Action Alert: Tell your legislators IL’s school voucher program needs to end!

In 2017, the IL General Assembly passed the Invest in Kids Act and created what was supposed to be a temporary school voucher program that could divert up to $75 million per year in public dollars to fund private schools in Illinois. Voucher programs siphon funds from public schools, they don’t promote education equity and they don’t improve outcomes for the students who receive them. You can read our FAQ about problems with the Illinois’ voucher program here.

Now supporters want to make this program permanent and expand it. This would be extremely damaging for Illinois’ public education system, and that’s why Illinois Families for Public Schools is working with many other state and local orgs, including the League of Women Voters of IL, IL’s teachers unions, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and many others, to call for ending this program for good. 

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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.

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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.

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Statement at ISBE Budget Hearing on EBF and vouchers

The IL State Board of Ed held a series of budget hearings this month to get feedback from the public on requests for the state's FY2024 budget for public education. IL Families for Public Schools' Samay Gheewala spoke at the Oct 4th hearing, along with representatives of several other members of the PEER (Partnership for Equity and Education Rights) Illinois funding coalition. Read his remarks after the jump.

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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.

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School board elections are happening this spring in Illinois!

School board races in April 2023 are going to be critical for how education is shaped at the most local level in Illinois! In all districts aside from Chicago, local school board elections will be held this spring. Candidates must declare and file by Dec. 19, 2022. A number of right-wing “parent” groups funded by lots of dark money are hosting trainings around the state on how to run and win school board races, and it’s only just starting.

 

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Virtual Townhall 9/7 at 7pm: Addressing Systemic Racism in Our Schools

Decades of systematic racism have generated harmful inequities in our Illinois public school system. How can we confront both racism and inequity in public schools and help build healthier education systems for all students?

Join educators and advocates for an important look at the impact of systematic racism on school funding, curriculum and overall school culture. Learn about critical steps communities can take towards making Illinois public school education equitable for all.

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Remarks on CPS SOPPA violations at Chicago Board of Ed meeting

IL Families for Public Schools' director Cassie Creswell spoke at the August meeting of the Chicago Board of Education about CPS' continued lack of compliance with the Student Online Personal Protection Act. 

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News - School’s out but it’s time to start thinking about school board races; IAR changes still needed; and more

Aside from the city of Chicago, school board elections throughout Illinois take place next spring on April 4, 2023, and candidates can begin collecting signatures to get on the ballot this fall. (The 2023 candidate guide is not yet out from the State Board of Elections, but the 2021 guide has basic info about running.)

If you’re considering running for your local school board or want to support candidates, there’s a great online training next week Wed June 22 at 6pm for current and prospective board members.

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Almost 500K Chicago students' data exposed in ed tech ransomware breach

In a late Friday news dump, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced a massive breach of the personal data of almost half a million students and more than 56,000 teachers. Parents and guardians were sent individual notices if their child’s data was included in the breach. The data, which spanned four schools years, 2015-16 through 2018-19, was part of a ransomware attack on a non-profit ed tech vendor Battelle for Kids, which has had a contract with CPS since 2012.

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