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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Big organizing victory: ISBE dropping plan to expand state testing!

Yesterday at the May IL State Board of Ed meeting, State Superintendent Ayala made a major announcement: ISBE will not be pursuing their proposal to expand state testing that was first announced last spring.

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IL-FPS news: What’s next for ISBE’s plan to increase testing? Also: DC & Springfield updates

It’s been an entire year since the State Superintendent brought to the IL State Board of Education a proposal for revamping the state standardized test system by increasing 3-8th grade math and reading testing to three times per year rather than just once and adding optional tests for K-2 as well.

The K-2 part of the proposal will be blocked if Governor Pritzker signs SB 3986, the Too Young To Test bill, which was sent to his desk on April 29th. But the proposal for 3-8th grade is still on the table.

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PRESS RELEASE: Illinois Legislature Passes ‘Too Young To Test’ Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2022

IL LEGISLATURE PASSES ‘TOO YOUNG TO TEST’ ACT
Bill will safeguard grades PreK-2nd from state testing 

Young children will be protected from any current or future plans to expand state standardized testing into prekindergarten through second grade if Governor Pritzker signs a new Too Young To Test law passed by the Illinois General Assembly this session.

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Action Alert: Ask Sen. Durbin to oppose the College Transparency Act and say NO to a federal student surveillance system

On February 4th, the US House approved a version of the America COMPETES Act that includes the College Transparency Act (CTA), a bill that would allow the US Department of Education to create a federal database to track every student who enrolls in a US institution of post-secondary ed from enrollment to end of life.

The Senate version of America Competes didn’t include the CTA, and now the two chambers are working out via conference committee whether it will be in the final version. As the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin can influence what will happen with this bill.

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Success for #TooYoungToTest! SB 3986 passes both houses!

With a successful House floor vote of 69-39 on Friday afternoon, SB 3986 the #TooYoungToTest bill has now passed both chambers of the IL General Assembly. Next stop the Governor's desk! Check the roll call and give your state rep a thank you call for voting YES!

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Action alert: House vote coming up on #TooYoungToTest SB 3986

We're still awaiting a House floor vote on SB 3986, the Senate version of Too Young To Test. So there's still time to call your state rep to ask them to sign on as a sponsor and vote YES!

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Action Alert: Call your state rep about Too Young to Test

Too Young to Test bill passes on the Senate floor! Now it's the House's turn!

Last week the full Senate voted on the Too Young to Test bill, and it passed with broad bipartisan support, 53-2, with only Senators Curran (R-Downers Grove) and Plummer (R-Vandalia) voting no. (Roll call here.)

But this bill is facing more opposition in the House from the IL State Board of Education because they are very eager to expand the state testing system into K-2.

Please take a minute today to call your state rep if you haven't called yet this week. Ask if you can count on them to vote YES on the floor on HB 5285 and ask them to sign on as a sponsor.

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Too Young to Test bill keeps on moving; Covid mitigation now up to districts alone

Too Young to Test bill through committee!

The Too Young to Test bill kept moving forward this past week. It passed in committee in the IL House on Wednesday evening, with the hard work of chief sponsor Rep Lindsey LaPointe and heartfelt speeches from Representatives Sue Scherer and Cyril Nichols about the damage high-stakes testing has done to children.

With the Senate version passing in committee the previous week, both bills could have a floor vote in their respective chamber any day once ILGA returns to Springfield on Tuesday.

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