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Raise Your Hand Coalition

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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
4:42pm
Thu Nov 12, 2015

Paul Vallas Voices Support For A 'Hybrid' Elected School Board In Chicago

Paul Vallas, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, says the city should have a "hybrid" school board with both voter-elected and mayor-appointed members.

He spoke Wednesday night at an elected school board forum hosted by state Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) at the Athenaeum Theatre on Chicago's North Side. 

Other panelists at the discussion included Wendy Katten with the Raise Your Hand coalition and Eric "Rico" Gutstein, a professor in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

"I believe that you do need elected members of the school board," said Vallas, who was the CPS CEO from 1995 to 2001 and also ran schools in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Connecticut. "I believe that you do need transparency."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:55pm
Tue Oct 13, 2015

Byrd-Bennett Pleads Guilty To Fraud; Calls Increase For An Elected Chicago School Board (VIDEO)

The same day former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to her role in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme, education activists and local lawmakers on Tuesday stressed the need for an elected school board in the city.

"We're here because we want every position on that school board elected by the people of Chicago," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said during a morning press conference at Federal Plaza before Byrd-Bennett's arraignment. "We have a right to democracy. We have a right as parents and community members to voice our opinions about our schools, and we have a right to a better school system. Our children deserve it."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
8:49am
Thu Oct 1, 2015

Debate Over Chicago Charter School Expansion Heats Up At CPS Hearings (VIDEO)

Charter school proponents and opponents spoke out Wednesday night at back-to-back hearings on proposals for new charter schools under consideration by the Chicago Public Schools.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:42pm
Thu Mar 12, 2015

Mollison Elementary Parents Sound Off On PARCC Test, Demand School Improvements (VIDEO)

Public school parents on Chicago's South Side are speaking out against the controversial PARCC standardized test as well as overcrowding and other conditions in their children's school, Irvin C. Mollison Elementary.

Gathering Thursday morning outside Mollison, located at 4415 S. King Dr., community members and parents whose children have opted out of the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test said they want Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools officials "to answer to the disinvestment" at the school.

As part of the record number of school closings in 2013, CPS designated Mollison as the receiving school for the now-shuttered Anthony Overton Elementary School. According to parents, Mollision took in about 200 students from Overton.

"Closing and merging our schools has had a severe negative impact on our children," said Anna Jones, one of eight parents at the news conference. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:10pm
Thu Feb 19, 2015

UIC Education Experts: Chicago Should Move To An Elected School Board

Policies under Chicago's mayor-appointed school board "have exacerbated historical educational inequalities" in the city, according to a new report by University of Illinois at Chicago education researchers. Progress Illinois takes a look at the report and the debate over an elected school board.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:08pm
Thu Dec 11, 2014

Strides Being Made In Improving CPS Arts Education, But Challenges Still Remain

The "state of the arts" in the Chicago Public Schools district has improved over the past two academic years, but there remains much work ahead to ensure all students have access to quality arts instruction, according to a recent report by Ingenuity Inc., a Chicago-based arts education advocacy organization.

For the report issued last week, Ingenuity examined the progress that's been made towards the goals and recommendations in the city's three-year CPS Arts Education Plan, which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012 and made arts a core subject.

Over the first two academic years under the plan, "growth was seen in almost all categories of arts instruction, including minutes of weekly instruction, staffing, arts integration and professional development, and number of arts partnerships," the report reads.

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