The president of Southern Illinois University says part of Illinois is getting shorted when it comes to education. Glenn Poshard says that part can be found on a map: The inner city of Chicago, and the rural areas of Central and Southern Illinois. “In this Illinois, prosperity is uneven and declining. Here, many Illinoisans are left behind by the education system, and the lack of educational attainment portends serious economic consequences,” he said in a speech to the City Club of Chicago.
Poshard is specifically referring to the “two Illinois” identified in a report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, with the prosperous Illinois having per capita annual incomes ranging from $29,000 to $62,000, while the “other” Illinois has per capita annual incomes of $10,000 to $20,000. The map is on page 2 of the report: www.ibhe.state.il.us/masterPlanning/materials/070109_PublicAgenda.pdf
Poshard says schools serving these “other Illinois” communities have a tough task, often with limited resources, and the students fall on the wrong side of the “achievement gap” as early as fourth grade. He says SIU does its part with this population, but state funding has declined over the last 12 years.