Allow students to attend better and safer schools in Illinois

Allow students to attend better and safer schools in Illinois

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Petition to
Governor JB Pritzker and

Why this petition matters

Started by Elijah Robinson

This petition has a single goal: Allow students attending academically underperforming schools to transfer to a new public school, even outside their assigned district. This will allow students to go to schools where they are learning. This will allow them to thrive. 

Article X of the Illinois Constitution says, "A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities. The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services." 

Unfortunately, in our state, we do not have many "high quality" schools. There are horribly underperforming schools. There are schools where you have to go through a metal detector every day because it is dangerous. This is unacceptable. Illinois is home to many schools which do not serve their students. Due to this, I call on the state of Illinois to implement a policy of school choice. 

Proviso West High School, the high school I attended, reports that only 10% of students meet basic English requirements, and only 5% meet math requirements. Proviso West High School has failed its students. There is no reason that only 10% of teens can barely meet the absolute minimum requirements. Furthermore, if you Google "Proviso West", you will see that it made headlines because an off-duty security guard attacked a student for no reason. Proviso has also made the news for teacher strikes due to inadequate support from the district administration. Here is a list of things that Proviso is unable to provide for its students. 

1: Working sinks

2: Usable bathroom stalls

3: Flushing urinals

4: Flushing toilets

5: Safe and easy passage to class (we are forced to spend 20 minutes in a metal detector line)

6: Adequate security: The Metal detector is useless because a student snuck in a knife while going through the line

7: Respectful security guards: Security guards are rude and make racist comments about the Hispanic students

8: A safe school: Fights occur constantly

9: Caring security guards: Security guards do nothing to stop fights

10: Safe hallways: Students do not feel safe walking through the building.

11: A way to stop pervasive bullying culture

12: A drug-safe school 

13: Caring counselors: My college transcripts were intentionally tampered with in order to lower my chances of getting into a good college

14: Counselors carelessly sent colleges the incorrect transcript

15: A Caring administration: Took the school 2 weeks to provide us a laptop

16: An IT Team: Tech support is non existent. I could not login to my computer for days since Proviso did not have a single IT technician.

17: Caring teachers: We learn nothing in our honors and AP courses; Teachers would mock me and other students who asked for help, and, I Received a bad grade because I submitted an assignment incorrectly, even though I asked for help and didn't get it

18: Caring students: Half of the class time is spent trying to get the students to calm down

19: Responsible security guards: A student was assaulted by a security guard

20: Safety regarding COVID: COVID rules are non existent

21: Available counselors: Counselors are rarely available and whenever any student tries to talk to them, other students run into the office and force us out

22: Racism: A teacher said I couldn't succeed in her AP Spanish class because I was black

23: Student support: I was prevented from attending AP and honors classes because the school claimed I could not succeed in them (even though my previous teachers recommended me for those courses)

I attend Proviso. It has destroyed my mental health. I, along with countless other students, feel we are not prepared for college. The list of grievances goes beyond twenty-three, but these are by far the most egregious. 

This is unacceptable. Therefore, I urge the state and anyone willing to listen to make a change. Illinois needs to expand its policy for school choice. Florida, for example, allows students to attend a new school in a different district if their old school is "persistently dangerous" and academically underperforming. In fact, forty-six states have some form of school choice, which this petition advocates for. Some states that have open enrollment are Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Minnesota, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont. 

Illinois is one of the four states in the entire country which does not have school choice, even for bad schools.

All parents want their children to succeed. However, some school districts do not want their students to succeed. I plead for a change. Please, allow students such as myself to leave Proviso West High School, so we can attend a school that is safe. We have the right to an education. We have a right to feel safe in schools. We have a right to a quality education. If any school cannot provide both of these qualities to a student, the state must change the laws so that students can be better served outside the district, regardless of the area in which they live.  Other states such as Florida, have enacted this exact law, and it has worked flawlessly for the last decade. It's time for Illinois to join the rest of the country in serving in giving its student a high quality education.

Illinois can follow Florida's example. Florida allows students to attend any school in the state, as long as the students are not subject to suspension or expulsion proceedings. They also allow students to attend schools where their parents work. This means that low-income families can send their children to great high schools, which can end the generational curse regarding poverty. Next, transportation will not be a responsibility of the school. This ensures that the student attending school out-of-district will not result in the changing of bus schedules for their school. However, students can still rise the buses on the buses' normal assigned routes. No remapping of bus routes will be needed. As long as the school has space, no student from underachieving schools can be denied the ability to transfer out-of-district to a higher level school.

Give young people in the state of Illinois a chance to succeed and rise up in life.

598 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!