Springfield Update: What you need to know & who to call

The General Assembly’s spring session is scheduled to end next Wednesday, so it's crunch time for many bills in Springfield. Here’s what you need to know right now about the bills on the elected school board, student privacy, and the State charter commission.

Elected School Board Bill HB1774

This bill passed the House yesterday, but only after having been amended to have the start date for the board to be six years from now in 2023, rather than in 2019 as specified in the original bill. This was agreed upon by city and state leadership and was not the idea of Raise Your Hand or any of the advocacy groups who have worked on this bill for years.

That said, we recognize the hard work of all of the parents who have pushed this issue with us and know that the bill would not be in motion at all had we not kept bringing attention to it via canvassing, referenda, etc. We will keep working on this issue with our partners across the city to push for an earlier start date.

Legislative wins in this political landscape are tough to come by and unlikely to be decisive, but together our voices as public school supporters are beginning to be heard in Springfield. This a fight worth having and worth continuing.

Student Privacy Bill SB1796

This is a very comprehensive bill on student privacy covering digital data. Unfortunately, the content of the bill is written to favor the tech industry, and instead of protecting and securing student data, it will write into law broad leeway for companies to use private information about students in ways that should be prohibited or tightly regulated.

This bill passed the Senate in March, and, although it passed in committee on Thursday morning, with only one NO vote, calls from Raise Your Hand parents forced the bill to change sponsors, and the Cybersecurity committee chair abstained from voting altogether. 

It will likely be up for a vote as soon as today, the deadline for Senate bills to get out of the House. Call your state rep and tell them to vote NO on SB1796. Read more about how this bill puts tech companies’ profits ahead of protecting student privacy here.

Tech companies are voting with their dollars in Illinois, and we can expect more bills like this in the future. The Mayor and the Governor are both major supporters of educational technology in their agenda to privatize education, and with that comes the opportunity for companies to turn our children into products. SB1796 won’t be the last battle in this fight.

State Charter Commission Bill HB768

This bill would stop the Charter Commission from forcing local districts to open and pay for charter schools they don’t want or can’t afford.  It passed the Senate Executive Committee last Thursday, and it is expected to be called for a floor vote soon. Please call your state senator and tell them to vote YES on HB768. Our fact sheet on HB768 is here.


[Image via Creative Commons]

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