Southwest Side residents and education activists delivered over 500 community letters to Chicago Ald. Ed Burke's (14th) office on Wednesday as part of their campaign against new Noble charter school campuses proposed for the area. Local residents were also granted a meeting with Burke's assistant to discuss the charter school issue.
The State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country, compiled the list. SiX was formed in an effort to counter the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that crafts and pushes conservative, corporate-friendly state legislation.
According to SiX's review, the top 10 state-level progressive measures approved thus far in 2015 involve the following: closing the wage gap for women and minorities; accommodating pregnant workers; implementing earned sick leave; expanding access to higher education; tackling the student debt crisis; reducing carbon emissions; modernizing voter registration; repealing the death penalty; increasing police accountability and public safety; and preventing abusers and stalkers from obtaining guns.
"We are convinced that progressives are right on the issues and the SiX review of the states bears that out. From advancing the economic security of working families to improving access to voting we saw that even in a map that is deeply red, progressives were able to achieve some important policy victories in 2015," SiX Executive DirectorNick Rathod said in a statement. "I'm confident that as SiX grows and is able to better resource, train and organize legislators around the country, we can help to see that progressives are able to achieve more of the types of policy victories like those that made the list this year."
Local residents and school and elected officials on Chicago's Southwest Side packed a town hall meeting at Thomas Kelly High School late Thursday morning to push back against a proposal to open two new charter high schools in the area.
The charter proposal comes at a time when neighborhood schools on the Southwest Side and across the city are facing another round of deep budget cuts as the school district grapples with large budget and pension problems.
Those at today's town hall meeting argued that the new Noble campuses could come at the expense of cash-starved traditional neighborhood schools and the programs they offer. If district-run neighborhood schools lose students to the new charters, for example, they would see less funding due to Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) per-pupil budgeting formula.