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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 5, 2014

Social Service Advocates Warn Of 'Significant' Cuts In Flat Illinois Budget

Child welfare and human services advocates say the the $35.7 billion 'flat' budget approved last week by the Illinois General Assembly includes significant cuts to critical programs.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Mar 26, 2014

Breaking Down Quinn's State Budget Address

During his state budget address Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn said he wants to keep in place Illinois' temporary income tax hike that is set to expire in January. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the governor's proposal and offers some expert reaction to Quinn's election-year budget speech.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Feb 28, 2014

Chicago's Drummond Elementary School Teachers Announce Plans To Boycott ISAT

A group of teachers at Thomas Drummond Elementary School in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood have decided to boycott the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), which is scheduled to be administered next week.

Drummond, a magnet montessori school, is now the second public school in the city where teachers have decided to boycott the two-week test, to be administered Monday through March 14. Earlier this week, teachers at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy announced they would not be administering the ISAT, which is taken by third through eighth graders.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jan 29, 2014

Breaking Down Quinn's State Of The State Address

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s “State of the State” speech Wednesday afternoon zeroed in on job creation, a new early childhood education initiative and efforts to boost small businesses and rebuild the middle class, including a renewed push to raise the state's minimum wage. Progress Illinois takes a look at some of the highlights from the speech.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Nov 4, 2013

CPS Students Dress Like Zombies, Protest The 'Death Of Public Education' (VIDEO)

Excessive testing is taking the life out of education, according to a group of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who dressed like zombies and marched from the district’s headquarters in Chicago to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at city hall Friday evening.

Calling themselves “the learning dead,” the students, organized by the Chicago Student Union (CSO), protested the “death of Chicago’s public education system.”

While proponents of standardized testing say it helps to close the achievement gap, roughly a dozen students claimed on Friday that high-stakes testing takes up valuable instruction time and negatively impacts student learning.

“I love to learn, but because education officials put so much emphasis on standardized testing — they use it to measure school success, measure teacher success, measure student success — teachers are forced to teach to the test and that really limits what we can do in the classroom,” said Charlie Murphy, 16, a junior at Lane Technical College Prep High School and member of the CSO.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Mar 20, 2013

CTU President, Education Justice Advocates Slam High-Stakes Student Testing

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, students and other advocates for educational justice blasted high-stakes student testing at a community forum last night, calling it yet another battle in the war on public education.

Proponents of standardized testing say it helps to close the achievement gap, but Lewis said the objective is “to rank and sort.”

“What do these tests do?” Lewis asked the crowd at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. “They answer one simple thing. Who are the winners and the losers ... but who made the rules to the game?”

“The winners are telling the losers these tests will tell you what you really know. These tests will tell you the value that a teacher adds to your child. These winners are telling the losers that if you don’t do well on these tests, you have no future.”