Chicago Public Schools

  • Martinez law works to protect students from sexual abuse

    Asst. Majority Leader Iris Y. MartinezSPRINGFIELD — A new law sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) will overhaul the manner in which sexual assault investigations involving students are conducted.

    Martinez passed the legislation out of the Senate this year as a bipartisan effort to address the issue of educator misconduct in classrooms across the state.

    “The importance of protecting our children is an issue we can all agree on, no matter our political party,” Martinez said. “The report released last year was shocking, and I am thankful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to work on a solution. Students should be able to feel safe at school.”

  • Munoz proposes an elected Chicago school board

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  • Hunter: NTA historic ruling a ‘powerful victory’

    hunter 112818CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has issued the following statement on the Cook County Court’s decision this week to grant an injunction preventing Chicago Public Schools from transitioning National Teachers Academy Elementary School (NTA) into a neighborhood high school:

    “This is a powerful victory for students, parents, faculty, administration and everyone in the South Loop community who fought to keep NTA open. I am inspired today by the unwavering commitment that many parents displayed to protect their children’s education.

    “This historic ruling is the result of a lot of hard work. An entire community came together to fight for NTA, and I especially commend the efforts of Niketa Brar, Elisabeth Greer, Candace Moore and all those from Local School Council and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights who advocated for what they believed in.

    “We must continue to stem the tide of disruptive school closures. We need to end the displacement that has plagued CPS throughout its recent history. I will continue to fight for equal education and for creating diverse, high-quality K-12 and high school options throughout Chicago.” 

  • Collins: “I am outraged” at planned closures of Englewood schools

    collins 022817CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Collins responded to news last week that all four of the high schools in the Englewood neighborhood are slated for closure with the following statement:

    “On behalf of the families and students of the 16th District, I am outraged that all four Englewood high schools are slated to be closed. The crisis confronting this community and these schools, Hope, Robeson, Harper and Team Englewood, is the result of the decades-long disinvestment in neighborhood schools and the proliferation of charter schools across the South and West Sides of the city.

    “When you systematically and callously undermine the foundation of public education, you close the door of opportunity for many of our most vulnerable and poor students. Now, our children, through no fault of their own, will unfairly face difficulties in safety and transportation that may prove insurmountable.”

  • Democrats reject Rauner’s empty promise of CPS funding, demand real money to fix his mistake


    SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

    “This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

  • Aquino expresses support for Noble Charter School teacher unionization

    Senator Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, expressed his support for a group of Noble Charter Schools teachers in their effort to unionize. A number of Noble staffers recently signed an open letter asking the administration not to interfere with union organizing.

    “Hundreds of families in the 2nd district are served by the seven Noble schools in the area. It is very important that the Noble Charter Schools board does not interfere with unionization efforts,” Aquino said. “Noble Charter Schools negotiates contracts with Chicago Public Schools. It seems fair to me that the teachers should be allowed to collectively bargain for a contract with their employer.”

    Last Friday, over 130 Noble Charter School teachers signed an open letter asking the administration not to interfere with unionization efforts. With 12,000 students enrolled at 17 campuses around the city, Noble is Chicago’s largest charter school network. If they organize, Noble teachers will form the largest union of charter school teachers in the country. The teachers are organizing for more job stability, better teacher retention and a greater voice in network decisions.

    “I believe that unionization is the right choice for Noble Charter Schools,” Aquino said. “When teachers are brought to the table and given a voice, the quality of education improves. Out of respect for these workers, I call on Noble Charter School Network Superintendent Michael Milkie to keep his promise and stay out of the union’s organizing efforts. I believe that every person has the right to organize with their coworkers for better working conditions.”

    If formed, the Union of Noble Educators would join Chicago ACTS Local 4343, which represents over a dozen Chicagoland charter schools. Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, State Sen. Daniel Biss and Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa have already expressed their support for the teachers’ ongoing efforts to organize.

