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    Hot Topics > Students First!

    This is a compilation of Students First news.

    Related Information


    Line between fees and tuition ‘as clear as mud’
    8/22/2005 -

    Daily Herald
    “The state shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free.”
    Read more...

    Battle Ahead for School Funding Reform in Illinois
    5/1/2005 -
    Access
    A+ Illinois and other advocacy groups, such as Students First Illinois, Better Funding for Better Schools Coalition, Core4Kids, and the Coalition for School Funding Reform, are calling for Illinoisans to contact their state representatives.
    Read more...

    Editorial: States take steps to upgrade high school
    3/11/2005 -

    Decatur Herald & Review
    Although it may not have received widespread media attention, 13 states took a significant step recently to improve high school education.
    Read more...

    Dropping the dropout rate
    2/27/2005 -

    Bloomington Pantagraph
    Common reasons that students drop out of high school:
    Read more...

    A look ahead to 2006
    1/24/2005 -
    Ron Gidwitz
    After much soul searching, countless conversation with my wife and children, and encouragement from many friends and colleagues I have decided to form an exploratory committee to take a hard look at a potential run for Governor in 2006.
    Read more...

    Letter to the Editor: Put school children first in New Year's resolutions
    12/31/2004 -
    The Courier News
    What better way to ring in 2005 than with a New Year's resolution? Beyond the traditional self-improving promises, many people are choosing to focus their energy on protecting Illinois' most valuable resource — our schoolchildren.
    Read more...

    "At Issue" program discusses education in Illinois
    12/30/2004 -
    WTVP - Peoria
    Education is the hot issue in Peoria and across Illinois. WTVP's "At Issue" program focuses on Illinois education with guests Ron Gidwitz, Jeff Mays and State Rep. Mike Smith.
    Read more...

    Peoria TV: "Education in Illinois"
    12/29/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Education is the hot issue in Peoria this week. WTVP's "At Issue" program focuses on Illinois education this week with guests Ron Gidwitz, Jeff Mays and State Rep. Mike Smith.
    Read more...

    stop talking, start singing!
    12/17/2004 -
    Students First Illinois

    Read more...

    Schools in deficit spending, bill looks to solve problem
    12/2/2004 -
    Bourbonnais Country Market
    The statistic speaks for itself: 80 percent of schools in Illinois are in deficit spending.
    Read more...

    Letter to the Editor: The results are in, and children lost
    11/30/2004 -

    Daily Herald
    The ballots have been counted and the results are in - Illinois schoolchildren lost on Election Day. Again.
    Read more...

    Happy Thanksgiving from Students First!
    11/23/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    With Veto session now over, we look to the new year and a new General Assembly to tackle the issues in education and help our schoolchildren.
    Read more...

    Letter to the Editor: The results are in, and children lost
    11/22/2004 -

    Daily Herald
    The ballots have been counted and the results are in - Illinois schoolchildren lost on Election Day. Again.
    Read more...

    Funding reform leaders debate tax bill in Plainfield
    11/16/2004 -
    Plainfield Enterprise
    School funding reform leaders participated in a sometimes heated debate last week at Plainfield Central High School as they discussed House Bill 750.
    Read more...

    Plainfield schools crunch numbers for education funding
    11/10/2004 -
    The Herald News
    Fewer than 40 people attended a recent Public School Funding Forum at Plainfield Central High School.
    Read more...

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    Funding reform leaders debate tax bill in Plainfield
    11/10/2004 -
    Plainfield Enterprise

    Read more...

    Editorial: Taxpayers aren't gift horses; stop looking in their wallets
    11/8/2004 -

    Rockford Register Star
    The defeat of referendums in the Byron and Harlem school districts, and the failure of the vast majority of school initiatives statewide, should be a teaching moment.
    Read more...

    District 109 board to face tough choices
    11/4/2004 -

    Peoria Journal Star
    District 108 School Board members and administrators are preparing to make tough decisions after two referendums asking for a property tax increase were soundly defeated Tuesday.
    Read more...

    A rough day at the polls for Southland's schools
    11/4/2004 -

    Daily Southtown
    Southland school districts that hoped to pass tax increases on the ballot this week grappled Wednesday with reality: No. No. No. No. No.
    Read more...

    Illinois Governor Flexes New Muscle Over Education
    11/3/2004 -

    Education Week
    Armed with new power under state law, Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has moved quickly to put his stamp on school policy by overhauling the state school board and taking an active role in hiring at the state education agency.
    Read more...

