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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:52pm
Mon Nov 18, 2013

New Report Sheds Some Light On The Illinois Policy Institute's 'Big-Money Funders'

A series of new reports allege that the State Policy Network (SPN) and its web of think tanks, including the Illinois Policy Institute, are reportedly driving a "right-wing agenda" across all 50 states. Progress Illinois takes a look at the reports and the "big-money funders" behind SPN and its affiliated think tank in Illinois.

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.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:11pm
Wed Nov 13, 2013

Chicago Aldermen Fail To Discharge TIF Surplus, Elected School Board Proposals From Rules Committee

The Chicago City Council's Progressive Reform Caucus made an effort Wednesday to bring up for a full vote two pieces of legislation that have been stuck in the Rules Committee for months, but their efforts were thwarted. Progress Illinois was at Wednesday's city council meeting and details how the attempt flatlined.

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
4:45pm
Thu Nov 7, 2013

UIC Faculty Union Rallies For Higher Wages, Speedy Contract Settlement With Administration (VIDEO)

A few hundred University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) members and their supporters rallied on campus Thursday afternoon, calling on the institution's administration to settle their contract with the union.

Back in 2012, UICUF was legally recognized to represent all full-time tenured and non-tenured UIC faculty. The union has been negotiating with the university over a contract for 15 months, and faculty members say a resolution is not in sight.

"We all realize now, over the last month or so, things have slowed down at the bargaining table," said UICUF President Joe Persky. "When money was tight, when we sacrificed for the university, when we gave up to help our students, the campus thanked us. But now when ... it's time to pay us back, they have stopped negotiating."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Nov 7, 2013

Austin, Galewood Residents Unveil Community Sustainability Action Plan

Chicago's Austin and Galewood community members unveiled their draft "sustainability roadmap" Wednesday evening, detailing ways in which they will take action to strengthen their neighborhoods.

The new community-based planning initiative on the West Side is taking place in Ald. Deborah Graham's 29th Ward. Prior to Wednesday's meeting, residents and other community stakeholders held two "visioning sessions" where they floated ideas to be included in their plan on how to make their neighborhoods more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Check out Progress Illinois' full coverage of the first visioning meeting here.

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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