Will Illinois outlaw Noble’s “secret sauce??

Feb. 13, 2012 press conference on Noble fines

According to this article by Jim Broadway in today’s Catalyst, Senator Willie Delgado passed an amendment out of the Senate Education Committee last Wednesday which would essentially outlaw the fines Noble Street Charter Network charges its students for disciplinary infractions. Here’s what the amendment says:

"Section 5. The School Code is amended by adding Section 527A-5.5 as follows:  (105 ILCS 5/27A-5.5 new)  Sec. 27A-5.5. Student discipline; fines prohibited. A charter school may not impose a fine or other financial penalty 9on a student as a disciplinary measure.

The amended bill, SB 637, passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 6-4 vote.

The recent media firestorm created by PURE, VOYCE, and the Advancement Project about Noble’s discipline policy, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it’s “secret sauce,” had a clear impact on several Senators:

Delgado explained to the committee that he knows Milkie well, respects him as an educator and is impressed by the successes. But, he said, “We just disagree about this policy.” Many constituents have complained to him about the fines, he said, and asserted that he “could have filled the hearing room” with opponents of the policy.

He also referred to recent media accounts in which students and parents decried Noble’s policy.

No public school is allowed by law to charge such fees, Delgado pointed out, and no research has generated findings that such “financial punishment” has beneficial effects.

“I don’t want to micromanage,” he added, “but we see a problem.”

Committee members Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) joined Delgado in vigorous opposition to the fines. “I have also heard many complaints,” Lightford told Milkie.

She agreed that Noble Street has achieved exceptional educational success, but “I just don’t know if [charging fines] is the right thing to do.”

….Martinez also told of hearing complaints about Noble’s fines, and she had a complaint of her own. Noble parents had called her in support of the policy after Delgado filed his amendment on March 7. These callers usually “didn’t even know what they were calling about,” Martinez said. “They just called because they were told to call. They tied up my [phone] lines.”

We’ll be working in the coming days to help Senator Delgado pass his bill.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.