    The eraser set...
    10/28/2004 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Guess who's going to school?
    Read more...

    Forum to explore school funding
    10/27/2004 -

    Joliet Herald News
    Leading advocates for education-funding reform will discuss different proposals for addressing the financial crises facing many Illinois schools.
    Read more...

    A few days and counting...
    10/27/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    In an effort to help you stay informed on the many education issues in this election season, we have compiled news and opinion on local school referenda and legislative races from around the state.
    Read more...

    Plainfield schools OK issuing bonds
    10/22/2004 -
    Plainfield Sun
    Plainfield School District 202 last week adopted a resolution allowing $30 million in general obligation school building bonds to be issued.
    Read more...

    Save the homework for the children....
    10/1/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Let Students First do your education research for you! Sign-up to receive education news from around the state on a daily or weekly basis.
    Read more...

    We've upgraded: visit Students First v.2.0
    9/18/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Just like every student, teacher and parent, Students First Illinois has spent the the last few weeks preparing for the upcoming school year.
    Read more...

    We've upgraded: visit Students First v.2.0
    9/3/2004
    Just like every student, teacher and parent, Students First Illinois has spent the the last few weeks preparing for the upcoming school year.
    Read more...

    EDITORIAL: More discussion needed on education funding reforms
    8/29/2004 -

    Bloomington Pantagraph
    With more than 80 percent of Illinois school districts reporting financial problems, the issue of school funding reform can't be put off any longer.
    Read more...

    It's tight, but CPS is hanging tough
    8/25/2004 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Arne Duncan has one of the toughest jobs in the city. As the mayor's guy at the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan is charged with erasing years of bad attitudes, poor performance and negative stereotypes at one of the biggest public school systems in the country -- all under the critical eye of tapped-out taxpayers.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Another law without funding
    8/16/2004 -

    Daily Southtown
    In 2000, nearly one-quarter of Illinois high school students dropped out, failing to graduate from high school. Considering that over 70 percent of all people entering state correctional facilities have not finished high school, this is a problem that impacts every citizen in Illinois.
    Read more...

    Public Service Announcements
    8/13/2004
    Just one additional year of school lowers murder and assault rates by 30%...
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: We must all put our students first
    8/7/2004 -

    Chicago Tribune
    Solutions like this won't afford children in Hamilton County the same educational opportunities as those in Lake County, but in the challenging times we now live, out-of-the-box thinking is very encouraging and should be a requirement for us all.
    Read more...

    City Desk with Dick Kay
    8/6/2004
    Ron Gidwitz discusses public education and jobs with NBC-5 political editor Dick Kay.
    Read more...

    Newsletter
    7/27/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Relatively speaking the FY05 state budget is a small step forward on the path of providing students with the resources they need to become productive citizens. But with small steps you go nowhere quickly.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Gov. and Leaders strike agreement; not over yet
    7/21/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Based on reports (see below AP story) the Governor and legislative leaders reached a tentative budget agreement late yesterday. The deal includes a 4% cut for most state agencies and "additional" funds for public education, though it's not clear exactly how much is new education funding.
    Read more...

    'Ren 10' schools plan won't be a no-brainer
    7/19/2004 -
    $50 million from business needed for startups; after that, it really gets tough
    Read more...

    A Statement from Ronald J. Gidwitz: U.S. Senate
    7/1/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    “I am honored and humbled to have had my name mentioned with such accomplished persons as a possible candidate for the United States Senate. No one more than I understands and appreciates the need for a strong Senatorial voice of reason in Washington. However, at this point in my life, my place must be here in Illinois for several reasons, from personal to public.”
    Read more...

    Newsletter
    6/15/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    For updated news and information visit: http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm today.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Media speaks out about education in Illinois
    6/4/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    For updated news and information visit: http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm today.
    Read more...

    A statement by Ronald J. Gidwitz
    5/28/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Today’s announcement is a small step on a very long road that separates our current system from the one where every child in Illinois receives an equal, high-quality public education. To strengthen our future we must make our schools second to none and we must invest in our students – first.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: You can make a difference right now
    5/21/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    …and hundreds of you already have. Thanks to all of you who sent messages to your elected officials within minutes of learning about our new program.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: 60-Seconds and no to SB3000
    5/20/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    SB3000, the “compromise” education plan is no compromise.
    Read more...

