Education in Illinois

Illinois State Board of Education
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) administers public education in the state of Illinois. The State Board consists of nine members who are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. Board members serve four-year terms, with State Board membership limited to two consecutive terms. The board sets educational policies and guidelines for public and private schools, preschool through grade 12, as well as vocational education. It analyzes the aims, needs and requirements of education and recommends legislation to the Illinois General Assembly and Governor for the benefit of the more than 2 million school children in the state.

Local municipalities and their respective school districts operate individual public schools but the ISBE audits performance of public schools with the Illinois School Report Card. The agency is headquartered at 100 North 1st Street in Springfield. The agency also has offices at the James R. Thompson Center in the Chicago Loop.

"Illinois Governor Pat Quinn named former Chicago School Board President Gery Chico as the new Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Quinn said that day in Chicago that Chico's "decades of experience" in education and administration will be a boon to the state's schools. Chico became President of the Chicago School Board in 1995 when the city took over the schools. He helped close a budget deficit, build new schools and repair old ones, and got credit for raising test scores....Chico lost the Chicago mayor's race this year and finished fifth in the 2004 Democratic Senate primary that Barack Obama won."

Primary and secondary schools
Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 17 in Illinois. Schools are commonly but not exclusively divided into three tiers of primary and secondary education: elementary school, middle school or junior high school and high school. District territories are often complex in structure. Many areas in the state are actually located in two school districts—one for high school, the other for elementary and middle schools. And such districts do not necessarily share boundaries. A given high school may have several elementary districts that feed into it, yet some of those feeder districts may themselves feed into multiple high school districts.

Colleges and universities
Using the criterion established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, there are eleven "National Universities" in the state. As of 19 August 2010, five of these rank in the "first tier" (that is, the top quartile) among the top 500 National Universities in the United States, as determined by the U.S. News & World Report rankings: the University of Chicago (8), Northwestern University (12), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (39), Illinois Institute of Technology (106), and Loyola University Chicago (119).

Illinois also has more than 20 additional accredited four-year universities, both public and private, and dozens of small liberal arts colleges across the state. Additionally, Illinois supports 49 public community colleges in the Illinois Community College System.

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