Four academic years after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that race could no longer be used as a factor in the makeup of a Chicago public school's student population, a Sun-Times report has noted a steep increase in the number of white students in the city's top four public high schools.
A group of Chicago students is ratcheting up the pressure on state lawmakers to get behind "common-sense" school disciplinary policies.
Student leaders with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) argue zero tolerance discipline policies have resulted in zero gains in schools across the state. Dozens of students demonstrated at the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) downtown headquarters Wednesday morning before marching to the Thompson Center to call on state officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, to fix "broken" school discipline policies across Illinois. The group wants state lawmakers to set limitations on the use of disciplinary actions that eat up classroom learning time and have a disproportionate impact on students of color.
"Students want to stay in school. Students want to learn, and they want discipline (policies) that make sense," said Jose Sanchez, VOYCE's Safe Schools Consortium coordinator.
Chicago public school educators and activists rallied Monday afternoon to support teachers who have refused to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and parents who have opted their students out of the exam.
Reforming Illinois' public education funding system has to include fixes to the state’s tax policy, argued Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, at a DePaul University education forum Tuesday evening.
“For decades, Illinois has denied an adequate education to the vast majority of its school children, and it’s set up a structurally-racist system of education finance that specifically singles out African Americans and Latinos for very poorly funded education,” Martire said at the discussion about equity in education. “To fix that, we need to raise taxes the right way.”
In a press release, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced on Friday that the district has seen a 36 percent decrease in out-of-school suspensions since the 2010-2011 school year.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration rolled out new school discipline guidelines that call on educators to abandon harsh policies, like suspensions and expulsions, for minor infractions that disproportionately impact minorities and those with disabilities. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the non-binding recommendations.
A few hundred public education activists took to City Hall and the
Thompson Center Monday evening to deliver their holiday list of demands
as well as lumps of coal and candy canes to the offices of naughty and nice elected officials. Progress Illinois was there for the protest.
The 1963 boycott of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wasn’t just about achieving the rights for black children to sit next to white children in classrooms.
The fight against educational segregation was also about gaining equal
access to resources so that every student was given the same opportunity to
learn. A group of panelists who analyzed the parallels
between educational access in 1963 and the present day on the 50th anniversary of the boycott say the fight for equality still rages on.
In Chicago, many African American students still attend “separate but unequal” schools, according to members of the Tuesday night panel.
we’re still fighting for educational equity, albeit in a different
political climate,” said Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a professor of history
at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Our children today still do
not have equal access to state resources and this is not primarily a
question of diversity, but a problem of economic and racial justice.”