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I am a CPS mother and third-generation CPS graduate. I am a former teacher, former school and district leader, current advocate for educational justice in my role at Kids First Chicago, and a Latine woman from Humboldt Park.
As the Springfield legislative session draws to a close, the clock is ticking on the delivery of district maps for the CPS School Board elections that will begin next year. Since 2021, Kids First Chicago has been working with our Elected School Board Task Force (ESBTF), composed of CPS parents, to determine parents’ priorities for the new school board. After three years and conversations with hundreds of parents, it is clear what they want: fair racial representation so that the elected board looks like and understands the student body they serve.
As Chicago transitions to a new mayoral administration that promises to shake things up, life-long advocates wonder how Chicago can address the giant chasm of accountability that has persisted for years.
For the past eight years and two mayors, environmental justice activists have been more focused on greenwashing efforts to cover up policies and actions that have deeply hurt our communities.
MAY 19, 2023
The weakness of the arguments made by those benefiting from the tax credit scheme called “Invest in Kids” can be assessed by their reliance on half-truths, misstatements of facts, and false assumptions.
MAY 15, 2023
Since 2020, the hunger crisis in Illinois has worsened, resulting in the routine exhaustion of federal funding by Illinois food banks before the end of each year. The budgetary deficits are usually unmet by private donations and federal grants. Illinois food banks are forced to ration their food supplies to pantries, reducing available food to the hungry in our state.
As one of the top growers of commercial corn and soybeans, Illinois farmers are among the most productive agricultural growers in the world. Most of our farmland (75% of our state’s total land area) is healthy, producing plentiful commodity yields generating over $20 billion a year. However, rising input costs limit profit margins for typical Illinois farmers, and it becomes difficult for farmers to donate any of their yield to the hungry. Illinois should improve our food donation system by incentivizing our farmers to donate a small portion of their crops to the hungry. We can use economics, common sense and public policy to tackle this crisis.
MAY 10, 2023
Families should have the ability to choose an excellent education for their children no matter where they live or their level of income. For this reason, it is my hope that the Illinois General Assembly extends the Tax Credit Scholarship Program as they continue to see the impact of this program for deserving children and families.
The Tax Credit Scholarship Program, made possible by the Illinois Invest in Kids Act, provides need-based scholarships to Illinois K-12 students and their families to attend the non-public school of their choice. Without this program, many hardworking families may not have the ability to select their best fit school due to financial constraints.
Kevin Artl, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois speaking alongside Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker
Illinois is the center of the nation’s transportation grid with its staggering infrastructure network of more than 147,000 miles of roadways, 7,800 bridges, nearly 10,000 miles of railroad track, 107 public and private airports, 1,095 miles of navigable waterways and a public transit system that supports 450 million trips annually. Maintaining, repairing and modernizing this network is an immense task that created challenges and called for a huge infusion of both capital resources and human capital investments.
APR 20, 2023
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson will have to address decades of environmentally racist policies that have encouraged the dirtiest industries to leave gentrified neighborhoods and set up shop in vulnerable communities of color.
He’s inheriting a legacy that has created sacrifice zones mainly in communities of color resulting from the city’s broken zoning and land use laws.
These policies have even sparked a federal civil rights investigation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and could put hundreds of millions of dollars of funding in jeopardy. The federal investigation found that the city has been violating residents’ civil rights by relocating polluting facilities from white communities into Black and Latinx areas.
The solution that the Johnson administration will have to implement must include strong protections from industry and all of the sources of pollution that have accumulated mostly in communities of color.
It’s also important to recognize that although people of color are often hit the first and hardest by pollution, these problems are not just harming the people living close to industrial facilities. Air pollution is not static, it travels far beyond its source.
Even with decades of memorable warnings and data, young people still face the same – and new – health risks from tobacco-related products
“Don’t be a butthead.” “Smoke free is the way to bee.” The “ugly truth.” It may have taken 30 years of campaigning, but high school students in Illinois have largely kicked the habit of smoking traditional cigarettes, according to the Illinois Youth Survey conducted by the University of Illinois. While smoking traditional cigarettes has declined (now at approximately 5% of high school students in the state), vapes – a type of electronic cigarette with chemical cartridges – are the number one tobacco-related product used by adolescents.
According to a recent study, the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be $580 billion every year – the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
Manufacturing has always been the backbone of Illinois. From food and electronics to pharmaceuticals and everyday essential goods, our state’s manufacturing industry has global reach, powering our economy and providing robust job opportunities for our state’s residents. In fact, according to a new economic impact report, manufacturers directly and indirectly employ nearly 30% of Illinoisans, providing real living wages that total $142 billion in annual wages and benefits.
FEB 22, 2023
For the last six years, the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) has released an annual Educator Shortage Survey that offers insights into the staffing challenges facing school districts across the state. This year’s report, released last month, showed that our school districts are still struggling to find qualified educators to fill open positions.
Of the responding districts, 79% report that they are currently experiencing a teacher shortage, with 30% of open teacher, support staff and special education positions remaining unfulfilled or underfilled by someone less than qualified for the position. This brings the total number of open positions to over 2,700. The 2023 report reflects what we hear from teachers and administrators every day: there is a need for strong, effective teachers, and students are paying the price. As a former principal, I can attest that great teachers change the lives of students; their impact cannot be overstated.