ACT will be the high school test in Illinois—Will ISBE let ACT, Inc. sell student data?

Last week the Illinois State Board of Education announced that it is now official, the state will be switching back to ACT for the high school test for 11th graders, and it will be a graduation requirement for public schools. Other ACT, Inc. tests will be administered for 9th and 10th grades. 

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Calls needed on police in CPS schools, air quality & funding equity

The General Assembly's Spring Session scheduled end date is May 24th. While that deadline may get extended as the budget gets hammered out, there are a lot of non-budget bills that are poised to keep moving in each chamber. Here are status updates on a few that we've been telling you about this session and actions for you to take.

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Call your state rep: Bad and good education bills in Springfield this week

The deadline for passing bills out of the Illinois House and over to the Senate is this Friday 4/19. Here are two bills that IL-FPS has been following closely, and we encourage you to call your state rep about both of them.

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Action Alert: Ask your rep to OPPOSE CPS anti-equity budgeting bill, HB 303

[Update: HB 303 Amendment 1 passed in committee 11-0 on Tue 4/16, and another amendment was filed Tuesday pm. See below for details. HB 303 could have a floor vote in the House before the end of the week. Please ask your state rep to OPPOSE HB 303.] 

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News roundup: Chicago's elected board; new test for high schools?

News this week: Chicago school board details—finally! And some misguided bills about CPS policy from ILGA. Plus: No more SAT in IL high schools? ISBE picks ACT, Inc as vendor for state test; but that won't solve the issue of illegal student data sales.

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Updates on the shift to an elected school board for Chicago

It’s been almost three years since the General Assembly passed a law to create an elected school board for Chicago. Unlike the rest of Illinois, Chicago has never had a school board directly elected by voters, and from 1995 on, the Board was appointed by the mayor. 

After 15+ years of organizing, agitation, ballot referenda, rallies, protests, and bills introduced but not passed, the legislation creating the elected board passed in May 2021 with a timeline of a hybrid board starting in January 2025 and a fully-elected board seated in January 2027.

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Goodbye to SAT in Illinois? (That won't end student data sales!)

In his weekly newsletter this week, State Superintendent Tony Sanders made only a very oblique reference to selecting a new vendor for the test that high school students take to comply with federal school accountability law. But, tucked away on the state procurement website, a notice of award makes it official: the IL State Board of Education wants to switch from the College Board’s SAT and PSAT back to tests sold by ACT, Inc.

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Remarks at ISBE March Board meeting on illegal student data sales

Our executive director Cassie Creswell spoke at the IL State Board of Education's monthly board meeting on March 13, 2024 about the College Board's sale of Illinois student data, and the need for the Board to ensure that for any new assessment contracts going forward, whether with College Board or ACT, Inc., these illegal data sales are stopped. Full remarks below.

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News on testing: Opt out season; test scores for sale; testing in voucher schools

Lots of news on testing in the last couple weeks: a long-awaited report on test scores from private schools getting vouchers, a new push from advocates to stop the College Board's sale of Illinois students' data, and, as state testing begins in public schools, find out how and why to opt out.

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It's testing (and opt out!) season again!

It’s state testing season (again!) The window for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, 3-8th grade testing in reading and math, opens March 4th. The Illinois Science Assessment window also opens March 4th. Weeks of ACCESS testing for English-language learners is just wrapping up. High school students will be assessed on the PSAT and SAT later this month and next.

Public schools are obligated to give these tests under state and federal law, but aside from the SAT, which is required in order to receive a diploma in Illinois, students are not obligated to participate. 

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