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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Wed Jan 15, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: E-Cigs, Affordable Housing & Charter Expansion

Progress Illinois recaps some of the happenings at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:16pm
Tue Jan 14, 2014

Education Activists Discuss Next Steps Against Charter School Expansion In Chicago

    West Side community members and education activists are not backing down from their fight against charter school expansion in Chicago.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:00pm
Wed Jan 8, 2014

Debate Over New Chicago Charter School Proposals Heats Up At CPS Hearing

Chicagoans braved the bitter cold Tuesday night to speak out at community hearings held by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) regarding proposals for 21 new privately-run charter schools. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of the hearings.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:12am
Wed Jan 8, 2014

ChicagoQuest Charter School Staff Push To Form A Union

The majority of teachers and staff at the Chicago International Charter Schools' (CICS) ChicagoQuest campus on the Northwest Side are organizing to form a union.

Thirty-three out of the 34 staff members at the “game-like learning” junior high school, which centers its curriculum around systems-thinking and game design, announced publicly last month that they want to unionize in order to have a legal voice and actively participate in the school community's decision-making processes.

The charter school's staff are organizing a union "to negotiate a legally-binding contract with consistent, fair and public guidelines for evaluation, support and pay that will serve both to retain and recruit qualified and experienced teachers," the ChicagoQuest faculty members said in their mission statement delivered to school leaders last month.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Thu Dec 19, 2013

Report: Proposed CPS Charter Schools Could Cost Taxpayers $225 Million Over Next Decade

Proposals for 21 new privately run charter schools in Chicago could cost city taxpayers at least $225 million over the next decade, according to a financial analysis issued Wednesday by Communities United for Quality Education.

Next year alone, the proposed charters could come with $21 million in extra costs, according to the education coalition of parents and community members. The group argues that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been less than transparent about the added expenses associated with the new schools as well as how the district plans to pay for them.

Among other concerns, the activists fear that traditional neighborhood schools would see their budgets slashed, again, in order to cover the added costs, including heating and air conditioning fees, principal salary payments and start-up expenses. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to take up CPS’ recommendations for the new charters at its January meeting.

“CPS is not properly funding schools that exist right now,” stressed Jennie Biggs of the Raise Your Hand education coalition and Bridgeport Alliance. “How will schools survive and thrive when there’s more schools but no extra resources? In financial terms, adding charters into our school system will be a destructive move.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
9:58am
Tue Dec 10, 2013

Chicagoans Deliver Coal, Candy Canes To Politicians Based On Public Education Votes (VIDEO)

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.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
5:11pm
Mon Dec 2, 2013

CPS Parents Host Fair To Promote, Support Neighborhood Schools

As Chicago’s public schools continue to struggle in the face of budget cuts, overcrowding and a city government that seems to prefer to invest in charter schools, a group of parents hosted what they say was the first fair ever to showcase public education in neighborhood schools. Calling themselves BAM, short for “Bad Ass Moms,” the group put together a “Neighborhood Schools Fair” last month as a way to connect Chicago Public Schools families with one another and highlight the accomplishments of their children’s schools.

“What better way to defend public education then by showcasing what we have to offer,” said Rousemary Vega, a CPS parent and resident of Humboldt Park. Vega, one of the founding members of BAM, said the group formed over the summer during a backyard barbeque where CPS parents discussed the massive CPS school closures and budget cuts.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:57pm
Thu Nov 14, 2013

Proposed State Legislation Looks To Abolish Illinois Charter School Commission

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) recently introduced a bill that would revoke the authorizing power of the Illinois State Charter School Commission. Progress Illinois takes a look at the commission as well as Chapa LaVia's new proposal.

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