    Newletter: PTA call to action
    5/17/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Students First Illinois would like to thank the Illinois PTA for their efforts on behalf of schoolchildren across the state. We fully encourage and support the efforts outlined in the following appeal for action. Please pass it along to your friends, families and coworkers and encourage them to take action for education today!
    Read more...

    Gidwitz response to the Governor's revised education plan
    5/13/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    CHICAGO, May 13, 2004 – “While I praise the leadership of Sen. President Emil Jones and Sen. Miguel del Valle for working to eliminate the education department proposal, this Senate proposal, by giving every Governor unilateral control of every board member, turns the board and our entire K-12 education system into another political machine.”
    Read more...

    A Statement by Ronald J. Gidwitz
    5/13/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    CHICAGO, May 13, 2004 – “While I praise the leadership of Sen. President Emil Jones and Sen. Miguel del Valle for working to eliminate the education department proposal, this Senate proposal, by giving every Governor unilateral control of every board member, turns the board and our entire K-12 education system into another political machine.”
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fund schools adequately
    5/12/2004 -

    Decatur Herald & Review
    Everyone is focused on how much their school district will win or lose under the governor's proposed education budget. No matter how you slice and dice the numbers, we all lose with this budget.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Updated news and information
    5/10/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    For updated news and information visit http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm today.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Foundation level increase heads to Gov.
    4/30/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Legislation to increase the foundation level now heads to the Governor’s desk (see story below).
    Read more...

    Gidwitz response to the proposed restructuring of the State Board of Education
    4/27/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    CHICAGO, Apr. 27, 2004 -- The single most important responsibility of our state government is the education of our 2.2 million schoolchildren. Today's students will become tomorrow’s leaders and productive citizens, growing our tax base and improving our quality of life.
    Read more...

    A statement by Ronald J. Gidwitz on the future of Illinois
    4/27/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    NOTE: The following statement is in response to today’s House Elementary & Secondary Education hearing on the proposed restructuring of the State Board of Education. Mr. Gidwitz is a member and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, and the president and founder of Students First Illinois.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Get involved today!
    4/16/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Public education shouldn't be better for rich kids than for poor ones, yet funding our schools predominately with property taxes ensures that the lower the income of the neighborhood, the worse education its constituents receive.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR
    4/14/2004 -

    Morris Daily Herald
    The Morris Elementary Board of Education would like to thank those who voted in favor of raising the tax rate in the education fund on March 16.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Only 5 weeks left!
    4/5/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    There are only five weeks left in the Legislative Session. With momentum building day by day, NOW is the time to make public education funding the #1 priority in Illinois. Our schoolchildren cannot afford to wait any longer.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: News and information
    3/25/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Visit http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm for updated news, highlights include:
    Read more...

    DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett
    3/22/2004
    DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett spoke at the DuPage chapter launch of Students First.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: News and thoughts from around the state
    3/18/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    More cost cuts loom after voters reject school tax increases
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: Say yes to school tax hikes
    3/15/2004 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Why the record number? Springfield continues to fail on its constitutional responsibility as the primary funder of our local schools.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Check out the latest news around the state!
    3/12/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Visit http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm for updated news, highlights include:
    Read more...

    Education group kicks off in DuPage
    2/27/2004 -

    Sun Publications
    DuPage County is joining counties around the state in declaring "students first."
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Please get involved and participate in the GROWING public debate on education
    2/24/2004 -

    The Star
    * The House and Senate are holding a special joint session on Mar. 3 (next week) to discuss public education… your participation in Springfield and calls to your representative and senator are important.
    Read more...

    DuPage group seeks education funds
    2/19/2004 -

    Daily Herald
    DuPage County educators hope to boost state funding for schools by teaming up with a statewide group urging grass-roots pressure on legislators.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: SFI members speak out!
    2/17/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Visit http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm for updated news, highlights include:
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Schoolchildren need help now, not more political rhetoric
    2/16/2004 -

    DeKalb Chronicle
    Public education is finally taking center stage in Springfield and making the front page of papers. But is there enough political will to do the right thing?
    Read more...

    EDITORIAL: Setting Priorities
    2/13/2004 -
    Plainfield Sun
    A statewide lobbying group working to convince Springfield to pick up a larger share of the education tab has set some of its grassroots down in Will County.
    Read more...

