Action alert: sign petition opposing lifting mask mandate

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against 145 school districts including Chicago Public Schools, Governor Pritzker and ISBE by groups of parents at these districts to lift the mask mandate and other covid safety measures in the schools. Each group of parents gave Attorney Tom Devore $5000 totalling $725K donated to make our schools and communities unsafe.

Parents in Algonquin launched a petition to say these parents do not represent them and they do not want the mask mandate and other safety measures lifted at their schools. They got over 1200 signatures over the weekend and are asking for support in signing and sharing with other parents and community members who want schools to remain safe. 

Sign and share this petition

Please sign and share this petition with other parents and community members who actually want this pandemic to end. Over 6.2 million children have tested positive for covid since the pandemic started and 1.1 million just in the first six-weeks of this school year.

As much as we’d like this pandemic to be over, it’s simply not, and no amount of covid-denying magical thinking will change that. The vaccine will be available for school-aged children 5-11 very soon, so let’s keep our schools open safely now.

Here’s another recent relevant article on the topic of school board culture wars happening around the country: 

WBEZ: What it’s like to be on the front lines of the school board culture war


What's the future of standardized testing in IL schools?

As we’ve shared, the IL State Board of Ed wants to move ahead with a new state test for the 2022-2023 school year that they would pilot for two years while students also take the current IAR state test and would be similar to the NWEA MAP test, which Chicago Public Schools recently got rid of as a high-stakes test.

There is ample amount of research that these types of interim tests are not beneficial to student learning, or as late John Hopkins professor Robert Slavin wrote about this type of testing:

"The average outcomes are not just small, they are zero. They use up a lot of student time and district money… Interim assessments fall into the enormous category of educational interventions that are simple, compelling and wrong." 

ISBE had said they’d be holding stakeholder input meetings this month to get feedback on their plan, but so far we have not seen any dates posted for these meetings!

Our friend Paul Zavitovksy of UIC was recently interviewed by Chicago FOX news on the future of standardized testing at CPS. He explains that these benchmark interim tests do not focus on higher-order thinking, the kind of critical thinking skills we want our children to possess, and that they push a teaching to the test based on rote skills.  You can watch his full interview here.

Read more on our website about the proposal for a state testing system and the problems with commercial interim/benchmark tests on our website. We have two new explainer docs available:

Please share them with your contacts who care about this issue! You can sign up at that same link to get action alerts for this proposal as well.