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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:00pm
Wed Apr 6, 2016

Parents Press Illinois Lawmakers To Pass Standardized Testing Opt-Out Bill (VIDEO)

Chicago parents are putting pressure on Illinois Senate President John Cullerton over a standardized testing opt-out bill that has been pending in the upper chamber for nearly a year. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:42pm
Thu Mar 12, 2015

Mollison Elementary Parents Sound Off On PARCC Test, Demand School Improvements (VIDEO)

Public school parents on Chicago's South Side are speaking out against the controversial PARCC standardized test as well as overcrowding and other conditions in their children's school, Irvin C. Mollison Elementary.

Gathering Thursday morning outside Mollison, located at 4415 S. King Dr., community members and parents whose children have opted out of the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test said they want Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools officials "to answer to the disinvestment" at the school.

As part of the record number of school closings in 2013, CPS designated Mollison as the receiving school for the now-shuttered Anthony Overton Elementary School. According to parents, Mollision took in about 200 students from Overton.

"Closing and merging our schools has had a severe negative impact on our children," said Anna Jones, one of eight parents at the news conference. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:05pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Education Groups Demand Investigation Into Chicago Board Of Ed's Ties To AUSL (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists and grassroots organizations have taken their fight against recently-approved public school turnarounds to the inspectors general of the school district and the U.S. Department of Education.

On April 30, the Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education coalition filed complaints with the two inspector general offices, requesting an investigation into possible conflicts of interest surrounding the Chicago Board of Education's decision last month to hand three academically struggling schools over to the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a controversial school turnaround contractor. 

In its complaints, the coalition specifically cites Board of Education President David Vitale and board member Carlos Azcoitia as having potential conflicts due to their ties to AUSL. The education coalition, which believes the three recent school turnarounds are invalid due to the alleged conflicts, also notes that Tim Cawley, CPS' Chief Administrative Officer, is the former managing director of AUSL and "is in a position to approve CPS contracts, including the AUSL contracts."

"There seems to be a swinging door relationship between CPS and AUSL," said Valerie Leonard with Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education, which includes groups such as Blocks Together, the Lawndale Alliance, Teachers for Social Justice and other members.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:44pm
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Chicago Board Of Education Votes To Turnaround Three CPS Schools

Despite opposition from a swath of parents and community members, the Chicago Board of Education voted on Wednesday to "turnaround" three underperforming elementary schools at the request of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district. Progress Illinois provides a recap of what happened at Wednesday's board of education meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:45pm
Mon Apr 21, 2014

Dvorak Elementary Supporters Urge CPS To Hold Off On Proposed AUSL Turnaround

Supporters of Dvorak Technology Academy in North Lawndale held a rally Monday night in a last-ditch effort to save their school from having its entire staff fired and replaced next year by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a controversial school turnaround contractor. 

Parents, students and other community stakeholders held a protest outside of Dvorak to call on the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district to put in place a moratorium on school turnarounds.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:13am
Tue Mar 11, 2014

Chicago Teachers, Education Activists To CPS: “Stop Bullying Parents And Students” Over ISAT Opt-Out

    Chicago public school educators and activists rallied Monday afternoon to support teachers who have refused to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and parents who have opted their students out of the exam.

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