- Illinois Central College President John Erwin and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis plan to push the idea of a four-year public university for Peoria next week when University of Illinois President Robert Easter joins community and business leaders for a luncheon at the Civic Center.
- Erwin says an accessible and affordable public institution in the area could raise education levels for teachers, raise overall education levels of the area's work force and attract and retain young professionals and businesses.
- Bringing a state school to Peoria has been named a "high priority" by the City Council, and a strategy mentioned for testing the waters is to extend UIS' footprint in the area by offering a master's of education.
From the article:
Slightly more than 50 percent of Peoria School District 150 teachers held master's degrees in 2011, according to the latest school report card. At Dunlap Community Unit School District 323, the figure was 48.5 percent. The two districts may have different demographics - Peoria, a struggling urban district next to Dunlap, the high-achieving suburban district - but the percentage of teachers in both districts is lower than the statewide average of 60 percent. To John Erwin, president of Illinois Central College, that's one of many examples that show why Peoria needs a four-year public university. ...