The IL State Board of Education was set to approve a Request for Proposals for a $227M contract to start on July 1, 2021 to develop and administer a new state test for Illinois at its June board meeting. In response to organizing from teachers, parents and assessment experts, they announced a delay to the vote until at least August.Read more
In April, the IL State Board of Education had on its agenda an approval of a Request for Proposals for a $227M contract to start on July 1, 2021 to develop and administer a new state test for Illinois. The test would be administered three times a year, not just once, and would cover K-2, not just 3-8th, which is what the federal government requires. The approval vote has been delayed until ISBE's June 16th meeting, but much of the pubic participation at this week's May ISBE meeting was devoted to comments on this RFP. Marty Gartzman spoke on behalf of IL Families for Public Schools.
In 2019, the IL General Assembly passed Public Act 101-516, an update to the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA). It will go into effect on July 1, 2021. When a law is passed, often a state agency adopts new rules or regulations to help implement the law. In this case, the IL State Board of Ed (ISBE) proposed a new rule for SOPPA. We submitted a comment about the rule which you can read here.Read more
IL-FPS testified on the issue of standardized testing this week at the IL State Board of Ed March Board meeting, and we were happy to learn that ISBE is waiving the grad requirement for current seniors for the SAT. The announcement of this can be found in ISBE's weekly newsletter under assessment.Read more
Take a stand for inclusivity! Support ISBE new culturally-responsive standards for teacher education
The IL State Board of Education has proposed a rule change which would include more culturally responsive teaching and learning standards in teacher prep programs, the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards. Unfortunately, some IL legislators want to block the passage of these rules. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will be taking a vote on it in the JCAR committee on February 16th.Read more
Important news from the IL State Board of Education last night, no federally-mandated testing for 2021 will take place in Illinois until at least March 15.
This is a big deal. Despite the fact that states have begun to request waivers for 2021 tests, the outgoing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said none will be granted. The incoming Biden administration has not yet said where they stand on a moratorium on standardized testingRead more
The changes to the Student Online Personal Protection Act passed as PA 101-0516 will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The IL State Board of Education released their draft regulations to implement the law for initial review for December's ISBE meeting. We sent a letter with our feedback on the rule to the Board yesterday.Read more
Schools in Illinois are closed through March 31st in hopes of slowing the COVID-19 pandemic via social distancing. And it’s likely that they’ll need to be closed for much longer.
The IL General Assembly has cancelled session this week, and in light of the major societal disruption ahead, our legislative advocacy in coming months will likely focus on emergency measures to support public school families. Sign up for alerts and updates from us here.
One initial quick thing we can do is to push the federal government cancel mandated annual testing; use this letter-writing campaign from the Network for Public Education to urge the US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to do just that.
Here's a (starter) list of resources for families during this time. Suggestions/additions/questions are very much welcome: [email protected]
Basic resources for families
- Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 page
- City of Chicago COVID-19 page
- The IL State Board of Education recommends that schools still provide meals for pick up during closures; check with your school district. Info on this for Chicago here (and more detail here). The Greater Chicago Food Depository has info on where to find food and meals and how to help others if you can.
How to Talk to Your Child About the Coronavirus Advice from a clinical psychologist (NY Times)
- Social Work Tools & Resources for Students Amid COVID-19 Break assembled by Chicago Public School special education teachers and social workers
- Hotline for Domestic Violence help in Illinois Crisis intervention and referrals to emergency housing and support services
Schooling in a time of coronavirus
Most schools in Illinois aren’t prepared to do e-learning. And e-learning will continue to present unresolved issues for children due to privacy and screen-time concerns. Here’s information and advice on that from national advocacy groups we work with:
- Parent Coalition for Student Privacy’s Advice to parents on maximizing privacy & minimizing screen time while your child’s school is closed
- Network for Public Education’s Online learning: What every parent should know
- Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: School is Closed. Now What? Low-screen, commercial-free options social distancing ideas.
Note that the IL State Board of Ed has said that schools cannot grade work assigned during March 17-March 30th unless it will improve a child’s academic standing (i.e. extra credit).
No matter what schools are able to roll out in terms of distance learning (digital or otherwise), keep things in perspective about what this time will be like. What children and families are going to experience in the coming months is unprecedented for most people. Many people are going to be dealing with concerns about shelter, food, safety and mental and physical health; those concerns will inevitably take precedence over worries about missing some months of academic instruction.
All that said, when all there is for children to do is stay home, keeping occupied is key; there are tons of free resources online for educational experiences and enrichment, including digital and non-digital activities, if you need ideas.
Here’s a few places to start:
- Library Resources for Distance Learning for elementary-aged children
- Play Ideas for When Kids Are Stuck at Home by Dr. Jenny Radesky
- Do School At Home - A Guide to Unplugged Learning at Home This guide from members of the CCFC Screens in Schools Work Group helps kids think of fun, educational activities if they're stuck inside.
- Virtual Museum Visits
- Chicago Public Fools’ blogger Julie Vassilatos normally writes about public schools advocacy, but this week she has suggestions for keeping adults and kids busy during social distancing
- Anti-oppressive, anti-racist homeschool curriculum ideas
- Giant list of ideas for being home with kids
- Math for Love Math lessons and activities that aren’t online with an emphasis on puzzles and games; can search by grade-level
- University of Maine ecology professor, Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, Twitter thread on science activities
- For older children: Franklin and Marshall College biology professor Dan Ardia's COVID-19 EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
- St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Video Performances
- SAG-AFTRA Storyline Famous/semi-famous actors reading storybooks
- Amazing Educational Resources - Crowdsourced list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently posted a new parental consent form for the Student Search Service survey. This is an optional questionnaire that's administered along with SAT, PSAT and Advanced Placement exams sold by the College Board.
The new consent form is inadequate in several ways, and we sent State Superintendent Carmen Ayala a letter asking ISBE to address our concerns.Read more
Last fall we put out an alert about the IL State Board of Ed proposing changing rules and setting requirements that would go beyond what federal law says Illinois must do with respect to testing and opt out and asking for people to submit public comments about these changes to oppose further entrenching the overuse of standardized testing in Illinois.Read more