March's News: Schooling in the time of COVID-19

The unprecedented shutdown of public and private schools in dozens of states last week has illuminated one easily forgotten truism about schools: They are an absolute necessity for the functioning of civic culture, and even more fundamentally than that, daily life.

Schools are the centers of communities. They provide indispensible student-welfare services, like free meals, health care, and even dentistry. They care for children while parents work. And all those services do much to check the effects of America’s economically stratified systems of employment and health care on young students.” --When Schools Shut Down, We All Lose Education Week March 20, 2020.

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Gov. Pritkzer & Mayor Lightfoot: Close schools & support families

Update 4:30pm Fri. 3/13: Thank you for advocating! Your voices were heard today. Gov. Pritzker announced all private and public schools will be closed beginning Tuesday March 17th through March 30th.

More advocating going to be needed in the months to come to make sure children and families and communities are getting what they need in very difficult times.

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February’s News You Can Use: the Right to Play; Google sued over student privacy; Pritzker's K-12 school budget

In this Issue:

  1. The Right to Play Every Day bill, SB3717 
  2. New Mexico's AG sues Google for violating student data privacy protections
  3. Gov. Pritzker’s inadequate budget for K-12 schools

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It's Data Privacy Day: Help us stop the College Board from selling our kids' data!

January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an international annual day of awareness to promote protection of our personal data.

Illinois has a state law to protect student data privacy, the Student Online Personal Protection Act---a law that will be even stronger when the amendments we worked to pass last year go into effect.

But, even as it stands now, vendors cannot legally sell, rent or lease student data they collect in Illinois' schools.

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January's News You Can Use: the Right to Play; College Board lawsuit

In this issue:

  1. Our newest campaign: the Right to Play Every Day!
  2. Keep pressure on the College Board to stop illegal data sales
  3. Graduated income tax on the ballot in November

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Statement for ISBE FY2021 budget hearings on assessment expenditures

The Illinois State Board of Education held four meetings this fall around the state to gather input on its budget for fiscal year 2021. You can see the budget for FY2020 as enacted here. Below you can read the testimony we submitted about our concerns about the funds to be appropriated for assessments to two test vendors, Pearson and the College Board.

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November - News You Can Use: College Board, Cullerton retiring; & more

In this issue: 

  1. College Board’s data sales — Ask your legislators for a subject matter hearing
  2. FTC looking at changing privacy rules for schools — Submit comments;
  3. President Cullerton retiring — One of the biggest obstacles in the ongoing fight for an elected board for Chicago is stepping down in January
  4. Quick links — What’s in the new contract for Chicago teachers; ISBE budget hearing & board meeting; delay on effective date for new law on IEP paperwork.

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ISBE releases new parent consent form for College Board's data grab

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.

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Chicagoans, cure those Ninth-Day-of-the-Strike-Unelected-School-Board Blues

It’s nine school days into a Chicago teacher and staff strike, the second day of fall veto session in Springfield, and a great time to call your state senator and ask why Chicago families are still waiting for an elected, representative school board. (Find your state senator’s phone number here!)

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Action alert HB256: Pearson can't be trusted with sensitive student data!

Update 1.29.2020:

HB256 would stop the IL State Board of Ed (ISBE) from requiring student teachers to videotape themselves and their students in order to get a teaching certificate in Illinois.

HB256 passed in the IL House last spring, but now it needs to be heard in committee in the Senate.

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