October 10, 2018
Your daily synopsis of education news
Why suburban school districts are discussing arming teachers
The Daily Herald has more coverage about some school districts pushing IASB to support making arming teachers or administrators a legislative priority. From the story:

For the third straight year, several downstate districts want the association to lobby to give them the ability to train and equip teachers and administrators with weapons.

Even if approved as one of the association's priorities, the proposal would not take effect unless the state legislature passed it into law.

Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 school board President Phil Pritzker, who is the immediate past president of the Illinois Association of School Boards, said he has tried to prevent the armed-teachers proposal from gaining a recommendation as something the entire group of districts should support. On the committee that considers legislative proposals, Pritzker said he and six others voted in opposition to the measure.

But 15 committee members supported it, so the proposal goes to the conference as a recommended priority for the coming year.

Pritzker said the proposal aims to help rural districts address problems with geography, response times and a lack of resources they might encounter in providing security through local police. 

Also, the Daily Herald has a story on 5 things suburban schools want as legislative priorities. They are: Energy savings, safety drills, charter school funding, mental health and student voter registration. Read more here.
Say goodbye to rows of desks and chalkboards
The Pioneer Press reports on how Glenbrook High Schools District 225 is embracing flexible furniture in the classroom. From the story:

In one classroom, a teacher arranged the tables and chairs to face one direction, but with the rolling, height-adjusting tables students in the back row were able to sit at an elevated position to see over students in front of them.

The new learning spaces include flexible seating, standing desks and floor-to-ceiling white boards. Everything is designed to have more than one purpose.

For example, each student has a personal white board that can either attach to the tables to create personal space for students sitting in groups, provide a space for a student to brainstorm or allow students to show their thinking.

Burlington Central High becomes regional hub for veterinary science
The Daily Herald reports on Burlington Central High School starting the first veterinary science education class. From the story:

Grooming, administering shots and performing wellness exams on small animals isn't usually part of a high school curriculum.

But at Central High School in Kane County, it's a natural experience in a new veterinary science program -- the first of its kind at an Illinois high school.

Burlington-based Central Unit District 301 launched the program this year to help address a statewide shortage of veterinary assistants. The goal is to get more students interested in the sciences, said Esther Mongan, District 301 assistant superintendent.

Chronic truancy and absenteeism
In this episode, Dr. Rich Voltz of IASA speaks to Dr. Lindsey Hall, superintendent of Mahomet-Seymour CUSD #3, about issues with how schools report absenteeism, differences between chronic truancy and chronic absenteeism under ESSA and how these calculations can impact schools. 
Jobs report shows shortfall of almost 390,000 teachers nationwide
Education Dive shares information about a new report on the nationwide teacher shortage. From the story:

There are 389,000 fewer teachers in the K-12 workforce than are needed to keep up with a growing student population, according to a jobs report issued Friday by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Elise Gould, a senior economist at EPI, writes that compared to pre-recession years, there are 116,000 fewer jobs in public education and that these gaps are leading to larger class sizes and fewer teachers’ aides in the classroom.

​“State and local government austerity since the recession has contributed to a significant shortfall in education employment,” she writes, noting strikes across the country in which teachers are protesting working conditions and the wage gap.