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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:45pm
Fri Nov 21, 2014

School Custodians Rally For Higher Wages, Paid Sick Leave (VIDEO)

Low-wage school custodians from Elgin, Wheaton, Rockford and other areas picketed outside of the Illinois Association of School Boards conference in Chicago Friday morning, demanding paid holiday and sick days.

Chanting "Hey, District U46. Your low wages make us sick," the custodians, hired by school district contractors and represented by SEIU* Local 1, also called for better pay and health benefits.

"We want to show (school board officials) that we're not happy with what they pay to our custodians," Carolina Villalobos, an SEIU Local 1 organizer, said outside of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, where the conference was held.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Tue Oct 14, 2014

Chicagoans Speak Out Against School Actions Cited In Federal Civil Rights Complaint

U.S. Department of Education officials heard first-hand stories about the impact public school closings and consolidations are having in Chicago at a South Side community meeting held Monday night with parents, students and their supporters.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is currently looking into a complaint filed by education activists alleging "racially discriminatory" school actions and closings in Chicago. Organizers with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School spearheaded the town hall meeting, held at First Unitarian Church of Chicago in Hyde Park. The discussion was designed to allow education department reps to hear directly from the people affected by the school actions cited in the complaint. The two education department officials were at the meeting strictly to listen.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:04pm
Mon Jul 14, 2014

Foster, Community Leaders Analyze Modern Day Civil Rights Issues (VIDEO)

The country has made great strides in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, but much remains to be accomplished, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) said at a panel discussion on the topic in Darien Monday morning.

July 2 marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and natural origin.

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and all the steps forward ... we really have to continue to ask ourselves: What are the great civil right struggles that we face today," Foster asked at the talk with community members, held at the Indian Prairie Public Library in DuPage County.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:50pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: School Closures, Charter Expansion Causing 'Catastrophic' Harm To U.S. Minority Communities

On the heels of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared state-mandated public school segregation unconstitutional, dozens of grassroots organizations across the country say the push by education "reformers" to close and privatize schools is having a devastating and disproportionate impact on communities of color. Progress Illinois takes a look at a new report on the matter released by Journey for Justice Alliance, a national network of grassroots community groups.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:57pm
Fri Oct 25, 2013

Youth Advocates Call For Better Pregnancy, Parenting Student Supports

The rights of pregnant and parenting students in Illinois are often overlooked, and more supports need to be in place to ensure the youth reach their full academic potential, school officials and adolescent health advocates said at a town hall meeting on the topic in Chicago.

The meeting, hosted by the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health's (ICAH) School Network, follows recently-released guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on strategies meant to support the academic success of pregnant and parenting students under Title IX. The department's optional recommendations issued in June were prepared for secondary school administrators, teachers, counselors, parents and students.

ICAH's Executive Director Yamani Hernandez said a "blanket of shame" still shrouds many young people who are pregnant or parenting and, "That’s really a barrier to their success."

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