    EDITORIAL: Often we forget to put 'Students First'
    2/6/2004 -

    Joliet Herald News
    Much of the burden of paying for public schools falls on property taxpayers. As evidenced by the frequent defeat of school referendums seeking more money, taxpayers are saying, "Enough."
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Emergency: Students at Risk
    2/4/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Visit http://www.studentsfirst.us/news.stm for updated news, highlights include:
    Read more...

    Local voice for funding education; Launching effort: State leader to speak at announcement of Students First
    2/3/2004 -

    Joliet Herald News
    PLAINFIELD — A state education official is urging residents to pressure legislators into tackling Illinois' education funding crisis.
    Read more...

    Whatever happens to state school board, let's fix education
    1/31/2004 -

    Chicago Sun-Times

    Read more...

    Newsletter: Address school funding first
    1/26/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    THE FIRST REAL EDUCATIONAL ISSUE THE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE MUST ADDRESS IS SCHOOL FUNDING... scores of public school districts cannot wait any longer while the political rhetoric continues in Springfield.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: News and quotes from around the state
    1/21/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Visit http://studentsfirst.us/news.stm for a very updated news section including: FOX Chicago News Clip (Video) Daily Southtown Editorial (PDF) Letter to the Editor (PDF) Peoria Journal Star Editorial (PDF) Chicago Public Radio Clip (Audio) Illinois Leader Interview (Link)
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: State must change funding for schools
    1/21/2004 -

    Daily Herald
    Public education is finally taking center stage in Springfield. But is there enough political will to do the right thing?
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cut waste, but fix funding system
    1/18/2004 -

    Daily Southtown
    Public education is finally taking center stage in Springfield and making the front pages of the papers. But is there enough political will to do the right thing?
    Read more...

    Gov. proposal to create dept. of ed.
    1/18/2004
    In January 2004 Gov. Blagojevich proposed eliminating the independent State Board of Education and creating a Dept. of Education under his office.
    Read more...

    Ron Gidwitz responds to state of State
    1/16/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    Public education is finally taking center stage in Springfield and making the front pages of the papers. But is there enough political will to do the right thing?
    Read more...

    Huntley states its case on schools Panelists offer ways toaddress funding needs
    1/14/2004 -

    Daily Herald
    The public school funding crisis in Illinois dominated a forum in Huntley Monday night, with panelists offering suggestions for improvements and urging the crowd to get involved to better the situation.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Let's help our schoolchildren
    1/14/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    With depressed education funding in our state, our direction should include strengthening the basic needs. Although the new initiatives are lofty and noble, they take away from the shortfall that most of us are facing. My appeal to the governor, legislature and citizens of Illinois is to finally put Students First.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Spread the word
    1/9/2004 -
    Students First Illinois
    With the opening of the 93rd General Assembly we'll be hearing a lot about public education. Please reply to this email with some local examples of how the school funding emergency is impacting students in your area.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Book Smarts
    1/7/2004 -

    Red Eye
    Rita asked what you were looking forward to in 2004. Here's one response.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Your words from around Illinois
    12/22/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Recent submissions to www.studentsfirst.us:
    Read more...

    Group plans to hold legislators’ ‘feet to the fire’
    12/18/2003 -

    Quincy Herald Whig
    The Students First organization kicked off its Adams/Pike chapter Wednesday with a promise to hold legislators accountable.
    Read more...

    Group forming to lobby for school funding
    12/15/2003 -

    Quincy Herald Whig
    A statewide group dedicated to lobbying legislators for more school funding wants to start a chapter for Adams and Pike counties.
    Read more...

    Group lobbies for more funds for schools
    12/12/2003 -
    Mt. Vernon Sentinel
    MT. VERNON - Education leader Ronald Gidwitz said he believes there's enough money in the state's budget to fund education properly without a tax increase. He was in Mt. Vernon Thursday to solicit support among community leaders to help pressure legislators and the governor to put more money in schools.
    Read more...

    Sheriff: It’s just common sense
    12/12/2003 -

    Mt. Vernon Register-News
    MT. VERNON — Preparing to speak on the importance of increased funding for education, Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch took a survey of the prisoners in his own jail.
    Read more...

    Students First meeting is today
    12/11/2003 -

    Southern Illinoisan
    MOUNT VERNON — Parents, teachers, students and community leaders from Hamilton and Jefferson counties will meet today with Students First Illinois founder Ron Gidwitz, educators, politicians and public service providers from the two counties
    Read more...

