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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:21pm
Thu Dec 10, 2015

Progressives To Make Debt-Free College A Key 2016 Election Issue In Illinois, Other States

Progressive lawmakers from 10 U.S. states, including Illinois, have rolled out a legislative campaign in support of debt-free college.

On a Monday conference call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), 10 Democratic state legislators said they will introduce non-binding resolutions in their respective assemblies backing debt-free public higher education. The aim is to spark a larger conversation about debt-free college and make it a key 2016 election issue, according to the lawmakers.

Debt-free college resolutions will be introduced in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina plus Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"(Monday's) announcement is part of a larger progressive strategy for 2016, ensuring that the entire Democratic Party, from the top to the bottom of the ticket, is unified behind a big, bold economic populist agenda -- an agenda that motivates people to get to the polls, and it would be a game-changer in the lives of millions," said Kayla Wingbermuehle, PCCC's debt-free college campaign director.

Quick Hit
by guest
7:22pm
Fri Nov 20, 2015

Guest Article: Interfaith Leaders Press CHA To Preserve Housing At Lathrop Homes

The following was written by Chicago journalist Curtis Black.

Pastors invoked the Battle of Jericho -with the Chicago Housing Authority as the wall keeping people out of their promised land - at an Interfaith Call to Action rally demanding preservation of public housing at Lathrop Homes last week.

"There's a barrier standing in the way of thousands of people who need a home," said Rev. Bruce Ray of Kimball Avenue Church. "There's a barrier standing in the way of new homes in a land of promise...It's the Chicago Housing Authority."

As fellow pastors held up a wall with the letters "CHA" on it, Ray added, "CHA might as well stand for 'Can't House Anyone.'"

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:45pm
Fri Nov 6, 2015

Chicago Students, State Reps. Rally For A CPS Budget Solution (VIDEO)

Chicago Public Schools students rallied Friday evening at the Thompson Center, where they called on Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to come to a budget solution in order to avert deep cuts and layoffs at CPS.

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
12:25pm
Thu Oct 8, 2015

Parents, Advocates Speak Out Against CPS Special Education Cuts

Newly announced cuts to special education in Chicago spurred parents to gather for a special town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss the potential impact of the public school district's latest budget move.

Amber Smock, director of advocacy for Access Living, described the budget cuts as "morally wrong," adding that it demonstrates school officials' lack of the creativity needed to find other ways to curb expenses.

"The Chicago Public Schools budget crisis facing students with disabilities is one of the worst we've seen in ten years," said Smock. "The fact that CPS [Chicago Public Schools] has chosen to make most of their budget cuts on the backs of students with disabilities is unfair and incomprehensible."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:22pm
Tue Sep 1, 2015

College Student Advocates Press For MAP Funding As State Budget Impasse Continues

As Illinois enters its third month without a budget, college student advocates want state funds freed up for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

The need-based grant program helps low-income Illinois students pay for tuition at more than 130 colleges and universities in the state.

With college students gearing up for fall classes, MAP grants for up to 130,000 eligible applicants this school year are entangled in the Springfield budget standoff.

As a result, there is "a lot of confusion among students and a lot of uncertainly as to whether they'll be able to afford to return to school this fall," said Eve Rips, Midwest director at Young Invincibles, a Millennial research and advocacy group.

"These students who aren't getting MAP funding are all truly in a place where paying for college is going to be very difficult," she added.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:07pm
Fri Jul 24, 2015

Report: Higher Ed Investments Key To Closing Racial Unemployment Gap In Illinois

Young Illinois adults of color are facing significant disparities in employment, wages and educational attainment, a new report shows.

The Millennial research and advocacy group Young Invincibles put out the report, arguing that greater investments in higher education are key to closing the gaps.

"Creating more opportunities for people of color to attain higher education is a critical step towards addressing the striking disparities in employment and wages in Illinois and nationwide," Eve Rips, Midwest director of Young Invincibles, said in a statement. "With Illinois students paying some of highest tuition in the country, proposed cuts to higher education could further fuel racial disparities in education attainment."

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