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Governor Highlights Lead Higher Initiative

As part of Illinois’ commitment to improving quality, equity and access to education, Governor Bruce Rauner and Secretary of Education Beth Purvis today met with students taking part in the Lead Higher Initiative at Belleville West High School. Illinois is the first state in the country to sign on to the Lead Higher Initiative, committing to closing the race and income gaps in student access to AP and IB classes.

“In Illinois, we have a focus on ensuring every student has a quality education from cradle to career, and these classes will help lay a foundation for the future of these students,” Governor Rauner said. “It goes without saying that different students face different challenges. But we have a moral obligation to position all students to receive a first-class education and not only survive, but thrive, in school and their career.”

The Governor’s Office and the Illinois State Board of Education joined Lead Higher together in a joint application. Illinois was selected for the Lead Higher Initiative because of the state’s commitment to improving quality and equity in schools. At Belleville West High School, there was already a strong AP program delivering high-quality coursework to students.  As a result of the Lead Higher Initiative’s work, the school is breaking down barriers that might have prevented some students from accessing that coursework in the past. The students Governor Rauner and Secretary Purvis met with today will take these college prep courses next year. AP/IB classes are an important step in getting ready for college.

“The Lead Higher Initiative will help us reach more scholars who may not have thought of themselves as college or career ready before,” Secretary of Education Beth Purvis said. “This will help ensure every student has the opportunities they need that will lead to high-paying, high-quality careers.”

In the last two years, Governor Rauner has helped increase state support for education with a record investment in PK-12 education. He also formed the bipartisan School Funding Reform Commission which submitted its report last week on how to fix Illinois’ broken school funding formula.