Illinois Loop
Your guide to education in Illinois
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The Illinois Loop website is no longer updated on a a regular basis. However, since many of the links and articles have content and perspectives that are just as valid today, we are keeping this website online for parents, teachers and others researching school issues and solutions.
Broken links:If you encounter links that no longer lead to the desired article, it's still often possible to retrieve them. Most of the linked items include a sentence or more from the original. Copy a section of that text, and type it into Google surrounded by quotes. More often than not, Google will find the article at a revised location.
-- Kevin C. Killion, writer, editor and webmaster


The Illinois Loop will help you understand your child's school

    Are you puzzled by your child's school?
    We can help you!

    To get started:
    Just click on any of the topics on the blue bar at the top of this page!

What is happening to Illinois schools?

    All across Illinois parents are talking about very startling developments:

    • First graders not taught the mechanics of reading, and instead told to guess at words by their shapes
    • Second graders asked what "color" math is, and "working in groups" on "strategies" -- but not learning basic arithmetic
    • Fourth graders who have yet to be exposed to any real substance in history or geography
    • Fifth graders required to choose a book to read from a list of "award-winners" with dark, depressing themes
    • A lone, nervous sixth grader reciting his short report on Britain -- the only exposure his grade-school classmates will ever get to any English history
    • Seventh graders doing a unit on rainforests (for the third time)
    • Graduating eighth graders who can't do basic math without a calculator, who are unable to identify major cities, states or nations of the world on a map, and who have never heard of Copernicus, Renoir, Napoleon or Frost

    How can this be ... when Illinois claims to have "strong state standards" for education?
    How can this be ... in suburbs groaning under huge property taxes to pay for their lavishly-funded local schools?
    How can this be ... when the average school district superintendent is paid more than the Illinois governor?

    The Illinois Loop website helps to provide information on issues in Illinois education to the parents who are consumers of that education, to the taxpayers who pay for it, and to everyone who wants to restore quality to Illinois schools.


    "I've now visited your website and I think it is wonderful.
    [The] school reform movement [is] no longer a wilderness, thanks to efforts like yours
    to inform parents about what really goes on in their children's schools
    and how things got that way and what to do about it. ... Keep up the good work!"
    -- Rita Kramer
    Author, Ed School Follies

    "Your web site is spectacular! So glad you brought it to my attention. Gratefully yours,"
    -- Christina Hoff Sommers
    Author, The War Against Boys

    "I finally got around to examining your web site and I was amazed.
    What a marvelous job you have done!"
    -- Frank Allen
    Former president, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

    "I could spend hours -- days -- on your site."
    -- Peyton Wolcott
    Author, Education, Inc.

    "I want to commend you on the Loop! ... You and the online network have created a lasting impression on the school reform movement."
    -- Patricia H. Lee
    Managing Vice President, Institute for Justice

    "Illinois Loop: Great critiques on looney fads in education.
    Excellent source of reason and evidence."
    -- Martin Kozloff, Watson Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina

    "A terrific site that offers a fabulously rich environment for the exploration of educational lunacy."
    -- The Instructivist blog

    "What an awesome site!"
    -- John E. Stone, Ed. D.
    Education Consumers ClearingHouse

    "Your site looks wonderful!"
    -- Donna Garner

    "The research on your Illinois Loop website continues to be incredibly useful! Thank you so much for your many years of work on behalf of Illinois and the rest of the nation."
    -- Elizabeth Carson, NYC HOLD

    "There is a terrific site that offers a fabulously rich environment for the exploration of educational lunacy ..."
    -- The Instructivist

    "Gettin' Loopy: Yep, they're loopy out in the Prairie. Any more (as Midwesterners like to preface their sentences), there's the Chicago El Loop, the now-famous Lake Erie Electrical Loop, and, my favorite, the Illinois Loop Web Site. ... I post here the link to their interesting, no-holds-barred, and ever-expanding web page on testing and assessment. But, the entire Illinois Loop Web Site is a wonder to behold; it is well worth one's time to complete the circuit.
    -- Richard P. Phelps, Education News, Tuesday, August 19, 2003

    "It's nerve wracking ... to watch the years passing by while [my children's] boredom and frustration grows. They attend what is considered to be one of the best public schools in Chicago and yet the bar is so low. Illinois Loop is helping me gain the confidence and calm I need to fully face my responsibility for my children's education. Thank you."
    -- a Mom in Chicago

