The Illinois PTA is proud to announce a new partnership with the Illinois School News Service.
The School news services has been reporting on educational issues at the State Capital since 1995. The Illinois PTA has worked with the ISNS for several years on various projects and receive their newsletters. This partnership gives the Illinois PTA custom written updates from Mr. Broadway through the balance of this session. We think you will enjoy his writing and will learn a lot in the process.
Below is the first Illinois PTA Edition of the Illinois School News Service.
January 16, 2013
Road just keeps on getting cans kicked down it By Jim Broadway, Publisher, State School News Service
Considering how it was promoted, the January 2-8 "lame duck" session was lame indeed. No pension reform. No expanded gambling. No medical marijuana. No same-sex marriage. Illinois senators and representatives might just as well have stayed home. It's not as if they avoided having to deal with all those topics. No, they just pushed them onto a 2013 session agenda that already includes the requirement that they balance the FY 2014 state budget even as they locate $1 billion to fund the state-administered pensions.
So they must be, as President Obama so often says, "fired up and ready to go," right? Well, not exactly. They were formally sworn into the new 98th General Assembly last week, which led to a lot of partying. So they decided to take the rest of the month off. But here I go evoking cynicism again. My bad.
The fact is, we have 118 members of the Illinois House and 59 of the Senate - about 20% of whom are new to their legislative chambers - and they face some huge challenges, some truly heavy lifting, between now and the end of May when the session is adjourned. Will public education be affected? Oh, yeah. Between now and the expiration of the 98th General Assembly two years hence, about 10,000 bills (proposals to change the law) will be filed. You can bet 400 or more of them will tinker with the School Code in many ways.
Want some examples? Naarah Patton, who wrote for SSNS publications a few years ago, has agreed to cover the policy process for us again this spring. She's already interviewed legislators who filed School Code bills right out of the box. Here's Naarah's report:
It's still early in the 98th General Assembly, but some education legislation has already been filed.
Funding by Lottery: Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) filed HB 76, which would use Illinois Lottery revenue to fund "School Choice Scholarships" - the current euphemism for vouchers. Ford said this is a fair way to put Lottery revenue back in the neighborhoods from which it comes. "We know that there is revenue from the Lottery," he said, "and a majority of that comes from certain zip codes. Those are the same ones in which schools are struggling or failing."
A great deal of research suggests that low-income earners are more likely to play the lottery than middle- or high-income earners. In a way, Ford's observation supports the hypothesis that out-of-school factors associated with poverty make it more difficult for students to succeed in school. But would vouchers put students in private schools that are better equipped than public schools to address those factors? That seems highly questionable.
Another bill filed by Ford, HB 78creates a special Lottery scratch-off game to generate revenue for after-school programs. He noted that there are already games to benefit such causes as HIV/AIDS victims and veterans and said his bill should help school districts that have been forced to cut their budgets without raising taxes. "People can choose to play or not to play the lottery."
Student privacy and health: HB 64, Ford said, would protect students' privacy by prohibiting schools from asking students for the passwords to their social media accounts. The bill would merely extend to students the protection enacted in similar legislation last year to prohibit employers from demanding employees' passwords, he said.
Also filed by Ford, HB 77, prohibits schools from serving foods that contain trans fat. "This is a well-known artificial ingredient that is proven to be a poisonous additive," he said. "We shouldn't be feeding it to students."
Grade retention: Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) filed HB 16 to allow school boards to create commissions to review teachers' decisions to retain students in grade. She said she got the idea when she saw ISBE data and realized that thousands of children are held back in school each year. "No child is sent to school to fail," she said, and "we need to ask, what is the problem, [why are] so many children are failing?"
The bill would allow a review committee to prevent a student from being retained in if the student's inability to pass was due to "inadequate instruction, resources, or facilities provided to the school district or due to the student having an undiagnosed learning disability."
Flowers said that simply holding a student back doesn't address the issues that prevent a student from succeeding, and she wants this bill to redirect attention to the various barriers to student success. Bills you'll recognize: Flowers is also trying to revive a few bills she couldn't get previous General Assemblies to pass. HB 15 would require Chicago Public Schools to pilot a three-year program requiring all student athletes to have an EKG as part of their health exams. The bill also requires ISBE to post information about sudden cardiac arrest on the state agency's websites, and it prevents students exhibiting the warning signs of cardiac arrest from participating in sports until they've been cleared to do so by a medical professional. Flowers said this is the fifth or sixth year that she has filed such a bill. Years ago, she explained, quite a few student athletes had heart attacks while playing basketball and their parents said "if only they had known" their children had heart conditions, these deaths could have been prevented. The bill faltered previously because districts objected to the cost of an IKG for every student athlete, and many of the parents can't afford it either. Another old proposal Rep. Flowers wants to revive is HB 17, urging school boards to allow students to wash their hands. She says that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing students to wash their hands could limit or eliminate outbreaks of diseases such as MRSA.
