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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Jun 27

CivicLab's 'Democracy Design Studio' To Launch New Tools, Programs For Activists

Progress Illinois profiles the Chicago-based CivicLab, which turns one year old next month, and its latest efforts to aid local activists.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed May 21

CTU Blasts CPS For 'Unfulfilled' Promises On School Closings

One year after the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 "underutilized" public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says the district has not delivered on various promises to invest in the designated "welcoming schools" that took in displaced students.

“Shuttering our schools was touted as a hard and difficult choice by the mayor and the board, but this was the easy, draconian choice,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Parents, teachers, and the public demanded resources and supports for these education communities. Sadly, by making promises that remain unfulfilled, these schools and the students they serve have been dealt yet another blow — from failed policy to broken promises.” Read more »

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Apr 26, 2013

CISPA Could Be The End Of Online Privacy, Internet Activists Say

Privacy advocates condemning the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) as the end of online confidentiality experienced a triumph this week as the legislation will likely be shelved by the U.S. Senate.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Apr 10, 2013

Internet Advocacy Groups Call For Reform Of The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act

Internet advocacy groups Demand Progress and the Internet Defense League have united to campaign for reform and updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) with the launch of a week of action.

Participating organizations, which include members of the Internet Defense League such as Reddit and Wordpress, have asked their users to contact Congress this week to express their support for reform of the CFAA.

A 1986 law designed to reduce Internet hacking, the CFAA allows the federal government to prosecute Internet users for various computer-related offenses.

“The CFAA is punishing too much of our behavior online and too much of our activity,” said Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press Action Fund. The Free Press is a member of the Internet Defense League (IDL). Approximately 30,000 websites participate regularly in the organization’s Internet freedom campaigns.

Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Mar 28, 2013

Valley View School Board Slams Proposal For Suburban Online Charter School

Valley View School Board members blasted the for-profit charter company K12 Inc. and its non-profit partner Virtual Learning Solutions at a hearing last night over plans to bring an online charter school to the Romeoville and Bolingbrook areas.

For nearly two hours, district officials grilled representatives from K12, a publicly held company that sells cyber schooling to states, on everything from its academic performance and accommodating students with disabilities to its lack of data showing student growth and success.

Virtual Learning Solutions and K12, which operates in at least 29 states outside of Illinois with two schools in Chicago, want to form the Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley for Valley View and 17 other school districts, including Plainfield and Oswego. Last night was the last of 18 hearings on the charter proposal.

“My fear is there’s something being hidden from us,” said Valley View School Board member Leo Venegas. “It sounds like it’s this fabulous program, but no substance, and I just don’t know if I can bring that to my community and say, ‘There’s value here, but we have no proof of the value.’” Read more »