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
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
IL-FPS has been in the news a lot lately! Check out some of what we’ve been up to below. This coverage is from this past week alone!Read more
Two major changes in the IL School Code went into effect this summer: the Right to Play recess law and a major amendment to the Student Online Personal Protection Act. IL Families for Public Schools was instrumental in drafting and passing these two pieces of legislation.
What do these two new laws mean for students, families and public schools? You can watch the IL Families for Public Schools webinar we held on October 20th to learn what you need to know.Read more
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
ISBE to move ahead with 3x/year state test despite backlash
Chalkbeat reported last week that the IL State Board of Ed wants to move ahead with a new state test for the 2022-2023 school year that they’ll pilot for two years while students also take the current IAR state test.
The new test would be what testing companies call an "interim" or “benchmark” test—administered three times a year—instead of a once-a-year summative test like the existing IAR. This is bad news as ample research has shown commercial interim tests are not educationally beneficial, and attaching high-stakes compounds the drawbacks.Read more
Is your school in compliance with the new recess law?
The Right to Play, SB654, now PA 102-0357, passed in June and took effect on August 13, 2021 when it was signed by the Governor. We have been hearing from some parents that their schools have not changed the schedule to allow for the 30 minutes of recess and are still taking away recess as a punitive measure.
Steps you can take
If students in K-5 aren’t getting the 30 minutes of recess now in law, here's some things you can do:
✶ Alert your school. They likely know about the law because the IL Association of School Administrators and IL Principals Association shared lots of information about the bill as it was being debated in Springfield last Spring. Either way, point your school admin to the language of the new law which can be found here: Public Act 102-0357
✶ Make other parents at your school aware. Not everyone knows about this new law, so spread the word via social media, conversations at pick up time, or parent meetings. If the school gives you pushback about implementing the law, it will be important to have a group of people who care about this issue. Some materials to share:
- IL-FPS FAQ: The Right to Play Every Day: What parents and schools need to know (download in English and Spanish at the link)
- Facebook post to share with highlights of FAQ
✶ Speak at a public meeting. You may need to find opportunities to speak at a meeting of your school board, PTO/PTA, local school council or Parent Advisory Council if you don’t get a helpful response from your school.
We have additional resources to share listed here and at the end of our FAQ doc about why recess is a critical part of the learning experience, including these:
- Policy Statement: The Crucial Role of Recess. (2013) Pediatrics 131 (1). Reaffirmed August 2016
- National Association of School Nurses. (2019). Supporting Scheduled Recess Position Statement.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Society of Health and Physical Educators. (2017) Strategies for Recess in Schools.
✶ Contact your state legislators. If your school/district is not receptive, talk to your state rep and state senator. This bill passed with strong support in the General Assembly. Enlist your state rep and senator’s help by contacting their office and letting them know SB654 took effect 8/13/21 but your child's school is not in compliance.
To see if your legislator voted yes on this bill, look here.
✶ Need more advice? Send us an email, and we help you brainstorm some additional strategies: [email protected]
Sample Daily Schedule 1 (7hr day)
Core coursework with classroom teacher
Special subjects (art, music, PE)
Core coursework with classroom teacher
Sample Daily Schedule 2 (7hr day)
Special subjects (art, music, PE)
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
With the passage of SB654, the Right to Play Every Day bill, an initiative of IL Families for Public Schools, all students in kindergarten through 5th grade in IL public schools must have 30 minutes of daily play time. Time must be in increments of at least 15 minutes and can't be taken away for punishment.
Play is fundamental to the human experience. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by 190 nations, recognizes play as a basic right for children.
Play is a crucial component of education and development, enhancing a child's social, physical and emotional health along with academic achievement and abilities. Play is learning.
More resources: why we need play in school
- Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive. Sahlberg and Doyle. 2019
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life Gray. 2013
- Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children. Elkind. 2007
- A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play. Paley. 2004
- "A proposal for what post-coronavirus schools should do (instead of what they used to do)." Sahlberg and Doyle. Washington Post. April 2020
- "Kids Need Play and Recess. Their Mental Health May Depend on It." Hynes. Ed Week. Aug. 2018
- "From Playing to Play Advocacy: An Interview with Olga S. Jarrett " Journal of Play. Winter 2019
- "A Research-based Case for Recess." Position paper from the US Play Coalition, American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA/USA) and the Alliance for Childhood. 2019.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2021
ILLINOIS LANDMARK RECESS BILL SIGNED INTO LAW
Illinois Families for Public Schools Advocacy Succeeds with One of Strongest Laws in U.S.
Illinois students in grades K-5 will have 30 protected minutes of recess this school year thanks to the hard work of Sen. Robert J. Peters, Rep. Aarón Ortíz and parent group, Illinois Families for Public Schools (IL-FPS). Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill into law on August 13th, effective immediately.Read more