Up to 5 million Americans struggling to make their monthly student loan payments could find relief under a program President Barack Obama expanded Monday, part of an election-year push by Democrats to paint Republicans as blocking common-sense steps that could help the middle class.
A group of Chicago students is ratcheting up the pressure on state lawmakers to get behind "common-sense" school disciplinary policies.
Student leaders with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) argue zero tolerance discipline policies have resulted in zero gains in schools across the state. Dozens of students demonstrated at the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) downtown headquarters Wednesday morning before marching to the Thompson Center to call on state officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, to fix "broken" school discipline policies across Illinois. The group wants state lawmakers to set limitations on the use of disciplinary actions that eat up classroom learning time and have a disproportionate impact on students of color.
"Students want to stay in school. Students want to learn, and they want discipline (policies) that make sense," said Jose Sanchez, VOYCE's Safe Schools Consortium coordinator.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration rolled out new school discipline guidelines that call on educators to abandon harsh policies, like suspensions and expulsions, for minor infractions that disproportionately impact minorities and those with disabilities. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the non-binding recommendations.
A list kept under former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan’s
administration of clout-heavy Chicagoans and public officials looking to
get kids into some of the city’s top schools was made public last week.
Some education experts say the log is another example of the
intense competition for too few high-quality school seats in the city
and the disparity in education and economic investment in Chicago neighborhoods.
“The fact that there’s so many people who want to get into
those schools shows that the people really want a quality education,
and the system should be responsive instead of disinvesting in various
school communities,” said Eric “Rico” Gutstein, faculty associate with
the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education.
The Chicago Public Schools’ plan to shakeup and shut down a
record-breaking number of neighborhood schools in June will likely lead
to further charter school expansion in the city, education policy
experts and activists predict.
With total college loan debts pushing nearly a trillion dollars in the U.S., a group of Chicago students are pushing for student loan reforms.
told stories of promising futures soon replaced by a grim employment
outlook through their prepared speeches at the Chicago Temple United
Methodist Church Saturday afternoon.
Amanda Weaver, a Loyola University
master’s student, told the crowd of about 200 parents, students and
concerned community members that her student loans added up to a
combined total pf $134,000.
“My parents, teachers, guidance
counselors all told me ‘Go to school, take the loans, invest in my
future,’” Weaver said speaking from the church pulpit. “I was told I
would get nowhere in the job market without this expensive degree. Well,
the truth is, after I graduated there were no jobs in sight.”