Started in 2008 as a response to the below average academic performance in Illinois schools, Advance Illinois strives to be “an objective voice in supporting a healthy public education system.” The site provides a wealth of information about school reform in Illinois, including links to publications and policy areas, both of which speak to the educational climate of the state in recent years.
Illinois Association of School Boards
The home page of the Illinois Association of School Boards, this site has information not only on IASB, but on other education-related topics, as well. Among these are public school governance and Illinois school law. The site has its own searching function, which enables the user to find many IASB-sponsored reports and articles relevant to school reform, charter schools, etc.
Illinois Network of Charter Schools
The homepage for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, an organization that "advocates for legislation to strengthen charter schools, educates the public about the value of charter schools, and supports the dissemination of best practices throughout the system." The site includes an Illinois charter school locator.
Illinois School Report Card
Created by the Illinois State Board of Education, this site contains annual reports on the public schools in the state of Illinois. Each report provides statistical information on school demographics, instructional setting, finances, and academic performance. While schools are not ranked or rated, the report card contains averages at the school, district, and state level. Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view the reports.
Illinois State Board of Education: Charter Schools
This site provides information on Illinois charter school laws. In addition, there are links to a directory of state charter schools and the Board's 2004 Annual Report on Charter Schools.
State of Illinois
While this site is the home page for the state of Illinois, its provision of a site-specific search engine makes it a good source of information on various aspects of school reform. Links yielded by using the search function are to announcements and news releases from the state government, and they therefore approach school reform, etc. from a governmental perspective. These links will probably serve as interesting counterpoints to other sites, such as that of the Illinois Education Association.
Chicago Public Schools
While this site is the general home page for the Chicago Public Schools, it emphasizes school reform. There is good information on the Children First education plan, a package of school reform initiatives designed to boost academic achievement and increase system-wide accountability. One can link to an overview of this plan from the General Information page, which links to a fact sheet on Chicago Public School statistics, as well. There is also a page with biographical information on the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees, and a page listing the May 1997 actions of this Board.
The Consortium on Chicago School Research
From the mission statement of the Consortium on Chicago School Research: "The Consortium on Chicago School Research was initiated in 1990 as an independent federation of Chicago area organizations that have joined together to undertake a range of research activities to assist the implementation of school reform, assess its progress over time, and more generally support school improvement in Chicago. We encourage broad access to the research agenda-setting process; the collection, analysis, and regular reporting of high quality information; and wide dissemination and public discussion of research findings."This website helps the Consortium fulfill its mission by providing information to the public on the following: current research projects; availability and content information of Consortium publications; brief professional biographies of the organization's directors and staff; and explanations of the organization's background, audiences and stakeholders, and research capabilities. This site is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in the progress of school reform in the Chicago Public Schools.
Designs for Change: Educational Research, Advocacy, Training Organization
Designs for Change (DFC) is a multiracial educational research and reform organization with the stated mission of serving as a catalyst for major improvements in the public schools serving the 50 largest cities in the country, particularly Chicago. DFC combines applied research and policy analysis with direct involvement and advocacy in reform.
Rationale and History of Chicago School Reform
From a NCREL Policy Brief, (Decentralization: Why, How, and Toward What Ends? Report 1, 1993), this text is excerpted and summarized from the November 1990 publication, "Chicago School Reform: What It Is and How It Came to Be," by G. Alfred Hess, Jr., Executive Director, Chicago Panel on Public School Policy and Finance.
Illinois Loop: The Suburbs
Illinois Loop is a privately-run web site that, according to its introduction, "Helps to provide information on issues in Illinois education to the parents who are consumers of that education, to the taxpayers who pay for it, and to everyone who wants to restore quality to Illinois schools." Its suburban education page notes that reform and choice are in short supply in the suburbs, and speculates on the causes of this. Last updated in 2012.