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May 14, 2001

Illinois Awarded Grant for Strengthening Education Leadership

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant leading to a $250,000 implementation grant by the new State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP), National Consortium to develop and enact innovative policies and practices to strengthen school leadership. Illinois was one of 15 states to receive the grant.

"Investment in education is essential for the development and growth of our state and I am committed to providing high-quality teachers and administrators for our schools," said Governor Ryan. "This funding will help us address Illinois' need for exceptional school leaders in all areas of education."

The SAELP National Consortium is a partnership of the major national associations that represent key state education policymakers, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors Association. The grants are funded as part of the LEADERS Count project of the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds.

In Illinois the SAELP grant group will be called "The Education Leadership Working Group" and is a new segment of the "Governor's Advisory Council on Teacher & Leader Quality." The first meeting will be in Bloomington-Normal at Illinois State University on June 5, 2001 from 2-4:00 pm.

To develop new state policies under the grant, Illinois is establishing a state consortium, with representation from key state education decision-makers to guide the project.

Through the consortium, an implementation plan will be prepared to establish new state legislative and/or administrative policies for six strategies to improve the practice of principals and superintendents. The strategies are:

  • setting a state priority for action to strengthening school leadership;

  • expanding the candidate pool;

  • education and professional learning;

  • licensure, certification and program accreditation;

  • conditions of professional practice;

  • authority for practice and governance structures.

"The representatives of the National Consortium are delighted to be making these important grants to 15 states," said Gordon M. Ambach, chair of the State Action for Education Leadership Project (SAELP) National Consortium. "The overwhelming response to this program indicates the importance state policy leaders are placing on the necessity for strengthening the practice of principals and superintendents. This is truly a nationwide effort to strengthen education leadership."

All 50 states, the District of Colombia, and extra-state jurisdictions were invited to apply for the grants. An Independent Expert Panel, convened by the SAELP National Consortium, reviewed the 37 submitted proposals and selected the awardees.

Governor Ryan's number one budget and administrative priority is education. He has succeeded in passing his first two budgets guaranteeing more than 51% of all new general revenue funds to education. Over the course of the Ryan administration, education spending per student increased more than $358 or an average of $6,800 more per classroom statewide.

The Governor's pending fiscal year 2002 budget again commits 51 percent of new revenues to education and work force training.

For more information on SAELP, please visit http://www.ccsso.org/edleadership.html


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