Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: June 26 – July 1, 2021

‘I Leave Feeling Proud Of All We Accomplished Together:’ Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson Issues Farewell Statement As She Steps Down

By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

“Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Dr. Janice Jackson issued a farewell message Wednesday as she steps down from her role at the end of the day. Jackson announced on May 3 is stepping down from CPS after her contract expires Wednesday. Her farewell message was as follows: “After 22 incredible years, today I end my journey as a leader and educator with Chicago Public Schools. Of course as many of you know, my time at CPS stretches back even further, to the day I first entered Cook Elementary as a student in Head Start. “Each time I visit one of our schools, I see my former self reflected there. I am there in the faces of our students, who come to school eager to learn and ready for someone to see and unlock their potential. I am there in the eyes of our parents, whose dedication and passion make our schools true pillars of community. And I am there in our teachers and school leaders, who devote so much of their time, talent, and treasure to uplifting the students of Chicago and helping them chart their own unique path to success.”

José Torres poised to take over as interim Chicago schools CEO on an open-ended contract

By Mila Koumpilova for Chalkbeat

“Chicago will pay its interim schools chief $335,000 a year and chip in for his moving and housing expenses under an open-ended contract that either side can terminate at any time. José Torres, a veteran education leader and former Elgin superintendent, is poised to step in to lead the country’s third largest district Thursday as it seeks a permanent replacement for outgoing schools chief Janice Jackson. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has stressed that Torres is not in the running for the permanent position. Jackson’s salary was $300,000 after she received a $40,000 raise last winter. Torres has said he will focus on safely reopening campuses for full-time in-person learning this fall and reconnecting with students and families who disengaged from school during the pandemic. He will oversee the early implementation of the new “Moving Forward Together” plan to recover from the coronavirus disruption, funded with more than half a billion in federal stimulus dollars.”

Lightfoot, lawmakers hold ‘robust’ but ‘cordial’ meeting on elected school board bill Pritzker is on verge of signing

By Rachel Hinton for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Oversight of Chicago’s public schools could soon see its most significant shift in decades after a Thursday morning meeting between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a group of legislators who passed a bill creating an elected Chicago school board. Setting up a major check on mayoral power over city schools, the measure is now likely to head to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk “in the coming days.” “This is obviously something that we’ve never done before,” said state Rep. Kam Buckner, one of the Chicago Democrats who met with Lightfoot. “This is brand new, and new things are scary.” State Rep. Delia Ramirez said in a tweet that she and the small group of legislators met with the mayor Thursday morning to discuss a “trailer” bill, or follow-up legislation, related to the elected school board issue. The additional measures may be taken up during the General Assembly’s fall veto session.”

State bill and new scholarship provide more support for immigrant students in Illinois

By Stephanie Casanova for The Chicago Tribune

“Immigrant college students in Illinois will likely have additional resources to help them navigate school next year thanks to a new state bill and a new scholarship fund. A bill awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature would require all college campuses to “designate an undocumented student resource liaison” by the 2022-23 school year to help immigrants and students living in the country illegally access financial aid and other resources to get their degree. Western Illinois University will also offer a scholarship fund for immigrants. Miguel Molina-Ventura, district director for Rep. Maura Hirschauer, who introduced the bill in the House, said he struggled to find resources to pay for college and spent six years working toward his bachelor’s degree. When he was a student, he worked 40 hours a week, sometimes more to pay tuition, he said.”