Thanks, Naarah. Now readers, we can't promise to cover every statutory whim that finds its way onto the legislative agenda in full detail. You wouldn't want us to. But you'll get the gist of every bill affecting our schools, and we'll cover the high priorities like a blanket. By the end of May you'll know what the legislators tried to do to our schools, in what ways they succeeded, and in most cases you'll learn why they did it (the real why, not just what they said was why). Along the way, you'll learn how the legislative process is conducted. Why would you want to know about the process? Well, a basic tenet of democracy is that "the people" get to have a say about what their elected policymakers are up to. You might want to have your say - but whom do you contact? And when? And by what means? For example, you might have a negative opinion about Mary Flowers' EKG mandate bill. Whom do you contact? You can reach out to Mary, of course, but (as you will learn) she never backs down. Your initial contact will have to be with other members of the House. Which members? You don't want to fire off a memo to all 118 of them. No, you want to wait until you find out which House committee will "hear" (take testimony on) Mary's bill. But the committees have not been appointed yet. Just wait a while. We'll let you know. That, of course, is the point. We'll let you know what's going on at every step along the way. The biennium of the 98th General Assembly will be analyzed as it unfolds, like a two-year civics course - except that the action is in real time and you get a chance to influence it. We'll do some of that analysis while the legislators are resting from their recent parties.
To comment, click this link. Call for Resolutions! The Resolution deadline has been extended to February 4,2013. You still have time to make a difference and call for action: just click here for more information!
Questions? Contact Resolutions Director, Lisa Garbaty at email@example.com http://www.illinoispta.org/resolutions.html Illinois PTA P O Box 907 Springfield, Illinois 62705-0907 www.illinoispta.org
DON’T MISS THE ROADTRIP OF A LIFETIME! REGISTRATION STILL
Register by December 1st to be entered into a drawing to have first choice of any activity appointment. Click the link here for the registration form. Completed forms with payment can be turned into the Senior House, Metea Valley Front Office or mailed to the SRT registration coordinator (see registration form for address).
The “Road Trip” is a late night lock-in at MVHS on April 22, 2017 from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am and is hosted by the MVHS Class of 2017 parents and the PTSA. The ticket price is ALL-INCLUSIVE, and here is just a sample of what is included:
- All night “Taste of Chicago” Food Court – Yes! Free Food All Night!
- Spa Area with Hair and Nail technicians
- Tournaments - Double/Single Ping Pong, Doubles Badminton, Doubles Bags. All are single elimination tournaments with cash prizes to the winners.
- Caricature Artists
- Palm readers
- Hypnotist Show
- Carnival Games, Inflatables, Ping Pong, Badminton and Bags Tournaments
- Raffles & Prizes (raffle tickets are INCLUDED in your ticket price too!)
- And MUCH MORE!
- Follow updates on Twitter @MVHSSRT2017
Senior Road Trip Permission Form
Register your student; the cost of SRT has been slashed to $50. If you have any financial concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to your student's counselor.
Parents and MV Alumni: We could use your help setting up the evening of Friday, April 21st and for the event on Saturday, April 22. Stay tuned for sign up link or contact us at email@example.com. We hope you'll join in the fun!
Tear Down: It is also a tradition that Junior parents help clean up on the Sunday after SRT. Below is the link for volunteer opportunities on Sunday, April 23th. Keep in mind that any Metea parent can volunteer!
Donations are a great way to help out. Throughout the year, the SRT Donations Committee will be collecting items to be used as for:
- Raffle Prizes - Prom items, College bound items, Dorm room essentials, linens, desktop items, closet/storage accessories, GIFT CARDS to any retailers.
- Game and Tournament Prizes – Candy,small value gift cards, pens, notepads, etc.
- Cash Donations
- Corporate Donations – Corporate Sponsors will be advertised on posters at the event and other SRT Materials.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have anything you’d like to donate.
We would like to thank everyone for their help in assisting the class of 2017 have an awesome SRT!