    "I just have to tell you that I'm amazed whenever I go to the Illinois Loop website. You continue to do the most incredible job at synthesizing and highlighting key information. The whole country is lucky that you have designed this website."
    -- a college professor in Ohio

    "Your site is fantastic because it is everything that should be done in education, none of this fluffy, touchy-feely business"
    -- a high school physics teacher in the Chicago Public Schools

    "I want to thank you for your honest and forthright information and not being afraid to tell the truth. I wish more parents were not so apathetic and would get informed and involved. ... Thank you, thank you, thank you Illinois Loop!"
    -- a parent in Homer Glen

    "One of the best sites for public education information that I've ever seen. ... Every parent and taxpayer in the U.S. should access this site to get a basic understanding of what has happened to public education in the U.S. ... Keep up the outstanding work!"
    -- G.B., a visitor to our website

    "Thank you for your timely, informative, and insightful articles on the status of education in Illinois and the nation. I have recommended your web site to many friends. In my opinion, it is a gem and always worth the time that I invest in perusing the articles."
    -- a parent in Grayslake

    "This is a great site. A number of parents in our area have been concerned about many of these issues in our school district for some time. ... Keep up the great work! It will be a wonderful resource for use in our continuing efforts to bring content back into the classroom."
    -- a suburban parent

    "The Illinois Loop has been the life raft that has pulled us to the shore of knowledge. Thank you!! (Goodness this sounds like an academy award speech!!)."
    -- a parent in Highland Park

    "The Loop is just great. Thanks for all you are doing."
    -- a suburban parent

    " You are doing education a great service."
    -- a suburban parent

    "Wow! I stumbled upon your incredible website purely by accident, and what a gold mine of information and links! Your content needs to be shouted from the rooftops, posthaste! Here's fair warning that I plan to quote from your material a LOT in the near future, and I won't take no for an answer. :-) Please keep up the excellent work, I look forward to exploring the rest of your site!."
    -- a teacher in Philadelphia

    " I must tell you how absolutely delighted I am to have discovered your site via the web."
    -- a suburban parent

    "You provide a worthy service with; I pass the website on to family and friends -- and it's an eyeopener for many."
    -- a suburban parent

    "You have a wonderful and indispensable site. I am glad there are people out there battling the anti-knowledge forces."
    -- a suburban parent

    "I look forward to regular visits to, with real hope that you are able to effectuate change. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you ... I do intend to point others to your informative site. ... Believe me when I say that our future as a society truly depends on this sort of effort."
    -- a parent in Guam

    "My husband is running for the school board so we can try to rescue our schools from projects, fuzzy math and whole language reading instruction. We're looking for GOOD info on education. I bookmarked your website several years ago when I was researching reading and I come here to see the 'real deal' on methods. A thousand thanks for this excellent resource!"
    -- a couple in Wyoming

    "Your website is a gold mine of education information. ... Please add me to your list so I can stay on top of the issues."
    -- an elected state school board member [in another state]

    This message is my way of trying to thank the folks responsible for your website and its many useful links. .. I fought the system for four years with its attempts to force me to read to/for my students, allow them to cheat off each other in so-called group learning activities or draw pictures and cut out paper dolls [Thematic Visualization] rather than read and write."
    -- former public school English teacher

    "Thank you for your tireless work in coordinating the Illinois Loop and educating others about what's really going on in the world of education these days! I love the Illinois Loop and often direct people to the web site and forward the articles to our current board members."
    -- a north suburban parent

    "Thanks for bucking the tide of unreason!"
    -- Ph.D. professor of education, Canada

    "Your site is fantastic because it is everything that should be done in education, none of this fluffy, touchy-feely business."
    -- A high school physics teacher in the Chicago Public Schools

    "Prior to becoming an attorney, I earned two Masters degrees (one of which was in special education) and a Doctorate in education. For 30 years I was a public school teacher and administrator. I absolutely concur with your perspective on the structure and strategies of public education."
    -- a Chicago attorney

    "Wow, is ever accurate about school processes and strategies! ... I find schools' resistance to systemic change to focus on children to be pathetic and embarassing. Advocates for public education are having more and more difficulty defending schools. ... Every day I understand more about the enormous difficulty of truly changing schools so that they focus on kids. ... I applaud your insights and efforts."
    -- A local former teacher and assistant superintendent

