Standing up for the public good in the face of an attempted book ban
You may or may not have heard last week that a public good showdown took place at the Lincolnwood Public Library over the issue of book censorship. It turns out our former executive director and now board member, Wendy Katten, was at the heart of that story. It was reported on by the Chicago Tribune.Read more
Notes from an Awake IL/Moms for Liberty school board training
We’ve shared a lot over the past year about how individuals with Awake IL and Moms for Liberty have been organizing to ban books about LGBTQ+ students, ditch the teaching of Black history, and much more. When those groups made it public they were having some school board trainings around Illinois, a curious parent decided to sign up and shared their notes with us afterwards.Read more
IL-FPS joined with Equality IL and many other orgs to expose anti-equity, anti-equality, anti-family groups' agenda
On Saturday, we had the pleasure of partnering with Equality Illinois and fourteen other state and local organizations for a press conference to get the word out on how the astroturf groups Awake Illinois and Moms for Liberty are spreading a very dangerous anti-equality, anti-family, anti-equity agenda to communities around Illinois under the guise of “concerned parents” who just want a say in their child’s education.Read more
Countering disinformation in school communities
Throughout the country and in Illinois, we have seen the rise of well-funded disinformation campaigns targeting school boards and educators on issues including: covid mitigation measures; diversity-equity-inclusion programs; accurate information in teaching about race and racial injustice in the present and past; support and civil rights of LGBTQ+ students; comprehensive sex education; and more.
These campaigns are often not truly grassroots, but funded by organizations on the right that have long supported privatizing and defunding the public school system, with support for vouchers, charters and funding cuts.
In response, around the state, parents and others have been organizing in their communities. They've been standing up for inclusion, safety, fact-based curricula in order to ensure all students are provided with an educational environment where they can flourish and to defend the public good that is a thriving public school system.
Below we have resources to support you in this work, and we'll be adding more in the coming weeks and months. Please reach out if you have questions or want help connecting with others in your community engaging in similar efforts! Email us at [email protected] and sign up below to get on our mailing list.
Confronting the Rise of School Board Disruptions - Jan 27 2022
This virtual event by IL-FPS and Indivisible IL and an array of state and local cosponsors covered: Who’s behind the disinformation campaign around masks/vaccines mandates, an erosion of LGBTQ+ rights and the way race is being taught in our schools? How can we band together to support our school boards and staff who are being threatened and to protect public education?
Find the slides for the presentations here
Toolkit of resources in doc form
Watch the recording here or on YouTube:
Other state and local organizations working in this area
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Omicron surge and schools: Will they stay open? Can they stay open?
We are hearing from many parents who are grappling with the decision to send their kids back to school, especially at districts that are opening Monday Jan 3rd, including Chicago Public Schools. There is also a lot of confusion about quarantine guidance from the CDC and we wanted to provide some information.Read more
Research shows tying teacher evaluations to test scores is a failure; IL still does it
New research shared in Ed Week recently confirms what ed experts have been saying for years, which is that tying teacher and admin evaluations to student test scores is deeply unfair in inequitable school systems, harmful to school culture, and not beneficial to student achievement. Researchers from Brown, Michigan State, University of Connecticut and UNC Chapel Hill analyzed a multitude of data from 2009 to 2018 and found no evidence that this policy had even a small positive effect on student achievement.Read more
Attempts to ban books in Downers Grove; Hearing on state test changes
Downers Grove parents and students push back against extremist group trying to ban LGBTQ+ books
We shared with you last week that book banning attempts are on the rise nationally, and right here in Downers Grove a meeting was held Monday where a small group of parents supported by outside agitators showed up to try and have award-winning LGBTQ books banned from the school library. Luckily, the community came out in force to speak out against this attempt at this bigoted attempt at censorship.Read more
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.Read more
News update: Rightwing attacks on school boards continue: are school libraries next?
IL School Librarians Burdened by FOIA Request re “1619 Project”
As we’ve been sharing with you, school boards and school districts have been under serious attack by right-wing groups recently. So much so that the National Association of School Boards have asked the Biden Administration for help from federal law enforcement. School boards here in Illinois have faced confrontations over mask requirements, vaccines and how to teach about race.
The letter from the NASB to Biden mentions that in September in Mendon, IL a man was arrested for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct, which according to the Associated Press was for allegedly striking a school official at a school board meeting.Read more
What's new? IL recess law in effect now - Schools lose recognition by defying mask mandate - and more
Recess Law for IL K-5 students is *supposed* to be effective now
We are hearing from some parents who say that their school is not in compliance with the new recess law and that they have until next fall to adhere to it. This law took effect immediately upon signing, and school districts have known about it since late May when it passed the General Assembly.
Many schools have adjusted their schedules to allow for the 30 minutes of play time, so we know it’s possible. We’re putting together a toolkit for parents on how to bring attention to the new law at the school level so you can advocate to ensure your kids get this much-needed time. In the meantime, our FAQ on the law can be downloaded here, and it has a list of resources you can utilize too.Read more