Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level. That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade. 1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.
The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing. The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions. That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.
"If we see no difference between 3rd grade and 11th grade, it would say to me we have lost them by 3rd grade," Executive Director Dr. Jean Hinton said. "And then we keep building and pushing them through this system."
The Coalition's Data Analyst Sarah Bjelland has researched how the lack of achievement translates into the working world. "We've been looking at the job listings for the top employers in the county. What we have found is 52% of the top employers have job openings for people with 4 years of college or more and, based on the last census, Macon County only has a population with 4 years of college or more at 22%," she said.
Bjelland and Dr. Hinton joined WUIS' Sean Crawford on Illinois Edition: