Charter commission bill dies an ugly death in the Senate

You all helped make a valiant attempt to move the charter commission bill for a veto override, but unfortunately the fix seemed to be in to keep it from getting through.

We had to go to great lengths to get it released from the House last week, and thanks to support from Reps Ann Williams, Will Guzzardi and Rob Martwick, we were able to get the House to release the bill to the Senate. Unfortunately, Senate President Cullerton waited until 5:45pm on the last day of veto session to call the bill, and 14 senators were already gone for the day, so the vote went down in flames with only 31 of 36 votes needed.

Read a great write-up from Jim Broadway’s State School News Service here. (Shared with permission.)

This vote is extremely timely because the Chicago Board of Education will vote to close two charter schools and to deny applications for three new charter schools this coming Wednesday. All five of these schools will be able to appeal these decisions via the State Charter Commission and, if overturned, they’ll be funded with local tax dollars, but no oversight by CPS.

The good news is that Governor-elect Pritzker claims to support this bill and said in our questionnaire during the primary that he’d abolish the commission altogether, so we will work with our partners to get this bill moving in the next session, where it will only need 60 and 30 votes in the House and Senate, respectively, with a Governor who doesn’t veto it instead of 71 and 36.

The class-size goals bill also didn’t get the votes it needed in the House with 69 people voting yes (71 needed for an override). This, too, will be reintroduced by Rep Will Guzzardi next session. See the roll call here. Great job to folks in Rep McAuliffe’s and Olsen’s district for getting them to change their votes on this bill.


Put public comments in for ISBE rule change!

ISBE is currently proposing changing rules and setting requirements that go beyond what federal law says Illinois must do with respect to testing and opt out. These changes further entrench the overuse of standardized testing in Illinois.

Please raise your voice and submit a public comment about these changes.  Comment period ends today, so we recommend emailing your comment to [email protected] by today December 3rd at 5pm.


School closings

We were disheartened to see Janice Jackson on national news say that the 2013 school closings helped improve educational outcomes for students, and that she was network chief for the area that had the most closings. See the 14 minute mark in this video.

The reality is that researchers at the UChicago Consortium on School Research and Roosevelt University who actually studied the closings found that they did not improve outcomes for students, academically, socially, community-wise. You can read those reports here:

University of Chicago: “School Closings in Chicago: Staff and Student Experiences and Academic Outcomes

Roosevelt University: “Closed By Choice: The Spatial Relationship between Charter School Expansion, School Closures, and Fiscal Stress in Chicago Public Schools”


NTA: Judge will rule on injunction today

This is a big day for the National Teacher’s Academy, a well-attended strong school that CPS deems Level1+ based on their own criteria. They decided to close NTA to use the building for a high school. Here’s an op-ed by Chance the Rapper: “Chance the Rapper to CPS: Keep South Side school open.”  The judge’s ruling is expected some time after 3pm today. You can support NTA by attending the court date; meet at 2:30pm at 50 W Washington.



Betrayed: A Conversation with reporters from the Chicago Tribune who uncovered rampant sexual abuse in CPS

Th Dec 6, 7-8:30pm

Jesse White Park and Community Center

410 W. Chicago Avenue


Series: Coffee with Mayoral Candidates--- Ja'Mal Green

Wed Dec 12, 11am-12:30pm

Sip & Savor Chicago

528 E 43rd St

Find out about other upcoming Mayoral Candidate Coffee Dates on our event page or our Facebook page. We’re co-sponsoring a series of Mayoral Candidate Meet and Greets with the group We Will. These events are an opportunity to engage with mayoral candidates directly and have your education questions asked and answered in an informal setting.


Chalkbeat Chicago presents: Chicago: Education for All? The city’s next mayor & the future of public schools

Wed Dec 12, 5-7:30pm

Malcolm X College

1900 W Jackson Blvd


WBEZ hosts A Generation of School Closings

Th Dec 13, 5:30-7:30pm

Overton Elementary

221 E. 49th Street

Donate Volunteer Legislative Agenda