RYH Statements: CPS School Actions Hearings

Between January 25, 2018, and January 31, 2018, CPS hosted several hearings on their 2017-18 Proposed School Actions. RYH attended three hearings and spoke at them. Our statements are below. You can find a Storify from those hearings here.

 

 

National Teachers Academy (NTA) Closing Hearing, Monday, January 29, 2018

 

Joy Clendenning, J-o-y C-l-e-n-d-e-n-n-i-n-g, I’ve been a CPS parent for 16 years now, I’m a former public school teacher, I have a BA in History from Harvard and a masters in Education Policy from UIC and I am the managing director for Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, a parent advocacy group which advocates for equitable and adequate public education funding and education policies which provide quality education to all children.

 

Over the past 8 years we have worked with parents, students, and schools all over Chicago and Illinois, on issues of facilities and programs at their schools.

 

We’ve read and analyzed the various criteria year after year, the various formulae applied.

 

Our conclusion: Without a robust, authentic community engagement process that creates a real, comprehensive, city-wide facilities plan, CPS should put a hold on closing and opening schools.

 

Speaking specifically to the case of NTA, your honor, this proposal should not move forward because:

 

This is NOT a community-developed and community-supported proposal. Therefore it should not move forward, it does not meet the criteria.

 

This proposal is not in the best interest of the students. NTA students are at a wonderful school which meets their needs and they are doing well! Moving them is not in their best interest.

 

You have the chance to make the right and just recommendation, your honor. Tell CPS that this school action should not move forward.

 

Closing all neighborhood high schools in Englewood Hearing, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

 

Joy Clendenning, J-o-y C-l-e-n-d-e-n-n-i-n-g, I am honored and humbled to be here with the Englewood community. I’ve been a CPS parent for 16 years now, I’m a former public school teacher, I have a BA in History from Harvard and a masters in Education Policy from UIC and I am the managing director for Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, a parent advocacy group which advocates for equitable and adequate public education funding and education policies which provide quality education to all children.

 

Over the past 8 years we have worked with parents, students, and schools regarding issues of facilities and programs at their schools, all over Chicago.

 

We’ve read and analyzed the various criteria year after year, the various formulae applied and the legal code.

 

Our conclusion: Without a robust, authentic community engagement process that creates a real, comprehensive, city-wide facilities plan, CPS should put a hold on closing and opening schools. CPS should use the resources dedicated to displacement and instead invest in existing schools.

 

Raise Your Hand stands with the students, parents, communities, and educators of Harper, Hope, Robeson, and Team Englewood high schools in opposing this plan to close all of the neighborhood high schools in Englewood, leaving NO neighborhood high school for next year. This plan leaves out all of the current students at these schools and the current 8th graders Englewood -- none of them will have a neighborhood high school in Englewood next year. This is not in the best interest of the students.

 

Speaking specifically to this proposal, your honor,it should not move forward because this proposal does not meet the criteria of coming from the community and does not meet the criteria of being in the best interest of the students.

 

Your honor, you have the chance to make the right and just recommendation, your honor. Tell CPS that this school action should not move forward.

 

Colocation of Hirsch HS with a newly approved, controversial charter school, Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Good evening, I am Deb Hass, D-E-B  H-A-S-S, CPS parent, Kenwood HS volunteer, member of the 2016 Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) that reviewed the original co-location and charter proposal. I have a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago

 

I am a board member of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, a parent advocacy group that advocates for equitable and adequate public education funding and education policies that provide quality education to all children.

 

Raise Your Hand stands with the Hirsch community and opposes the proposal to co-locate a charter school in their building.

 

Without a robust, authentic community engagement process that creates a real, comprehensive, city-wide facilities plan, CPS should put a hold on closing and opening schools.

 

Speaking specifically  to Hirsch, your honor, we point out that the proposal does not meet criteria of coming from and having the support of the community nor does it meet the criteria of being in the best interest of the students.

 

In the proposal to open AIM, New Life provided weak evidence of community support -- often letting New Life’s congregation -- many of whom may live outside the area and come in on Sunday to attend church  -- stand in for the Grand Crossing and school communities. Neither the state senator nor the state rep for the district have supported the proposal.

 

This begs the question, “What (or whom) exactly constitutes ‘the community?’” This is the third consecutive night when we have seen that CPS is so lacking in a clear, consistent definition of community that it cannot legitimately take action.

And, excerpts from the Illinois General Assembly’s Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, dated October, 2015 indicate

 

  • “Co-Locations are complicated and costly…[and] too little is known, understood, and disclosed about the student outcomes …”
  • public comments draw attention to management issues, problems with use of shared space, inequitable investments, and lack of planning or transparent procedures for equitable use of the space, to name a few.

 

Such problems are not in the best interest of Hirsch students who will also face constraints on access to their own gym and performing and visual arts facilities.

 

Co-location is really closure by a thousand cuts.

 

CPS has no obligation to provide charter schools with their preferred space. New Life already has other space to use for AIM. CPS should focus on a robust, authentic community process before decisions are made for Hirsch and its students.

 

Your honor, you have the chance to make the right and just recommendation in this case. Tell CPS that this proposed school action should not move forward.









This is the third consecutive evening in this space where people will claim to be from “the community.” In fact, I’m from one of the communities, Hyde Park, that New Life - AIM says it will attract students from. Yet our CAC, which frequently meets at Dyett High School, a CPS-run arts high school on the south side, was not consulted about this proposal or what effect having 7th-12 graders leave for AIM might have on our schools, especially our elementary schools, several of which only recently re-added 7th and 8th grades after the mass school closings of 2012-13 shut down our neighborhood middle school. Hirsch community members have already raised concerns they may be prevented for free and open access to their own building -- especially, the gym and performing and visual arts spaces. There will also likely be  disruptions to learning caused by differing bell schedules, offerings, and discipline policies. A co-location would impede Hirsch’s ability to strengthen recruitment and promote signature programming it would like to create around a First Responders curriculum.

 

When New Life and Distinctive Schools control the space, it will no longer be a true community space. It will be privately operated with no obligation to open for the purposes the Greater Grand Crossing community decides. Neighborhood schools should provide comfortable learning and civic engagement spaces for all.



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