    Students First, group tells state
    12/5/2003 -

    Mt. Vernon Register-News
    MT. VERNON — Starting a grassroots effort to boost education funding in the state budget, the former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education will visit the area next week.
    Read more...

    New organization pushes education
    11/24/2003 -

    Edwardsville Intelligencer
    An organization focused on making education the number one priority among Illinois legislators launched its new Madison/St. Clair Chapter recently.
    Read more...

    New organization pushes education
    11/24/2003 -

    Edwardsville Intelligencer
    An organization focused on making education the number one priority among Illinois legislators launched its new Madison/St. Clair Chapter recently.
    Read more...

    Think education first for funding, school official says; He pushes grass-roots effort by residents
    11/19/2003 -

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    A member of the Illinois State Board of Education wants Illinois legislators to give education top priority when it comes to doling out state funds, and he's asking Illinois residents to help convince them.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Students at risk!
    10/28/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    As Students First Illinois continues to grow across the state, we wanted to take this opportunity to recap the issue and ask for your continued support as we move into Veto Session and the Spring Legislative Session.
    Read more...

    Group says put Students First
    10/22/2003 -

    Morris Daily Herald
    The state underfunds public education by about $1.8 billion and an organization is being formed across the state to change that. The fifth chapter of Students First, covering Grundy and Kendall counties, was launched at White Oak Elementary in Morris Tuesday afternoon.
    Read more...

    Ron Gidwitz Receives National Education Award
    10/17/2003 -
    Business Wire
    Ronald J. Gidwitz, a current member and former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, is being awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).
    Read more...

    Fmr. US Sen. Paul Simon
    8/13/2003
    Sen. Simon, "quality education is the key to growth in our country."
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: For kids' sake, get involved
    8/13/2003 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    You and the future of your community rely on strong, healthy, vibrant schools.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Back to School
    8/12/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    It’s back to school across Illinois and that means back to the campaign to put our 2.2 million schoolchildren first.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: Education funding must be restored
    6/8/2003 -

    Daily Herald
    The governor's proposal at best, places a Band-Aid on the bullet wounds of a few school districts.
    Read more...

    Statement from Ron Gidwitz: FY03 is not enough
    6/4/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Thank you for all of your support and action this legislative session. Your efforts have resulted in a FY04 state education budget that is a first step on the long road of putting our 2.2 million schoolchildren first.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Education funding must be restored
    5/29/2003 -

    Daily Herald

    Read more...

    Newsletter: News from around the state
    5/21/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    The following excerpts are from news reports and editorials:
    Read more...

    Students First to lobby lawmakers for education funding
    5/15/2003 -
    Sauk Valley Newspapers
    DIXON — As a mother, Kathy Etchison will take a stand with other parents and teachers to reinstate state funding for schools.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Take action before the end of session
    5/15/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    MAY 15 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Associated Press) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he welcomes lawmakers' attempts to add nearly $300 million to his proposed education budget. But the governor is placing the task of finding the extra money on the shoulders of legislators.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Schools lose in proposed state budget
    5/14/2003 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Everyone is focused on how much his or her school district will win or lose under the governor's proposed education budget. However, no matter how you slice and dice the numbers, we all lose with this budget.
    Read more...

    LETTER TO EDITOR: Schools lose in proposed state budget
    5/14/2003 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Let's hold our elected officials to their campaign promises on education.
    Read more...

    Band-Aids on Bullet Wounds
    5/8/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Everyone is focused on how much his or her school district will win or lose under the Governor’s proposed FY04 education budget. However, no matter how you slice and dice the numbers, we all lose with this budget.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Make your elected officials listen!
    5/7/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Toward the end of the day, Rep. Mike Smith, D-Canton, and chairman of the "committee of the whole" session, introduced a panel of students about to testify. "It might be nice if they thought we were paying attention to them," Smith said, urging his colleagues to pipe down. – Copley News Service, May 6
    Read more...

    The proposed budget at best, places a band-aid on the bullet wounds of a few districts.
    5/6/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    May 6, 2003 SPRINGFIELD Good morning. I am Ron Gidwitz, member of the Illinois State Board of Education and Founder and President of Students First.
    Read more...

    Testimony of Ronald J. Gidwitz
    5/5/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    May 6, 2003 SPRINGFIELD – Mr. Chairman, members, distinguished guests from across Illinois – it’s a pleasure to be here today – to have the opportunity to speak with you– about an issue that is of paramount importance to all of us, indeed, this is an issue that will make or break the very future of each of your home districts and the entire state.
    Read more...

