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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:42pm
Mon Jun 16

Education Activists Bring Dyett High School Fight To Alderman's Front Door (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

About a dozen Chicago education activists pitched a makeshift campsite outside of Ald. Will Burns' (4th) South Side office Monday morning in protest of the school district's plan to close Walter H. Dyett High School at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout and close the Bronzeville neighborhood high school, located in Burns' 4th Ward, due to poor academic performance. Dyett is scheduled to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), are upset with Burns because the alderman does not support their specific proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a open-enrollment "global leadership and green technology" neighborhood high school. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:25pm
Mon Jun 9

Chicago Education Activists Target Ald. Burns Over Future Of Dyett High School (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists are ramping up their fight to save Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. 

At a news conference at City Hall on Monday, a coalition of parents, students and South Side community leaders blasted Chicago Ald. Will Burns (4th), whose ward includes Dyett, for not supporting their proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment, neighborhood high school. Toting signs reading "Stop disinvesting in black children," members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School called the alderman's lack of support for their community-driven, academic plan "disrespectful" to the families who live near Dyett and accused Burns of "ignoring" the needs of neighborhood children.   Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13pm
Fri Mar 28

Foster Launches Local Initiative To Promote Job Creation, Economic Development

Illinois public and private sector leaders are joining U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) in an effort to help boost jobs and economic development in Will County and the Chicago region.

Foster kicked off his "Project Growth" initiative at a panel discussion in Joliet on Friday. The endeavor is focused on four key issues: education, manufacturing, strengthening the middle-class and transportation.

“My goal in launching Project Growth is to do deep examinations of what’s working in our communities, what isn’t working, and what we can be doing to better support job creation and more economic development,” the congressman said at the launch of his new initiative. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:22pm
Wed Feb 19

New Report Sheds Light On America's Top Paid 'Government Workers'

Contrary to what some may believe, America's top paid government workers are not public employees, argues a new report from the progressive watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

"America's highest paid government workers are not your local teachers, social workers or corrections officers," said CMD's Executive Director Lisa Graves. "Rather, America's highest paid government workers are the corporate executives who profit from reckless privatization deals across the country."

In the “Exposed: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers” report, CMD identifies six CEOs who "worked hard to privatize public services and who use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves with outlandish salaries and benefits."

After reviewing shareholder lawsuits, criminal investigations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctions and court settlements, CMD found that the six CEOs highlighted in the report collectively raked in more than $100 million in compensation largely funded by taxpayers over the past several years.  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:56pm
Fri Aug 9, 2013

Northern Illinois Light Brigade Puts ALEC In The Spotlight

A few dozen activists and members of the Northern Illinois Light Brigade gathered near the Palmer House Hilton Thursday evening in an effort to shine some light, literally, on the pro-corporate and conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Thursday was day two of ALEC's 40th annual three-day conference, which is being held at the downtown hotel this week.

The light brigade illuminated large letter signs that read "Fight To End ALEC," and other slogans. The signs drew attention from curious people on the street as well as looks from likely ALEC members as they made their way in and out of the Palmer House.

Activist Bill Weiss, a Kirkland, Illinois resident, said ALEC creates legislation that hurts average people while filling the pockets of big corporations.

"As long as ALEC is allowed to continue to write our laws for us, they’re never going to be laws for the people," Weiss said. "They're always going to be laws for the corporations, and we can’t let that happen.” Read more »

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:19pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Federal Lawsuits Filed Against CPS Closings As Chicago Clergy Holds 'Pray-In' For Public Schools (VIDEO)

Two class action lawsuits looking to put a stop to the Chicago Public Schools' plan to shutter 53 elementary schools at the end of the academic year were filed in federal court today. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:32am
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 »