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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:17pm
Fri Sep 30, 2016

U.S. Students Continue To Face 'Unacceptable Levels' Of Bullying, Survey Finds

Despite an increase over the past decade in anti-bullying policies and other measures to promote safe school environments, biased language, bullying and harassment continue to be the norm at many U.S. middle and high schools.

That's according to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which released its 2015 school climate survey on Wednesday. The report is an update of the group's school climate survey from 2005.

"Overall, bullying still persists at unacceptable levels, and the gains of the past ten years throw the more intractable aspects of the problem into higher relief. LGBTQ students still face rates of violence much higher relative to their peers," GLSEN's Executive Director Eliza Byard said in the report's preface.

"Teachers report that they are less comfortable and less prepared to address the harsh conditions faced by transgender and gender nonconforming students. And amidst progress in reducing the use of most types of biased language in schools, racist language remains as prevalent as it was a decade ago," she continued.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:45pm
Wed Jul 20, 2016

Chicago Aldermen Approve Property Tax Rebate, Propose Sources Of Revenue For Schools

A group of Chicago aldermen proposed a package of ordinances Wednesday to generate revenue for the city's cash-strapped public schools.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district has a $300 million budget gap, and schools are reportedly facing a 7 percent funding cut in the upcoming academic year.

"We've received some money from the state, but it's just not enough," Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said at a press conference before the council meeting with fellow aldermen, the Chicago Teachers Union and other education advocates.

"We need to find more progressive and more viable solutions to increase revenue so that all of our schools can be adequately financed, so that we can give quality teachers an opportunity to teach in our schools," he continued. "When I had a conversation with a principal yesterday, she was perplexed that she could not hire a 20-plus year veteran school teacher because she could not afford it. That's not right."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:12pm
Mon Jul 11, 2016

Report: LGBTQ Youth Face Hostile School Environments, 'Harsh' Disciplinary Actions

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students encounter hostile school environments and face "harsh and exclusionary disciplinary policies" that may effectively push them out of school and possibly into the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

That's according to a report released late last month from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

"Findings from this report demonstrate that, for many LGBTQ students, schools are hostile environments that effectively function to push students out of school, depriving them of the opportunity to learn," the report reads. "When LGBTQ students feel less safe, less comfortable, and less welcome in schools, they are less likely to attend and more likely to drop out.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:42am
Wed Feb 10, 2016

Ald. Arena Talks Next Steps On TIF Funding Proposal For CPS

Although a tax increment financing (TIF) surplus resolution has stalled in the Chicago City Council, one alderman says the fight to redirect such funds to the cash-crunched school system continues.

Ald. John Arena (45th), with the council's Progressive Reform Caucus, spoke about the TIF surplus resolution during a Tuesday evening education forum on Chicago's Northwest Side. Chicago Jobs with Justice hosted the event at Irving Park Baptist Church, 4401 W. Irving Park Road.

Just hours earlier, Budget Committee Chairwoman Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) used a procedural move to delay consideration of the TIF surplus ordinance -- which is backed by 34 aldermen -- by sending it to the Finance Committee.

"It's not done," Arena said of the TIF resolution, introduced by progressive Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). Progressive Reform Caucus members are working with "some other folks to try to modify the resolution" in an effort to "get a [TIF] sweep done within the next month or two," Arena told the crowd.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:10am
Wed Nov 26, 2014

Survey: Many Illinois LGBT Youth Face Combative School Environments

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) middle and high school students in Illinois face hostile school environments and lack access to important educational resources, according to state-level data from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) "2013 National School Climate Survey."

The survey, taken in 2013 and released this October, included 7,989 LGBT students, including 279 from Illinois.

The 2013 snapshot for Illinois shows most LGBT students surveyed in the state have faced some form of victimization at school, with 7 in 10 students saying they have been verbally harassed based on their sexual orientation in the past year. Another 56 percent of Illinois respondents said they have faced verbal harassment at school due to their gender expression. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:49pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Ridesharing, Guns, Sweatshops, SROs & $15 Minimum Wage

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:20pm
Mon Apr 28, 2014

Chicago Anti-War Activists Target Boeing Over Pursuit Of Navy Drone Contract

Anti-war activists on Monday morning picketed outside of the Boeing Company's annual shareholders meeting in Chicago, calling on the aerospace company to drop its bid to win the U.S. Navy contract for the next generation carrier-based drone known as the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft.

Chicago-based Boeing and three other companies — General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — are vying to work on the naval drone, which would be able to launch from an aircraft carrier. 

Ten protestors with the Anti-War Committee gathered outside of Chicago's Field Museum, where Boeing's shareholders meeting was being held, to urge the company to build something better than "deadly weapons." 

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