    Media Advisory: Gidwitz to discuss the state of education at the City Club of Chicago
    4/30/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    WHO: Ronald J. Gidwitz, outgoing Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education and Founder & President of the Students First Foundation.
    Read more...

    Newsletter: Make your mark on May 6
    4/30/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Thanks to pressure from people like you, the Illinois House will hold a “committee of the whole” meeting beginning at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6 in the House Chamber, for the purpose of discussing and reviewing the FY2004 Education Budget. The committee consists of every State Representative, including yours.
    Read more...

    Students First rally in Canton, IL
    4/26/2003
    See the story on the rally at Canton High School.
    Read more...

    ISBE Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz completes his term
    4/18/2003

    Read more...

    Gidwitz statement on the completion of his term as Chairman of the State Board
    4/18/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Chicago - My term as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education has expired and the Governor is expected to appoint a new Chairman shortly. I will continue to serve as Chairman until the new appointment is made and I will remain a member of the board until my term expires in January 2005.
    Read more...

    Gidwitz bids farewell to tenure as Chairman of the State Board
    4/17/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    I wanted to personally inform you that my term as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education has expired and the Governor is expected to appoint a new Chairman shortly. I will continue to serve as Chairman until the new appointment is made and I will remain a member of the board until my term expires in January 2005.
    Read more...

    Thanks to all who supported Dist. 79
    4/13/2003 -

    Daily Herald
    For long-term funding solutions, visit and get involved with Students First, www.studentsfirst.us - a not-for-profit group looking at ways to fund public education in the state of Illinois.
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    Scoopsville . . .
    4/11/2003 -

    Chicago Tribune
    Both sides now:
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    Newsletter: Put students first NOW!
    4/9/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    “Schools belong at the front of the class.” “Refreshingly, the group [Students First] is not calling for an increase in state taxes. It simply wants state lawmakers to make education its top spending priority, and to balance the budget in other, less critical areas.”
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    EDITORIAL: SCHOOLS BELONG AT FRONT OF CLASS
    4/5/2003 -

    Belleville News Democrat
    Refreshingly, the group [Students First] is not calling for an increase in state taxes. It simply wants state lawmakers to make education its top spending priority, and to balance the budget in other, less critical areas.
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    EDITORIAL: Let's go back to square one on school-funding formula
    4/3/2003 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Whatever your particular situation, everyone has a stake in fixing the school-funding crisis, because everyone has to live with the results. Whether a 5-year-old of today will, a few decades from now, rob you or work for you, be a contributing member of society or a drag on it, depends largely on the quality of schools.
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    Hundreds rally to promote education funding
    4/3/2003 -

    Copley News Service
    Hoping to send a wakeup call to lawmakers, roughly 300 people chanted and cheered Wednesday outside the state Capitol as a succession of speakers said more must be spent on public education.
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    Newsletter: Paul Simon joins Students First
    4/3/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    March 31, 2003 Chicago Tribune: During a press conference last week, Gov. Rod Blagojevich fielded a question from WLS-TV reporter Andy Shaw about the 65 school districts that face April 1 financing referendums. Shaw asked if the governor would recommend that those voters look to local tax bases rather than depend on the state for support for their schools.
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    Protesters call on state government to increase education funding
    4/2/2003 -

    Copley News Service
    Hoping to send a wake-up call to lawmakers, roughly 300 people chanted and cheered Wednesday outside the state Capitol as a succession of speakers said more must be spent on public education.
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    Education rally set Wednesday
    3/29/2003 -

    State Journal Register
    Statewide, eight in 10 school districts are in deficit, according to Students First. Illinois ranks 48th nationwide in state funding for education.
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    EDITORIAL: Organization offers a novel way to advocate for schools
    3/27/2003 -

    Southern Illinoisan
    It's a bold plan, but something has to be done save Illinois schools.
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    Southern Illinoisan endorses Students First
    3/27/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Thursday, March 27, 2003 - Ron Gidwitz is amassing what he believes is the state's most powerful lobbying group -- the people of Illinois. He has launched an intriguing grass roots effort to organize parents, students, teachers and John Q. Public to send a message to legislators that the Illinois school system can't afford to be shortchanged this budget cycle
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    Educator: Hold politicians to promises
    3/27/2003 -

