floor augustSPRINGFIELD – A 2012 study found that Illinois suspends more African-American students than any other state in the U.S., including a Black-White suspension disparity that is the highest in the country. To address this all-too-apparent problem and the overall frequency of out-of-school discipline, a new law will help to ensure that all students are in school and off the streets as much as possible

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“Constantly suspending and expelling the very kids that need to be in school is one of the most counter-productive practices of our education system,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, sponsor of the successful legislation. “We need to keep young people in school learning how to succeed and off of the street corner learning how best to end up in prison.”


The new law will address the frequency and racial disparity of suspensions and expulsions in several ways, including the following:
• Disciplinary removals of longer than three days must be limited to instances where the student’s presence is an on-going threat to the school, and all other options have been exhausted.
• A school board must state how a suspension and expulsion is in the best interest of a school before disciplinary action.
• School districts must establish re-engagement policies for disciplined students.
• Suspended students must be given the opportunity to make up their work.
• School officials must limit suspensions and expulsions to the greatest extent practicable.


Original research into state records has shown that in the 2010-2011 school year, Illinois students lost 1,117,453 instructional days due to disciplinary actions, 95 percent of which were for minor offenses.


“Illinois’ highest-need students are dropping out of school or ending up in the criminal justice system - at an enormous cost to Illinois taxpayers - for incidents that could have and should have been addressed within the school environment,” said Sen. Lightford. “Expulsions and suspensions will now only be a last resort. This is a great victory for everyone in Illinois and all those children who hold out hope for their future in what has seemed, at times, like an elusive dream of a great education.”


The law goes into effect September 15, 2016.

Category: News

CTA Announces Free Rides for Students on the First Day of School
CTA Board approves fifth year of Mayor Emanuel’s program to provide free CTA rides to students to encourage attendance on the first day of school

The CTA Board today agreed to allow students to ride CTA buses and trains for free on the first day of school in what is the fifth year of Mayor Emanuel’s “First Day, Free Rides” program begun in 2011. The purpose of the program is to encourage attendance on the first day of school, which is linked to higher attendance rates throughout the school year.]

On Tuesday, September 8, which is the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools, students and adults accompanying them will ride for free from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

“Affordable, reliable public transportation plays an important role in helping to ensure that our city’s students get the opportunity for a strong education,” said CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. “This program has become a tradition in promoting school attendance and in helping students get to school safely and on time from Day One, and we are proud to support Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to encourage attendance on the first day.”

Last year, CTA provided more than 120,000 free student rides on the first day of school and provided about 28 million reduced student rides throughout the academic year.

CTA again this year will continue to offer deeply discounted student fares of just 75 cents to students who are enrolled in school while school is in session Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Two years ago, Mayor Emanuel and the CTA lowered student fares by 10 cents to 75 cents to make transit even more affordable during school hours. Beyond school hours, elementary students ages 7-11 pay reduced fares of $1 on the bus and $1.10 on rail and individuals 12 and older pay full fares. 


Apply Now: CNDA applications due September 10th

The 22nd Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards will recognize outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development, community engagement, neighborhood planning, and building stronger and healthier communities.

Award opportunities include:
The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project
The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award
The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award
The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design

The Awards have long recognized best practices in community design, landscape design and architecture.

Monetary awards will be presented to winners, who will be announced and honored on February 18, 2016 at the Chicago Hilton.
To apply online or for more details on the awards, click here.


APPLICATIONS ARE DUE ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2015.

 

Category: News

wvon microphoneSenator Lightford sat down with WVON (1690 AM) in Chicago to give a commentary on the current state of education in Chicago and around Illinois, while calling for all sides of state government to come together prioritizing our children’s future over political gamesmanship.


Click here to listen to her comments.

 

Category: News

lightford presenting 4 15On Wednesday night, Senator Lightford stood with her Senate colleagues and, despite the governor's recommendation, voted for Senate Bill 2043, which will uphold MAP grant funding, giving over 125,000 collegiate students and their families the help they need to pay tuition and stay in school.


Senator Lightford voted in favor of other veto overrides, such as Senate Bill 2042 - legislation allowing for the use of federal dollars to fund disaster relief, job training programs, domestic violence victims assistance and more. She also rose in support of Senate Bill 51 - which provides for the continued research and development of renewable energies and expands the YouthBuild program for young low-income young people to learn construction skills.


You can listen to the senators’ comments on the Senate floor on MAP funding and importance of a college education below.

Category: News

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