Chris invites you to Grow With Us!

I became involved with Raise Your Hand in early 2012 when CPS pushed for a longer school day (7.5 hours was the proposal). I was appalled at CPS's misrepresentation of education research on school-day duration. No serious education researcher claimed that simply making the day longer would help students learn better in any meaningful way. Raise Your Hand members were asking the right questions and  advocating for better funding for more modest and more sensible changes. I signed up to help. I was disappointed with the resulting 7-hour day, but had learned to be intensely skeptical of CPS's claims.


Then in later 2012 came CPS's effort to close schools that were under-enrolled. My daughter's school was on the initial list (and later dropped). But knowing her school and looking at the "utilization" formula, once more it was clear that CPS was pushing bad and misleading data. But now the stakes were much higher: schools would be closed  and thousands of children's lives disrupted, mostly in predominantly black neighborhoods. Raise Your Hand stepped up to work with activists in those neighborhoods, and I volunteered to help as I could challenging CPS's rationales. Again, I was struck at how CPS would rely on shallow evidence and weak planning to promote policies with high, and probably deleterious consequences for affected students. What I admired about RYH was that the motivation for the volunteers was not "What does this mean for my child?" or "How does this affect my school?" but "What does this mean for our children?" and "How does this affect our schools?" The people in RYH had a principled commitment to the collective well-being and common justice. 

The list of crises and fires went on. And RYH was there to help. What RYH provides is hope -- that by working together for a common good we can make education better for all. This is hard work. We all want our own children to succeed but public education is about all of our children succeeding. And that's what RYH has never lost sight of. That's why it deserves our support.

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Christopher Ball 211sc

Christopher Ball