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Latino State News

Gov. Quinn Names Gery Chico Head of Illinois State Board of Education

Today, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Gery Chico to the head of the Illinois State Board of Education.

The former mayoral candidate, and former chairman of Chicago’s public school system was called a “leader of distinction” by Gov. Quinn. Chico brings a number of political and education connections into office, and will become only the second Latino to hold this position.

The agency oversees 868 school districts, has a budget of $11.2 billion, and has 2.1 million students.

Chico will take on the hefty task of improving Illinois’ troubled public education system just as major budget cuts are being made. Currently, a $171 million proposed cut to public school funding sits on Gov. Quinn’s desk.

Tuesday, Chico endorsed an education reform bill that if passed would change the way teachers earn tenure, and would make it more difficult for teachers to strike, and would make CPS’ school days and years longer.

“Nobody says this is a magic wand,” Chico said. “But nobody could ever tell me that spending more time on a subject doesn’t yield results.”

In the race for Chicago mayor earlier this year, Chico was beat out only by Rahm Emanuel, though he came in at a distant second.

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