  • Raoul continues work toward elected Chicago school board

    raoul 111716SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13) presented legislation establishing an elected Chicago school board in today’s Senate Education Committee.

    House Bill 557 passed the House in March with overwhelming bipartisan support. Over the objection of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senator Raoul pushed yesterday for the legislation to be heard in committee today.

    “The legislation at hand is far too important to not be heard,” Raoul said. “We can all agree that CPS needs reforms and the best way to reach a solution is to continue conversation.”

  • Raoul hosts meeting to discuss elected school board

    raoul 110216Parents interested in bringing an elected school board to Chicago had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns this week with State Senator Kwame Raoul, who is sponsoring such a proposal.

    Currently, the Chicago board is appointed by the mayor and many residents feel left out of the decision-making process.

    Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, is the sponsor of elected school board legislation, House Bill 557, currently pending in the Senate that previously won House approval. As the House passed it, the Chicago school board would consist of 21 members, one of which would be elected at-large.

  • Forby’s focus on Southern Illinois not on Chicago bailout

    forby bailoutBENTON — State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) said Southern Illinois schools are his top priority and that Governor Rauner is sadly mistaken if he thinks the senator supports taking over and bailing out Chicago schools.

    “Dumb idea,” said Forby. “I mean really, dumb idea. He’s laying people off, closing the Sparta shooting range and slashing our schools. Oh, but now he’s going to use our tax dollars to bail out Chicago and he thinks I’m going to help him? I don’t think so. What is he going to do next, come tell us how to run our schools in Southern Illinois too?”

    Forby’s comments come as Gov. Rauner is trying to bail out Chicago schools and is calling on downstate Democrats to help him.

  • Cullerton to City Club: School funding reform the defining crisis of our time

    Cullerton to City Club: School funding reform the defining crisis of our timeSenate President John Cullerton on Monday called Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula the defining crisis of our time and challenged Gov. Bruce Rauner to turn around Illinois by making fair funding for schools his top priority.

    Cullerton outlined the problems with Illinois’ school-funding formula during a sold-out speech at the City Club of Chicago, whose members include prominent civic, business and government leaders.

    “Our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers are tired of the bickering, tired of the impasse,” Cullerton said. “They’re looking for leaders with the courage to step beyond the status quo and do what’s right. Today I’m asking my colleagues to take that step.”

    Illinois has not updated its school funding formula since 1997. The system has resulted in striking inequities across Illinois’ school districts, rewarding wealthier communities and penalizing impoverished communities where students need more resources to succeed.

    In addition, Illinois covers barely a third of the total cost of public education, while most states cover half.

    As a result, the performance gap that divides rich and poor students, as well as students of color, ranks among the worst in the nation. Illinois is 42nd in terms of the gap in reading scores among these students, and it falls among the bottom 10 in the achievement gap between black and white students.

    Cullerton said Illinois leaders must ask themselves two questions: How much are we going to spend on education, and how are we going to spend it?

    “If the money isn’t going to help students in need, it doesn’t really matter how much we spend,” he said. “That’s why our funding formula needs to be overhauled.”

    To level the playing field among schools, Cullerton said a new funding approach must include some key principles:

    • State resources should go to school districts based on the needs of students, with more funds to support children who need extra support – those who live in poverty, have special learning needs and who are English language learners.
    • There should be a single, straightforward funding model and no more special deals for some districts.
    • The formula must account for a district’s ability to support local schools with local dollars, and accountability must follow those dollars.

    Cullerton noted that no one wants any school district to lose money. But in Illinois’ system of winning and losing school districts, there are far too many losers.

    “There’s a reason why the current school funding formula has been in place for two decades. It’s hard to change an entrenched status quo. It requires true, dedicated leadership,” Cullerton said. “The question is whether today’s leaders are up to the task.”

    Download the Senate President's City Club remarks
    Download the slides from the Senate President's presentation



  • Senate President promotes effort to stabilize Chicago schools (AUDIO)

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