Can Illinois schools make the grade? IFF study on K-12 public education shines light on inequities, bright spots

IFF released a major new education study in September: Raising Quality, Promoting Equity: An Analysis of Location, Performance, and Investment in Illinois Public Schools. This vital research study finds a high amount of need throughout the state – in cities and suburbs as well as small towns and rural areas – for both better performance and more adequate and equitable funding. But the study also points to bright spots for investment where school districts have proven their ability to produce good results relative to their limited resources.

“As we all well know, funding alone does not tell the whole story of school performance or of educating the whole child. But there is a real link between adequate funding and academic outcomes,” said IFF CEO Joe Neri. “The newly adopted Illinois school funding bill should provide a down payment on our kids’ educational future, but that’s only a first step – we need sustained, equitable investment in public schools to give them the tools they need to help students perform at a high level. And we need accountability for how funds are invested at the district level.”

Raising Quality, Promoting Equity’s three components provide education leaders with an important, holistic framework for action: (1) A needs assessment that quantifies and prioritizes the need for high-performing schools across the state; (2) An analysis of district funding that gauges the adequacy and equity of school district funding in the years prior to the adoption of an evidence-based funding formula; and (3) A discussion of return on investment (ROI) that measures the effectiveness of school district spending for boosting core performance outcomes.

The new report was released alongside an interactive online tool designed to help education stakeholders take action in their local school districts. Learn more at www.iff.org/ILSchoolStudy.

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