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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Jan 9, 2014

Minimum Wage Lights Up Guv's Race, Study Shows Increase Could Bring 5 Million Out Of Poverty (UPDATED)

About 4.6 million Americans could emerge from poverty if the federal minimum wage was bumped up to $10.10 an hour, a recent study by a University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the national study as well as the minimum wage battle that has recently cropped up in the race for Illinois governor. 

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
3:57pm
Wed Dec 18, 2013

Chicagoans Push For Ballot Referendums On Ames Middle School, Minimum Wage (UPDATED)

With various groups delivering petitions to the Chicago Board of Elections this week, Chicagoans are continuing their call for two referendums to be added to the March 18 ballot. The non-binding referendums focus on the minimum wage and future of a Logan Square neighborhood school.

In the ongoing fight to increase the minimum wage, a coalition of Chicago families and groups, including Action Now, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Grassroots Collaborative, ONE Northside, and SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Indiana, delivered petitions to the board of elections demanding that the city establish its own minimum wage.

"I support raising the minimum wage in Chicago for low-wage workers because we are not invisible. We will not stand by and let our elected officials maintain the status quo," said Carlos Navarro, a retired Marine veteran and a ONE Northside leader living in Chicago's 46th Ward. "I'm tired of seeing families in my community struggle to get by on poverty wages and I am confident this referendum will show the Chicago City Council that there is a need to raise the minimum wage to a fair and living wage."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
10:51pm
Wed Dec 11, 2013

Chicago City Council Approves Independent Budget Office; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:25pm
Mon Nov 11, 2013

High Schoolers Critical Of New CPS Student Advisory Council, Say It's 'Just For Show'

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced the creation of a new Student Advisory Council last Friday. The initiative is meant to provide students the opportunity to discuss important issues with district officials.

Some Chicago student leaders called the new advisory council an important first step in opening the dialogue between students and CPS. But they also said the new advisory council is "just for show," because students wouldn't have a direct vote when it comes to deciding CPS policy.

"We do view this advisory committee as a good base step," said Ross Floyd, a junior at Jones College Prep and a Chicago Student Union (CSU) leader. "We think there's a lot of work to do, but it’s better than before. Before, there was no student voice. The more student voice in educational policy, the better that policy is going to be."

Floyd, however, went on to say that the new council seems like a "puppet show." CPS says a goal of the council is to empower students' voices in district policy decisions, but "in reality they're giving the students no power at all," he stressed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Tue Nov 5, 2013

Ames Middle School Officials, Parents Demand Meeting With CPS Over Military School Plan

Logan Square parents, residents and the Local School Council (LSC) at Ames Middle School say they want Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials to meet with them about the district's plan to affiliate their neighborhood school with the Marine Corps next year. 

Ames LSC members stressed at their meeting Tuesday morning that those from nearby feeder schools should also have an opportunity to weigh in about the decision to convert Ames, located at 1920 N. Hamlin Ave., into a military academy. Those feeder schools include John Barry Elementary, Laughlin Falconer Elementary, Kelvyn Park High School, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary and William P. Nixon Elementary.

No CPS officials attended Ames' morning LSC meeting, although several school district representatives were reportedly invited to attend.

"Nobody has had the courtesy to come to us, the parents, constituents and, most importantly, the students that will be most affected [by this decision]," said Ames LSC member Jose Jaramillo. "We are tired of trying to fight a battle of people making decisions for our school when we are the ones that are vested and give all our time for the excellence of our community and school."

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