December 6, 2005
Posted online: January 6, 2006
Preparing Illinois students for the
STATE OF ILLINOIS
CHICAGO -- Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn proposed the I-Connect
Initiative today to provide a personal laptop computer for all
169,000 seventh grade students in Illinois public schools. Laptop
computer initiatives in other states have significantly improved
Modeled after the Maine Learning Technology Initiative,
I-Connect will allow Illinois students to learn anywhere at
anytime with their laptop computer. Henrico County in Virginia
introduced a similar laptop initiative for students in grades
6-12. Last school year, students in that school district achieved
the highest SAT verbal and math scores ever recorded in the
county, just four years after the program began.
"No Illinois child should be left on the wrong side of
the digital divide," Quinn said. "Laptops are the
textbooks of tomorrow."
Under Quinn’s proposal, Illinois seventh grade students
will be issued a laptop computer at the beginning of the school
year and would be allowed to keep the laptop computer over the
course of six years. School districts will decide how the laptop
computer will be utilized in the classroom. Teachers will also
receive professional training on how to integrate laptop
computers into everyday curriculum.
Andrew Jackson Language Academy has been wired for the
Internet since 1995 and has made 20 laptop computers available to
students since 1999. Each classroom is also equipped with two
desktop computers. Principal Dr. Mary Zeltmann and a group of
seventh grade students also joined Quinn at the event.
Quinn also traveled to Jefferson Middle School in Champaign,
Carbondale Middle School in Carbondale and the Jackie
Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis to announce the I-Connect
The I-Connect Initiative would provide laptop computers to
every Illinois seventh grader in public school by closing a
long-standing loophole in the Illinois tax code which allows
retail merchants to pocket 1.75% of the state sales tax collected
by retailers as a collection commission.
The loophole reform would lower the retail sales tax
collection commission from 1.75% to 1% and would generate an
estimated $50 million annually to pay for the I-Connect
Lt. Governor Quinn serves as Chairman of the Broadband
Deployment Council. The Council was created under Executive Order
in September to address Internet access needs for all Illinois
citizens and to help bridge the digital divide.
As Lt. Governor, Quinn is also chairman of the Rural Affairs
Council which recently provided Wireless Main Street grants to
the communities of Mt. Vernon and Quincy in Downstate
For more information about the I-Connect Initiative, visit www.IllinoisConnect.org.