NEWS

McGee Will Conduct "Achievement Gap" Research at NIU
When Term as State Superintendent Ends

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2001
For Information:217/782-4648
312/814-1486

DECEMBER 13, 2001 -- State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee will conduct research at Northern Illinois University on the achievement gap issue under a 6-month state grant after his contract as superintendent expires December 31, the Illinois State Board of Education announced today.

ISBE will provide funding for the research in the amount of approximately $125,000 -- equal to half of McGee's annual salary and benefits in the state superintendent's job, which he has held for three years, plus costs to NIU for directing the grant.

"The Board has consistently said since last summer that it would reach an agreement with Supt. McGee that would result in his continuing to provide service to the State Board for six months after his departure," ISBE Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz said at the Board's regular monthly meeting.

McGee was instrumental in bringing the achievement gap issue into public view during his tenure as state superintendent. His expertise in this field, his proven abilities as a researcher and his thorough knowledge of the academic performance of Illinois public school students make him ideally suited to perform these studies, Gidwitz said.

"The project worked out among the NIU Center for Governmental Studies, ISBE and McGee will produce data with great potential for helping to improve achievement in Illinois classrooms. We take pleasure in being able to continue our relationship with Max McGee, and we look forward to the findings and recommendations he will make to the State Board, which will help guide our policy-making on the achievement gap," he said.

Precise details of the project will be determined shortly, and will possibly include: identifying characteristics of high performing-low income schools; analyzing the relationship between academic difficulty and financial difficulty; analyzing student performance in relation to family characteristics; and the completion of policy profiles, suitable for publication, on the studies.