Elected school board bill dies with the end of lame duck

Despite our best efforts and enough votes from IL state senators, Senate President Don Harmon chose not to call the elected school board bill for a vote before the end of the 101st IL General Assembly session. 

As a new session begins, we will be back at it again, renewing our fight for much-needed democracy in the school system of Chicago. Chicago families and taxpayers deserve the same rights afforded to the rest of Illinois, and the debate about whether Chicago wants this is long over. Read the statement from the full coalition of education advocacy orgs fighting for an elected board here.

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

Update 1.11.2021:

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 in 2019, and it can pass the Senate, but time is running short!

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Action alert: Suspend high-stakes standardized testing for 2021!

Important news from the IL State Board of Education last night, no federally-mandated testing for 2021 will take place in Illinois until at least March 15.

This is a big deal. Despite the fact that states have begun to request waivers for 2021 tests, the outgoing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said none will be granted. The incoming Biden administration has not yet said where they stand on a moratorium on standardized testing

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Letter to ISBE on proposed rule for SOPPA

The changes to the Student Online Personal Protection Act passed as PA 101-0516 will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The IL State Board of Education released their draft regulations to implement the law for initial review for December's ISBE meeting. We sent a letter with our feedback on the rule to the Board yesterday.

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Policy recommendations for tech use in remote learning: Protecting students' privacy and access to education

These recommendations are intended as a resource to assist students and families, teachers, administrators, school board members and others, whether they are writing, revising or advocating for improvement of policies covering the role of tech in students’ remote learning experiences.

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Comments on proposed CPS SOPPA policy

The Chicago Public Schools are preparing for compliance with the changes to IL's Student Online Protection Act, passed in spring 2019 and going into effect next summer, and we provided input on their proposed district policy on SOPPA. As the largest district in IL, CPS's policy will have important implications for the rest of IL's public schools.

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October's News You Can Use: Wednesdays are for the Fair Tax; remote learning & surveillance; SAT diploma requirements in a pandemic?

In this issue:

  1. Fair Tax amendment: Help us make that call--every Wed. night, including tonight!
  2. Remote learning, surveillance and student privacy
  3. Why hasn’t IL waived the SAT requirement for seniors?

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June's News You Can Use: #PoliceFreeSchools; what reopening means for school funding

In this issue:

  1. The time is now for #PoliceFreeSchools
  2. What will schools need to re-open in a pandemic?

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☎️ Action Alert: Our schools need more funding (not less!) in a pandemic

The General Assembly is back in session tomorrow in Springfield. This is likely to be a whirlwind three-day session covering a very barebones legislative agenda compared to a normal spring. (Politico shared this list of bills/topics on Tuesday.)

And, unfortunately, other than the state budget for Fiscal Year 2021, it's likely that not that much directly relevant for K-12 schools will be tackled.

That said, funding is as fundamental as ever to our schools' functioning! If your state rep and state senator haven't heard from you as a public school supporter recently, this is an important time to contact them!
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What children need now and when schools reopen

Public schools are playing a vital role in helping families through the current crisis and in the recovery period to come. The pandemic and school closures have made it clearer than ever that public schools are the center of our communities and our children’s education.

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