Our bills signed into law!

Governor Pritzker signed a slew of bills into law this past Friday—including two of our very own initiatives, student data privacy and class size goals, and three more important laws that we’ve been working on with coalitions! 

These bills' passage are the outcome of years of hard work and would not have been possible without the collective action of parents and public school supporters across Illinois!

• Student Data Protection - HB3606

After many rounds of negotiations, trips to Springfield, hundreds of calls and witness slips filed and a subject matter hearing in the House last summer, HB3606 is now Public Act 101-0516.

This legislation, one of the most far-reaching student data protection laws in the country, will provide much greater transparency and control to parents on how schools, vendors and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are collecting and using data from public school students from preschool through 12th grade.

Huge thank you is due to our chief sponsors, Senators Martwick and Aquino, for shepherding this bill to the finish line. You can share our post about this bill’s passage here

The recent massive breach of data held by Pearson reinforces the need for this new law; tens of thousands of Illinois students have been affected by a breach that the FBI notified Pearson about in March, but because there are currently no breach notification requirements for vendors and schools for student data, parents (and schools) may not have been informed yet. We’re tracking affected IL districts here.

This law has an effective date of July 2021 to give districts time to implement what will be a major undertaking in many cases. And we’ll be monitoring the rule-making process to implement it closely. 

• Class Size Goals - HB254

Starting next fall, this law will require school districts to make public detailed data on current individual class sizes to parents and the State Board of Ed—including a comparison of actual class sizes with the limits recommended in the state funding formula. Small classes are one of the most effective policies to improve children’s educational experiences and outcomes. Transparency on class size will help parents advocate for smaller classes and the resources needed to fund them. This is the first class size legislation on the books in Illinois. Thank you to our chief sponsors, Representative Guzzardi and Senator Peters.

• Abolish State Charter Commission - SB1226 

After years of lobbying, the unelected State Charter Commission will be abolished! Parents, community groups and teachers unions have pushed for this outcome for many years. Some of the Commission’s powers (for example overseeing the schools now overseen by the Commission) will be transferred to the State Board (ISBE), but now local boards’ decisions to reject new charters won’t be able to be overruled at the state level. The State Board will still be able to overrule a district's decision to revoke or not renew a charter, but will be able to condition that appeal on the charter getting less money than it requested in its appeal. Having the appeal process in the hands of ISBE rather than the State Charter Commission, which was funded in part by the pro-charter private Walton Foundation.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Illinois abolishes charter schools commission, eliminating state appeals body for charters

• Special education bills - HB3302 and HB3586

Gov. Pritzker also signed two special education bills into law on Friday, HB3302 and HB3586:

  • HB3302 Extend statute of limitations on filing complaints on inquiry-related loss of services. Parents have two years after the creation of a state compensatory education plan to file a complaint about delay or denial of special ed services by CPS during 2016-2018.
  • HB3586 Transparency on special education policies and services. IL parents must have three days to review documentation before an IEP meeting. CPS must post any special ed policy changes publicly 45 days before adoption.

We are thrilled with the progress that’s been made in 2019, but there is always more to do. Want to get more involved? Let us know here! Want to sustain this work? Become a monthly donor here.


[photo used via Creative Commons license]