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Public forum to look at 'No Child Left Behind' in Champaign-Urbana

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The “No Child Left Behind” Act will be the topic of discussion at a public forum Jan. 28 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Saturday morning forum, titled “Making ‘No Child Left Behind’ Work for Parents, Children, Schools and Communities,” will run from 9 a.m. to noon in the auditorium of the Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign.

“Since the law went into effect five years ago, its ramifications on anyone who is even slightly touched by public education, in any manner, are magnificent in scope,” according to Preston Williams, deputy superintendent for the Urbana School District and the organizer of the event. “The ultimate goal of this forum is to demonstrate how a community can work together to make the legislation effective for everyone.”

The event will start with presentations, followed by a town hall-style panel discussion. A continental breakfast will be offered at 8:30 a.m.

Parents, teachers, administrators and anyone with an interest in public education in Champaign and Urbana are invited to attend.

The forum is the second in a series of four this academic year being sponsored by the university’s College of Education and organized by the university’s chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association for educators. Co-planners include Parkland College and the Champaign and Urbana school districts; at least eight campus and community organizations are co-sponsoring the event.

Scheduled presenters: James Anderson and Lizanne DeStefano, U. of I. professors of education; Becky McCabe, director of assessment for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE); Kevin Seymour, director of the SchoolWorks program based in the Champaign-Ford Counties Regional Office of Education, and John Woodward, Urbana High School principal.

Their presentations will cover NCLB-related topics such as technical policy issues, implications for African-American achievement, ISBE responsibilities in implementation, state-required school improvement plans, and the individual’s role in making NCLB work.

Joining the presenters as panelists for the town hall discussion will be Mary Hettinger, assistant superintendent of the Unit 7 School District (southern Champaign County); Barbara Sartain and Mary Mueller, administrators from the Champaign School District; Gayle Jeffries and Laura Taylor, administrators from the Urbana School District, and Janice Mitchell, parent/school liaison for the Urbana School District.

Teachers and school personnel can earn CEU and CPDU credits by attending.

The remaining Phi Delta Kappa forums, also on Saturdays:

Feb. 25 – “Early Childhood Education in Illinois: At the Crossroads”

April 1 – “The Transition Into Adulthood”