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September 26, 2000

Illinois the Most Improved "Digital State" in the Nation

CHICAGO -- Illinois moved to 4th place in 2000 from a rank of 49th in 1998 in the use of digital technology according to a major national survey released on September 25 in Baltimore. The award is the result of a yearlong study undertaken by the Progress & Freedom Foundation and the Center for Digital Government.

"During the past 20 months I have made technology one of my top priorities through initiatives such as the VentureTECH investment, Illinois Century Network and creation of the Illinois Technology Office. As Governor, I have focused attention on the role technology can play to improve the delivery of services and information to citizens. The results of this survey validates the efforts we have made to date but this is only the beginning to what we can achieve," Governor George H. Ryan said.

Illinois was in the top ten in the nation in six of the eight categories evaluated in the survey, including: Electronic Commerce & Business Regulation (8th), Taxation & Revenue (8th), Digital Democracy (7th), Management & Administration (2nd), Higher Education (8th) and K-12 Education (2nd). In the remaining two categories evaluated, Illinois ranked 21st in Social Services and 12th in Law Enforcement & the Courts.

Specifically sited in the study was the Illinois Century Network for providing the infrastructure needed to support high-speed access to data, video and audio communications in schools, libraries, colleges, universities, museums and government offices. Also sited is the Illinois Virtual Campus, which, in its second year in existence, already offers 9,888 courses to 26,214 students. The Illinois State Board of Education's Learning Technologies program was sited as a best practice in the survey. This program successfully integrates information technology for teaching, learning and assessment.

"I am particularly pleased with the Digital State award and the dramatic improvement in Illinois, especially given the increased focus that all states have given to 'e-government,'" said Mary Reynolds, Illinois' Chief Technology Officer.


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