The 21st Show

Even More Students Leaving IL; Farm Income And Bankruptcy; Midwest Flooding; March Madness


Seth Wenig/AP

On The 21st: Why are so many high school grads here in Illinois leaving the state for college? Plus, with farm income down and more farmers filing for bankruptcy, comparisons are being drawn to the crisis of the 1980s. But, economists are hesitant to call it that. And, recovery efforts continue across the Midwest after massive flooding forced thousands of people out of their homes. Also, we're talking March Madness. 

If you applied to college last winter, you’re probably in the middle of the waiting game right now. It’s a stressful time and last week’s news about dozens of people bribing college officials probably didn’t help.

It’s also a stressful time for Illinois’ leaders who are hoping that our high school grads don’t leave the state to attend a four-year college. But the latest numbers show that this problem is getting worse. In 2017, more than 48 percent of public high school grads in Illinois, who went to four-year colleges, left the state to do so.

Dawn Rhodes has been reporting on this. She’s the higher ed reporter for the Chicago Tribune. I’m also joined by Eric Lichtenberger, a deputy director with the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


Farm income is down 50 percent since 2013. And at the same time, the number of farmers who have filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy has been rising in Midwestern states like Nebraska and Kansas for three consecutive years.

Those numbers don’t sound good for the Midwest. So is it time to call this a “farm crisis”? Economists say not yet.

Mike Doherty joined us on the line, he’s the senior economist for the Illinois Farm Bureau. 

Esther Honig also spoke with us. She’s been reporting on this for Harvest Public Media.


Massive flooding in the Midwest over the past week has forced thousands of people from their homes. At least three deaths have been associated with the flooding so far and Nebraska, Iowa South Dakota and Wisconsin have all declared emergencies. Recovery efforts are continuing today.

Towns in Illinois have been hit as well, especially in the Rockford area and along our Western border with Iowa.

Sarah Jesmer has been reporting on the flooding in Winnebago county in Northern Illinois. She’s with WNIJ and she’s spoke with us from there. 

Our neighbors to the North in Wisconsin have also seen heavy damage. For an update on the situation there, Meg Jones joined us. She’s a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


It’s officially the time of year when 64 college basketball teams vie for the national title in what’s known as March Madness.

Last year we put our hopes in Sister Jean and the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago, who had a great run and made it to the final four.

This year, there are plenty of Big Ten teams to keep an eye on. And, thanks to a first place finish at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Bradley University will be the only Illinois team in the men’s tournament this year. They’ll play their first game tomorrow afternoon against Michigan State. DePaul is the only Illinois team in the women’s tournament.

Chicago Tribune Sports Writer Teddy Greenstein joined us for the breakdown. 

Story source: WILL