    Bloomington Pantagraph
    He believes a tax increase isn't necessary to provide the proposed increase. Instead, Gidwitz - who referred to a discretionary budget that dwarfs that provided for education - said priorities must change.
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    Newsletter: Let's put our students first
    3/26/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    It is hard for me to understand, in this modern age, how our government has blinders on when it comes to educating our youth. These youth of today are our future.
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    Board of Education chief launches foundation to address school funding
    3/25/2003 -

    State Journal Register
    Gidwitz doesn't support enacting a tax increase as a way to channel more money to public schools. Rather, he wants the state to fund education first, then address its other spending priorities.
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    State education board chief sets up foundation on school funding
    3/24/2003 -

    Copley News Service
    The dire financial situation faced by many Illinois school districts has prompted a top state education official to set up an organization meant to spur public debate on school funding.
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    STATE EDUCATION CHIEFS URGE PUBLIC INPUT ON FINANCIAL CRISIS
    3/22/2003 -

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Gidwitz and Schiller said a few school districts across the state were nearing bankruptcy, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich has said education funding would remain flat this year because the state has a total budget deficit nearing $5 billion
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    State releases school watch list; Several area districts land on warning profile
    3/20/2003 -

    State Journal Register
    Nearly one-third of Illinois' 893 public school districts are contending with serious money problems, according to the State Board of Education.
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    100 schools on new state watch list
    3/19/2003 -

    Copley News Service
    Nearly one-third of Illinois' 893 public school districts are contending with serious money problems, according to the State Board of Education.
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    Newsletter
    3/19/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    “I fear that as a history teacher I will some day have to teach about another ‘lost generation.’ This generation won't be lost to the horrors of war. Rather they will be lost to something even more horrific, a society's lack of concern for its young.”
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    Foundation Support
    3/19/2003 -

    Education Week
    Chafed by what he sees as a perpetual lack of support for the state's public schools, the chairman of the Illinois board of education has taken an unorthodox step to build interest and financial help for K-12 institutions: He is launching his own foundation.
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    New group wants state to put Students First
    3/16/2003 -

    Decatur Herald & Review
    The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education has started a grass-roots organization to encourage people to demand that legislators put education funding at the top of the state agenda.
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    Chair of board of education says state needs to step up
    3/14/2003
    The Chairman of the State Board of Education says elected officials need to do their chartered duty and properly fund education.
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    State school official launches campaign for school funding
    3/13/2003 -

    Daily Herald
    The chairman of the state board of education says referendums are not working for schools, so he is spearheading a movement to put more money for schools into the state budget.
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    A statement by Students First Founder & President
    3/12/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    CHICAGO (March 12, 2003) – “We applaud the Governor’s vision for early childhood education, teacher recruitment and parental involvement, and welcome his leadership to help make our schools second to none.” “However, without addressing the crisis that’s crippling our classrooms, parents may have to be the ones teaching class, serving lunch and driving the bus.
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    Newsletter: Thank you for your support
    3/12/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    We’re only days new and have already received an outpouring of support from hundreds of people from across the state. Though it’s great to hear from individual parents and teachers, it’s sad to see how the school crisis is hurting children. More reason to encourage others to sign-up with Students First today.
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    Group plans to lobby for school funds
    3/4/2003 -

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Across Illinois, early childhood education, band, foreign language classes and other programs are getting the ax as eight out of 10 school districts deal with budget deficits, says Ron Gidwitz, chairman of the Illinois Board of Education, and he wants to do something about it.
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    Newsletter: How many more children will we abandon?
    3/4/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    Last Monday, the Elgin School District U46 board was forced to reduce nearly 1,700 district employees, including 850 teachers, in a desperate attempt to make financial ends meet. Without any help from the state, the elected men and women of the Elgin board had nowhere else to go, but into the classroom. The reduction will eliminate at least 400 to 500 teachers.
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    Spike O'Dell
    2/28/2003
    Students First Illinois launched on Chicago radio with Spike O'Dell.
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    School funding: Sounding off; Students First: Will County chapter holds Plainfield rally
    2/4/2003 -

    Joliet Herald News
    PLAINFIELD — When Students First Illinois made its Will County debut Tuesday night, each speaker said the same thing: Something must be done about school funding.
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    Remarks by Ronald J. Gidwitz
    1/12/2003 -
    Students First Illinois
    JAN. 12, 2003 (HUNTLEY, IL) Thank you distinguished panelists, elected officials and organizers of tonight’s event. I am honored to be invited to your community.
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