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Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visits OCC
Olney Daily Mail
June 27, 2011
By Matt Courter
Olney, Ill. — Lt. Governor Sheila Simon visited Olney Central College Friday afternoon as part of her Complete College Tour.
Simon visited Illinois Eastern Community Colleges this week, according to information from her office, “to learn how its schools achieve some of the highest completion rates in the state and the nation.”
Speaking in a classroom that included OCC faculty, staff and other community members, Simon said the visit was also about learning how the state could work better with the junior colleges and fostering the transitions between the different education levels of high-school and a four-year university.
Simon, asking if there were any questions, heard from a remedial reading instructor who thought that standardized testing, in which students fill in an oval for an answer, was not always an accurate reflection of how her students were learning.
Simon said the state was starting to shift away from this, but “maybe not as fast as you would like.”
Vicki Stuckey asked about funding for the Monetary Awards Program Grant and the Illinois Veterans Grant Program.
She said the loss of state funds for these programs has had a big impact.
Simon said the governor has been advised of the MAP program funding and has worked to get it restored, adding that she would like to be able to promise more money, but the state’s current financial reality is that it will be pinching pennies for “quite a long time.”
A nursing department instructor said that classes are being filled, but there is a problem finding registered nurses who can teach. She said there needs to be more state funding to help nurses get master’s degrees.
Simon said there is a realization that there are needs in such areas, but again stated that she did not know if more state funding could be promised.
Simon started her tour Wednesday at Wabash Valley College. She visited OCC, Lincoln Trail and Frontier Community College on Friday.
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