Even though The Chicago Teachers College North was established to train teachers, their mission was about to change to include other degrees as well.
In March of 1964, The Illinois Board of Higher Education recommended that the state acquire the college. This came as no surprise to most people, because the State of Illinois was providing the lionís share of the financing to the college since 1951. Most people felt this move was reasonable. Dean Willis, The General Superintendent of The Chicago Board of Education, however, was reluctant.
While many approved of the plan to turn the college over to state hands, it was Dean Cook who was most fervent about it. Cook, like so many others, had grown aggravated over Willisí stone-walling tactics. It was common for Cook to stand up in faculty meetings and read letters that he had sent to Willis. After he had read them, he would hold them up, drop them and say, "I received no answer!"
At first, Willis did not take a public position against the school being turned over to the state, but he was said to hold "a negative attitude". The negative attitude could have stemmed from Willisí fear that the college would no longer place the same emphasis on creating grade school teachers for the Chicago Public Schools. He did publicly state that if the Chicago Board of Education lost control of the school, it would inevitably lead to increased costs for students who wished to enroll in a teachers college.
In an attempt to reveal the merits and demerits of the proposal, Dr. Robert Havighurst, a distinguished scholar from The University of Chicago was asked to do a study. He found some very compelling reasons for the school to be handed over to the state.
Willis eventually went on the record as agreeing with many of the suggestions put forth in the Havighurst report, and even told how a 1956 report suggested many of the same improvements.
In the end, it may have been Willisí own arguments that contributed to the
decision of the Chicago Board to concur with the recommendation of the Illinois
Board of Higher Education. In a special meeting on February 17, the members
voted seven to two to recommend the state plan and to take position of the
college. Shortly after that, the school would be renamed Illinois State Teachers
College. To learn more, go to The Northeastern Illinois
site was created by James McDunn. Information within this site was taken
from the writings of Jerome Sachs, Ph. D,