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March 19, 2007

Key Legislators to Discuss Issues With IBHE

SPRINGFIELD – The leaders of the House and Senate higher education and appropriations committees will visit with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to present their views on the challenges facing postsecondary education in the state and their ideas for a public agenda to address those issues.

Board members have invited the Chairs and Minority Spokespersons of the House and Senate Higher Education Committees, the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee, and the Senate Appropriations III Committee to participate in a dialogue with the Board at its March 27 meeting at the Springfield Hilton.

“We welcome this opportunity for the General Assembly’s higher education leaders to visit with the Board to discuss critical issues of public policy,” Carrie Hightman, Chairwoman of the Board, said. “We are at a pivotal moment in our state, and it is important that the higher education community and legislators come together for a meeting of the minds on matters of college access and success, affordability, and developing a P-20 policy outlook.”

The panel discussion is intended as a follow-up to a recent legislative briefing on higher education issues based on an October 2006 report of a blue-ribbon commission established by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), entitled, “Transforming Higher Education – National Imperative, State Responsibility.” The report urged legislators to take a more active role in developing a public agenda for higher education.

Among the commission recommendations were that legislators:

  • Define clear state goals;
  • Identify the state’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • Know the state’s demographic trends for the next decade or more;
  • Hold institutions accountable for their performance;
  • Rethink funding and student financial aid;
  • Transform the twelfth grade; and
  • Recommit to access to and success in college.

The higher education briefing for legislators presented information on the rapidly changing demographics of Illinois’ population, particularly among Latinos, and the growing need for postsecondary education to thrive in the modern economy. The briefing and report also focused on the need for a P-20 organizational structure to develop a policy agenda and oversee its implementation.

In other business, the Board will consider $1.2 million in grants for teacher professional development efforts under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The grants are proposed for six partnerships involving four-year colleges and universities and K-12 schools and aimed at improving student and teacher performance in high-need schools and districts in both urban and rural settings. In addition, the grants are designed to foster alliances across the P-20 spectrum and promote accountability through measurable results in teacher knowledge and student academic performance.

The Board also will receive updates on the fiscal 2008 budget for higher education, activities of its Disabilities Advisory Committee, and its panel that is reviewing the process for approval of new academic programs.


Don Sevener



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