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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
11:22pm
Wed Mar 27, 2013

Thousands Take To Downtown Chicago Streets In Protest Against CPS School Closures (VIDEO)

More than 7,000 protesters descended upon downtown Chicago today in protest of school closures and related actions by the Chicago Public Schools system. Progress Illinois was there for the action.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:31pm
Mon Mar 25, 2013

CPS High School Students Protest Impending School Actions (VIDEO)

On the first day of spring break, a group of approximately 20 high school students marched to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel today, announcing their opposition to last week’s announcement from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that 54 schools will be closed and another six are slated for turnaround.

“All CPS students are victims of this bad policy, because CPS is not listening to student voices,” said Israel Munoz, a senior at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago’s West Side neighborhood of Brighton Park. “Shutting down public education anywhere in the city makes victims of students everywhere in the city.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:19pm
Mon Mar 25, 2013

Education Activists Take School Closure Fight To Bank Of America (VIDEO)

A group of protesters pushed back against the Chicago Public Schools' plan to close and consolidate schools this weekend, taking their fight to Bank of America on Saturday where they rallied against the price of costly interest-rate swaps.

Carrying signs and chanting “banks got bailed out, children got sold out,” a group of about 30 protesters, organized by the Grassroots Collaborative and Pilsen Alliance, marched from Pilsen Elementary Community Academy to two Bank of America branches hoping to get a letter sent to the bank’s Illinois president.

“Big banks sold school districts and government ‘interest-rate swap’ agreements on the premise that they would reduce the costs of borrowing. But the opposite has happened,” the letter to Tim Maloney, Illinois president of Bank of America, said. “In Chicago, even though the city just announced 54 school closings, the most ever shut down at once in the nation’s history, banks like Bank of America are gouging the Chicago Public Schools for $35 million a year."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:02pm
Fri Mar 1, 2013

Report: Racial Wealth Gap Nearly Tripled Over Last 25 Years, Home Ownership A Factor

Derived from a long history of discrimination, a staggering opportunity gap has widened financial disparities between black and white Americans, condemning African Americans to less home equity, according to a new report by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University.

After studying 1,700 American families for 25 years, the report examines the major causes of America’s racial wealth gap. Researchers found that the total wealth gap between white and African American families had almost tripled during the study, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:36am
Wed Feb 6, 2013

CTU Pushes Back Against High-Stakes Standardized Testing With New Report

As a part of the “Pencils Down” campaign against high-stakes testing in schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released a position report yesterday afternoon discussing the history and advancement of the standardized testing movement, aiming to provide evidence against its effectiveness.

The report, titled “Debunking the Myths of Standardized Testing,” attempts to expose shortcomings in the high-stakes testing model. The CTU claims standardized testing contributes to a growing achievement gap, takes up valuable instruction time and negatively impacts student learning.

“Overreliance on standardized tests has led to reduced graduation rates among students of color, narrowed the curriculum in all subjects and grade levels and ill prepared our students for fulfilling the careers and civic engagement,” the report reads. “The reforms of the accountability era are harmful policies that lead to neither short-term successes nor long-term prosperity for students.”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
3:44pm
Thu Jan 10, 2013

Wage Gap For Black Women At Staggering Levels In Many States, Including Illinois

The gender wage gap continues to be an ongoing problem in the U.S. as seen in a new report. A study (PDF) of the wage gap in 20 states drilled down racially to look at the figure for black women, and illuminated some major, and disheartening, disparities.

Nationally, the wage gap for women compared to men is 77 cents on the dollar. For black women, that figure is 70 cents on the dollar when compared to men and an even worse 64 cents on the dollar when compared to white, non-Hispanic men. An analysis of Census Bureau stats by the National Partnership for Women and Families looked at the wage gap for black women 20 states with the highest number of such women working full-time, year-round and found "a pervasive gender-based wage gap in the very states where the majority of them work."

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