RYH in Sun Times 10/14: City Needs Real Debate on How to use Longer School Day

For months we’ve heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel compare our public schools with those in Houston, expressing outrage that kids in Chicago have spent three to four fewer years in school by the time they graduate. Continue reading

Tuesday, 9/27 Meeting on the Longer Day at Coonley Elementary

Interested in the longer day issue? This is an opportunity to get an update about our participation  in the CPS Longer Day Task Force. Come meet other  parents from many different schools and share your opinions and concerns about extending the day at CPS. Hear from Alderman Ameya Pawar on his plan to invest money  into the schools in his ward. Follow up with a cocktail summit at Gannon's Pub. Location: Coonley Elementary 4046 N. Leavitt Date: Tuesday, 9/27 Time: 6:30pm Guest Speaker: Alderman Ameya Pawar

Summary of Fall Membership Meeting at Coonley

As many of you know, Raise Your Hand hosted a meeting on Tuesday, September 27th at Coonley School to discuss the issue of extending the CPS school day.  Approximately 130 audience members – primarily  parents and teachers, heard from Raise Your Hand members as well as comments from Alderman Ameya Pawar (47thWard) and representatives from CPS and the CTU.  During the meeting, RYH shared the results of its informal survey focused on extending length of the CPS school day. As of last week, 68% of respondents were receptive to a longer day but 83% preferred a day that did not exceed 7 hours. Qualitative comments reflected that respondents felt quality trumped quantity in terms of how the day is spent. Continue reading

What's the deal with CPS and the extended day?

There’s been a lot of talk in the media of late about extending the day at CPS, and a lot of confusion amongst parents on the when, what and how of this endeavor.  Although currently these questions remain unanswered, CPS has assembled a task force to flesh out the details. We are very pleased to be included on this task force to help shape how the day will be lengthened for next school year, 2012/2013, with Patricia O’Keefe of RYH representing our group. Continue reading

Update on Longer Day Task Force: Take Our Quick Survey Now

There is currently a lot of talk and public focus on a longer school day.  Five schools agreed to move to a 7.5 hour student day in the past week. RYH attended the first Longer School Day Advisory Committee meeting on September 6th.  Below are some key points from the meeting. Continue reading

The Day is Getting Longer for 3 CPS Schools This Year

There’s a lot of buzz about the latest move by CPS to offer 3 CPS schools  (Skinner North, STEM and Melody) $150k/$75k and a 2% bonus to teachers for moving to a 7.5 hour school day. Most of our schools are 5hours45 minutes so that’s an increase of 105 minutes for some schools. What do you think? We are interested to hear from our members on this.  What are your thoughts and concerns? Is this a OSFA (one size doesn’t fit all) issue in terms of the right amount of the extension of the day for our schools? Or, is there a certain length of time that would work for all of our schools? Continue reading

August Press Coverage

It’s been a busy few weeks for our group. We’ve been out advocating on a few different issues and have received a fair amount of press coverage for our efforts on the budget and recess. On TIF and the Budget:CPS is raising property taxes at a time when we have over $850 million in unallocated tif funds. That’s property tax money that has been diverted over the years from CPS and other taxing bodies.  We question why some of this isn’t going back to the schools. Continue reading

Action Alert: Let's Make Recess Happen

Dear Raise Your Hand Members, On Tuesday night, CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard announced on Chicago Public Radio WBEZ that all elementary schools will have recess for school year 2012/2013. "...by next fall, all schools - all elementary schools in the city - will have recess," Brizard stated on a WBEZ call-in program. Continue reading

Notes on Our Meeting with Jean-Claude Brizard

“We want to see you succeed." That's how the Raise Your Hand steering committee closed our first meeting with Jean-Claude Brizard. Mr. Brizard was personable, welcomed being challenged and stated intentions to increase the state funding formula, improve neighborhood schools and offer schools more "bounded autonomy." Raise Your Hand urged the new CEO be inclusive and facilitative in CPS decision-making processes and flexible in implementation. Mr. Brizard himself noted that solutions are not "one size fits all."In 90 minutes we were not able to dive into all of the specifics of what's on the horizon at CPS and our policy platform and priorities. Notably, two RYH members were invited to be members of a task force looking at a longer school day. Patricia O’Keefe and Sonia Kwon of RYH volunteered to be on this task force. Below are what we think were the top points. We look forward to your input: Continue reading

Grown Ups: Work it out for the Kids

In case you haven’t seen the news in a few days, there’s a big battle over teacher raises right now between the CPS board and the Chicago Teachers Union. While everyone knows that times are bad, we think that CPS should do a better job of explaining their deficit numbers to the CTU and the public in general. Continue reading