ERSB passes Senate but will be mayoral-controlled hybrid until 2027

State Senator Rob Martwick passed an amended bill in the Senate yesterday which would create a hybrid board with 10 elected members and 11 appointed members starting in January 2025, with all 21 members fully elected in January 2027.  This bill was a negotiation between Senator Martwick and Senator Lightford conducted by Senate President Harmon. The two sides were very far apart, and this was the bill President Harmon allowed to be called. We expect that when the IL House is called back to Springfield in a few weeks, it will pass in the House as well.

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The Right to Play Bill heads to Gov. Pritzker's desk!

We are thrilled to report that the Right to Play Every Day bill is on to the Governor’s desk! After it’s signed all children in grades K-5 in public schools in IL will have 30 minutes of protected recess time during the school day starting this school year, and that schools won’t be able to take recess away as a punishment. 

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Comments on proposed new state testing system

In April, the IL State Board of Education had on its agenda an approval of a Request for Proposals for a $227M contract to start on July 1, 2021 to develop and administer a new state test for Illinois. The test would be administered three times a year, not just once, and would cover K-2, not just 3-8th, which is what the federal government requires. The approval vote has been delayed until ISBE's June 16th meeting, but much of the pubic participation at this week's May ISBE meeting was devoted to comments on this RFP. Marty Gartzman spoke on behalf of IL Families for Public Schools.

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Opting out of the SAT this spring

Important information for families of 11th graders whose schools are administrating state tests this spring*: If your current junior is learning remotely and does not want to return to the school building in person only for the purpose of taking the SAT next week on April 13th (or on the make-up days later this spring), they can refuse the test by staying home. The school should mark them as absent and permit them to take the SAT next spring, 2022, to fulfill the SAT diploma requirement.
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Comments on proposed ISBE rule for SOPPA

In 2019, the IL General Assembly passed Public Act 101-516, an update to the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA). It will go into effect on July 1, 2021. When a law is passed, often a state agency adopts new rules or regulations to help implement the law. In this case, the IL State Board of Ed (ISBE) proposed a new rule for SOPPA. We submitted a comment about the rule which you can read here.

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IL-FPS hosts candidate forum for Waukegan school board

School board elections are this coming Tuesday April 6th around the state (except Chicago!) IL Families for Public Schools and the Partnership for Equity and Education Rights hosted a virtual candidate forum on April 1, 2021 for Waukegan District 60 moderated by Kim Holmes, IL-FPS board member and former Waukegan school board member, and with guest speaker State Representative Rita Mayfield.

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Comments on proposed CPS SOPPA guidelines

The Chicago Public Schools are preparing for compliance with the changes to IL's Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA), passed in spring 2019 and going into effect on July 1, 2021. Their new policy on SOPPA was passed at the January board meeting, and we were encouraged to see that some of the input we had provided was incorporated into an improved final version. Now CPS is developing more detailed guidelines on how the policy will be implemented.

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State board makes adjustments to state testing requirements for 2021

IL-FPS testified on the issue of standardized testing this week at the IL State Board of Ed March Board meeting, and we were happy to learn that ISBE is waiving the grad requirement for current seniors for the SAT. The announcement of this can be found in ISBE's weekly newsletter under assessment.

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Take action to protect Illinois' strongest privacy law

With three out of four Illinois students still learning remotely full or part time, protecting children's privacy from threats like face recognition and surveillance for remote proctoring is more important than ever.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is a uniquely protective Illinois law assuring that the biometric information of Illinois residents is protected from the threats of face recognition and surveillance.

➡️ New York Times "The Best Law You've Never Heard of"

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Spring tests not suspended | Witness slip time for new ed bills | and more

Despite pleas for state testing waivers this year, Biden administration says tests will go on - with some flexibility

The IL State Board of Ed joined many other states in requesting a waiver for giving state tests this year. This came after over 600 Superintendents in IL, led by Tony Sanders of U-46 Elgin organized the mass effort to inform ISBE and the US Dept of Ed that there should be a pause in testing.  

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