    "I have 8 more years of teaching in the public school system still to go before I can retire and I feel more optimistic that I can make it since finding your website. You are a most welcome antidote to the insanity!! I need the laughs, the insight and the sense that I'm not alone which your website provides and I've only explored a little. Many thanks!!!!"
    -- Kathy, a teacher in Toronto

    "For all you do, thank you! How I wish you were running the educational programs in our district, our state. Ever consider?"
    -- a local parent

    "Thanks for everything you are doing! How can I get involved?"
    -- an Illinois math teacher (25+ years)

    "Thank you so much for your site - I thought I was losing my mind!"
    -- signed, "frustrated Math Mom in New York"

    "This site is the Holy Grail! ... Great site ... keep up the good work."
    -- an architect

    "This is the most fantastic education site, and I just wanted to thank you for your work. I wish everyone could see this site so they had a clear understanding of the follies in the modern education establishment. ... You guys are my heroes, and I absolutely love this site."
    -- a teacher in Miami

    "My son ... forwarded your [web address] to me a few weeks ago. Your notes are the best current compilation of what is happening today and I commend you for them."
    -- a parent in Newton, MA

    "God bless you! Know this is lots of work on your part. But it will pay off in the long run. I am starting to give out the web site address to candidates who often talk about solutions to education when in reality they have "no clue" as to what their solution will do. Thanks for all you do."
    -- a suburban parent

    "This is DELIGHTFUL! I was an English professor for 20 years and now am a talk radio show host. ... Your site is delightful ... And your clear laying out of the issues (liberal vs. conservative) is balanced and fair-minded. Thank you so much for your wish to return high standards and common sense to public school teaching."
    -- a Vermont Dad

    "I just started browsing through your site. However, it will take me a while to digest it all. I think, based on what I have read so far, that it is wonderful."
    -- a career-switcher, going back to ed school to become a teacher

    "What a spectacular bringing together of information!"
    -- a suburban parent

    "Thanks for all your work! The site is a wealth of information and I have used it often in my struggles.."
    -- a suburban parent

    "Congratulations on creating a comprehensive, one-stop information shop for parents and education activists that is both deep and wide! You have provided pointers to all of the "things that make you go, 'Hmmm...'" in K-12 education, which would otherwise take weeks of intensive Interent searching to collect -- if you knew what to look for in the first place. Keep up the good work."
    -- a Minnesota education activist

    "You are such a gem to send out these marvelous pieces to all of us. I am in awe of your passion and perseverance to fix the problems with education."
    -- an Ed.D. in the Chicago suburbs

    "Congratulations! You should be so proud of having provided such quality information to so many people."
    -- a suburban teacher

    "I love being able to arm myself against the progressive establishment with the articles you post. Thanks."
    -- a sixth grade teacher in Texas

    "Fantastic site!! Hope we can get something going like this in MA."
    -- a former teacher and current school board member in Massachusetts


Tips on Viewing Links

PDF Documents

    Many of the links we provide are to "PDF" documents. If your computer doesn't have the Adobe Acrobat Reader already, you can download it here for free.

Broken Links?

    We link to many other sources for information. Sometimes these other websites drop an item, or relocate it to a new web address. A newspaper may make an article available for free for a short term, but charge a fee after that.

    In such cases, you still may be able to find the story! For most of our links, we provide a brief excerpt. Find a phrase or sentence in that excerpt that is unlikely to appear commonly in many stories. Then, go to Google and enter this phrase as your search request, making sure (this is important!) to enclose your phrase in quotes. That tells Google to only report items with that exact phrase.

    If Google finds it, but their link doesn't work either (this happens quite a bit with newspaper stories), then use the link on the word "Cached" in the Google listing. (Most people don't even notice that this helpful link is there.)

    If we have a broken link to an article, but you find an updated location on the Internet, please let us know! It's especially helpful to us if you send us both
    1. the web address we have on our Illinois Loop website (so we can find where we refer to it).
      (Note: you can get this by pointing to it, doing a right-click (or a control-click on a Mac) and choosing the popup item with something like "Copy Link Location". You can then paste the address into your message to us.)
    2. the new web address where you found it.
    Thank you!!!

Contact Us

    We are all volunteers, providing this site without salary or compensation. If you'd like to send us a note, use our "contact" page!


    You can search the Illinois Loop website here.


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