SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers responded today to the historic gains made by Illinois students during the 2021-22 school year, as reported on the 2022 Illinois Report Card.
Illinois high schoolers notched their highest graduation rate in a decade, driven by gains for Black and Hispanic students, who also saw gains in the rate of ninth grade students on track to graduate. Additionally, every demographic group experienced accelerated growth in 2022 in both English language arts and math. Last school year also saw higher than ever teacher retention rates.
“The Illinois State Board of Education School Report Card results demonstrate what we already know to be true: We all succeed when our students and teachers succeed," said State Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana). "Today’s results demonstrate that Illinois is a great place to be a student and a teacher, with Black and Hispanic people making progress in graduation rates and employment rates as educators. If a good education is the key to a better future, Illinois schools are the best keys out there.”
“As reflected on the state’s Report Card, our children are making progress and Illinois is moving forward,” said Senate Majority Caucus Whip Omar Aquino (D-Chicago). “The data shows our teachers’ workforce is diversifying, which contributes to the successes of Black and Latino students, who often face educational disparities. I commend the progress in our state – these achievements are a testament to what we can do when we work together.”
“Education is paramount to youth success, and Illinois public schools are delivering results thanks to dedicated students, families, and teachers,” said State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Swansea). “The proof is in the data — test scores, college readiness, and teacher retention are on the rise in Illinois. Education is our priority for communities across the state, and we’re looking to build on our support by investing in our children’s futures.”
“For far too long, the educational divide plagued our state’s most at-risk communities – putting many students at a grave disadvantage,” said State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “Through fair funding models and other education overhauls, we have made great strides that have brought forth better learning opportunities, higher graduation rates, and years of future success.”
"As a former teacher, I saw firsthand how the pandemic brought forth a unique set of challenges and obstacles that students and teachers had to face head-on,” said State Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “Through additional post-pandemic funding, the state took a step in the right direction toward ensuring children receive the tools they need for academic success. I look forward to continuing this momentum.”
“Hitting these benchmarks shows that we are on the right course,” said State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates). “Wise investments in education, sourced both from state grants and federal relief funds, are driving student success and helping Illinois continue to improve the strength and diversity of our teaching workforce. Now we must stay focused on good stewardship to keep the train rolling forward.”
"Experienced teachers can help students overcome challenges unique to underserved communities, and that's reflected in the high scores in English and math and the improved graduation rates that we're seeing," said State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood). "More experienced teachers and better schools are the results of prioritizing public education funding in recent budgets. As we continue to prioritize it, I expect progress such as what we're celebrating today will continue."
“I am encouraged by this year’s Report Card, but more work remains to ensure that every child receives the opportunity to unlock their full potential,” said State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago). “We’ve taken strong steps in recent years to make our education system more equitable and it’s critical we maintain this stewardship as we come out of the pandemic. Particularly for children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, we have to make sure we’re engaging them with the resources necessary to generate sustained academic success.”
“Illinois Senate Democrats believe quality education is the gateway to success,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “It’s why we continue to prioritize investing in our public schools, our students, and our outstanding teachers in every part of this great state.”
“The 2022 Illinois State Report Card proves that with continued investment in Illinois schools, we can uplift our students and teachers so that everyone, regardless of race, background, or circumstances, has the opportunity to succeed in the classroom,” said State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).
“Illinois has taken monumental steps in ensuring that all children receive a quality education that prioritizes their needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). “Today’s news is a positive step toward making education equitable and no longer letting ZIP codes determine the quality of students’ educational outcomes.”
“Even after the past few years of COVID hardships, our students continue to rise to the challenge, improving their test scores and graduation rates,” said State Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg). “This year’s state Report Card is a clear indication that Illinois students are not just recovering from the pandemic, but growing and thriving as learners.”
“The results from the Report Card indicate improvement in growth and outcomes, especially for Black and Latino students, who have limited access to well-resourced schools,” said State Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “I am hopeful that the inaugural Equity Journey Continuum that was first introduced while I served as secretary of the ISBE Board will be a helpful tool to support districts tracking progress in creating optimal conditions for closing achievement, opportunity, and resource gaps so all students can thrive.”
“I’m encouraged by today’s report, which reflects the solid and consistent progress Illinois schools and students have made,” said State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville). “Success across the board in language arts and math, 10-year-high graduation rates — with Black and Hispanic students leading the way — and school districts making strides in teacher hiring, diversity, and retention are all strong indications that our schools are on track and our students are being well prepared for bright futures.”
“As a former school social worker, I know firsthand how hard our students and teachers work. I am so proud of our students and teachers for all of their hard work over the past few years,” said State Sen. Karina Villa (D- West Chicago). “I am thrilled to see their diligence paying off as the 2022 Illinois State Report Card shows high school graduation rates are the highest they have been in a decade and every single demographic in Illinois excelled in both English and math.”
“By so many measures, Illinois is coming back from COVID stronger,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside). “We’re seeing our students excel in math and English. High schoolers are graduating at higher rates than at any point in a decade. Students of all backgrounds are getting ahead. We’re putting hundreds of new Black and Latinx teachers in classrooms, and we're keeping educators on the job. This would not have been possible without the leadership of Governor Pritzker and our educator champions in the House and Senate who have invested in our schools and prioritized equity in education.”
“ISBE’s School Report Card results show that investment in our local schools and school districts allows students and teachers to succeed," said State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside). "The COVID-19 pandemic impacted countless students with being away from the classroom and school resources setting our children back. But today’s Report Card demonstrated remarkable growth gains, teacher retention and graduation rates, and Black and Hispanic teacher enrollment. I am proud of the progress we’ve made to bounce back from the pandemic, and I am optimistic about the future of Illinois schools.”