State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1                       SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

 2        WHEREAS,  Results  from  the  Prairie  State  Achievement
 3    Examination indicate that approximately half of Illinois high
 4    school juniors fail to meet State learning standards; and

 5        WHEREAS, New federal education legislation requires  that
 6    all  students  meet State learning standards within 12 years;
 7    and

 8        WHEREAS,  Over  three-fourths  of  Illinois  high  school
 9    graduates go on to higher education; and

10        WHEREAS, Illinois colleges and  universities  spend  more
11    than $100 million annually providing remedial classes to high
12    school graduates; and

13        WHEREAS, Workforce skills are changing, and two-thirds of
14    today's  workers need advanced reading, writing, mathematics,
15    and critical thinking skills; and

16        WHEREAS, Illinois ranks last among Midwestern  states  in
17    the  proportion  of  students  completing  a high school core
18    curriculum and last among all states in the  number  of  core
19    curriculum  courses  required  for  graduation by the average
20    school district; and

21        WHEREAS, This high school core curriculum consists of the
22    following, contrasted  with  current  Illinois  minimum  high
23    school graduation requirements:
24             (1) 4 years of English instead of 3 years;
25             (2) 3 years of mathematics instead of 2 years;
26             (3) 3 years of science instead of one year; and
27             (4)  3  years  of social science instead of 2 years;
28        and

29        WHEREAS, The content  and  learning  level  of  the  core
30    curriculum  is  more  closely  aligned  with  State  learning
                            -2-               LRB9216113NTpkB
 1    standards  and  the  expectations of the workplace and higher
 2    education than the current Illinois graduation  requirements;
 3    therefore, be it

 6    REPRESENTATIVES  CONCURRING  HEREIN, that the Board of Higher
 7    Education, the State Board of  Education,  and  the  Illinois
 8    Community  College  Board prepare recommendations to increase
 9    student  knowledge  and  skills  in  accordance  with   State
10    learning  standards,  to  improve  student performance on the
11    Prairie State Achievement Examination, and to better  prepare
12    high school students to meet the demands of the workplace and
13    the rigors of higher education; and be it further

14        RESOLVED,   That   these   3   boards   jointly   provide
15    recommendations   on   appropriate   high  school  graduation
16    requirements in light of the high expectations articulated in
17    the  Illinois  Learning  Standards  and  the  Prairie   State
18    Achievement  Examination,  which  is  a  rigorous test of the
19    standards; and be it further

20        RESOLVED, That the recommendations made by these 3 boards
21    be  accompanied  by  estimates  of  the  costs  of  upgrading
22    curricula, hiring  additional  teachers,  retraining  current
23    teachers,  and  making  more  extensive  use  of the Illinois
24    Virtual High School; and be it further

25        RESOLVED, That the these 3 boards report  their  findings
26    to the Governor and the General Assembly prior to January 15,
27    2003; and be it further

28        RESOLVED,  That  a  suitable  copy  of this resolution be
29    delivered to the chairs of the Board of Higher Education, the
30    State Board of Education, and the Illinois Community  College
31    Board.

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