Crain's Chicago Business: U of I president urges 'big-picture' education reform

The president of the University of Illinois System says the state needs a more strategic, big-picture approach to its public education system.

No one has proffered the kind of reform that integrates public high schools, through to higher education, including community colleges and the state's public universities, he told the Crain's editorial board this week.

To deal with the twin challenges of Illinois high school graduates increasingly leaving the state for college and a future nationwide student headcount contraction, Illinois needs more than ad hoc legislative fixes, he said. While there have been proposals to consider closing some universities, given the state's fiscal stress, Killeen didn't go that far.

"The state should be looking at the big picture of public education," he said. "I'm not suggesting closing anything, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement. The transitions in particular are inefficient. The types of students that can support regional economies are very important in the thinking so that's why we want to map the innovation agenda into the public education reform agenda. That seems to be missing in the dialogue."  Click here to read more