Steiner, Chair of Illinois State
Board of Education
The last five months we have witnessed both chambers
of the General Assembly give thoughtful consideration
to the Governors proposal to change the administration
of education in Illinois.
In recent memory - there is nothing that has created
as much discussion or scrutiny of our educational
system in Illinois. It is our sincere hope that the final
compromise that is adopted by the legislature is one that
goes beyond changing the administration of education and
will eventually improve student performance and achievement.
Senators Miguel Del Valle and Dan Cronin under the leadership
of Senate President Emil Jones held a rare committee of
the whole to consider the Governors proposal and
also visited suburban Chicago and southern Illinois where
they hosted additional hearings.
House Speaker Michael Madigan has held several hearings
where the administration of the teacher certification
process was discussed as well as another where members
considered the constitutionality of the Governors
plan. The Speaker believes that changing the responsibilities
of the board and creating a department of education could
be unconstitutional and result in litigation, and instead
offered several suggestions that maintain the agency and
also provide continuity through staggered appointments
of board members.
Illinoisans should be proud of the attention that the
legislative branch has paid to this issue. While opinions
varied, one thing was consistent, and that was that most
members wanted change, and we respect their insight.
We are unsure how this compromise will proceed. However,
we appreciate the Legislatures diligent work on