CPS School Actions 2017-18: Community Meeting Statements

CPS held the first round of community meetings this week on their proposed school actions. We attended and live tweeted the following meetings: NTA, Hirsch HS colocation with a religious charter school, Ogden-Jenner merger (which was the one proposal guided and informed by the community), and Englewood HS closings (CPS plans to close the 4 neighborhood high schools in Englewood leaving a one year gap before the new high school is built which will start with only incoming freshman.)

We also created a Storify of some tweets from the two nights of community meetings. You can read our tweets from the meetings by scrolling through our Twitter page or by using these shortcuts:

RYH spoke at the NTA, Hirsch HS, and Englewood meetings. Below are two of those statements.

Find a full list of proposed school actions, transition plans, and details on the next round of community meeting at this webpage. Click on the "School Actions" tab.


Joy Clendenning, RYH Managing Director, NTA meeting

Good evening. I’m Joy Clendenning, I’m a parent of 2 CPS graduates and 2 CPS students and the managing director of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education. Raise Your Hand is here tonight to stand with the amazing students, parents, teachers, and staff of NTA. We oppose the closing of NTA, which is falsely labeled a “reassignment boundary change”.


For years, CPS has used questionable measures in their school action decisions, closing so-called “low-performing” schools based on narrow metrics of test scores or closing so-called “underutilized” schools based on a deeply flawed space utilization formula which allows 36 students in a classroom. We have objected to those standards and the lack of broad context used to analyze how a school is doing, again and again and again. But schools are forced to adapt to these narrow metrics CPS imposes on them, as they are judged, punished or rewarded.


So now CPS has decided to toss their own rules and close this high performing African-American school.


We’ve had the privilege of meeting many NTA students as they’ve come out to boldly and confidently testify, showing leadership, critical thinking, and incredible poise.


So tonight we do want to say, because we know there may be parents here from Bridgeport who are just hearing about this, we want to say to you, do not become part of these racist hunger games, because there are other solutions that need to be considered, because #BlackStudentsMatter and #WeAreAllNTA


Jennie Biggs, RYH Communications Director, Englewood meeting

I'm Jennie Biggs, a CPS Parent and the Communications Director of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, a citywide parents organization.


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 the only neighborhood high schools in Englewood, leaving NO neighborhood high school for next school year.


This plan leaves out all current students of these schools and the prospective current 8th graders who would have chosen a neighborhood high school option in Englewood.


What kind of message does this send to the families in Englewood? This has the appearance of a push out plan, not a plan that values students and families and the educational process.  


We’ve met parents and elected LSC members from Englewood schools who say they’ve had zero voice in the process of these closings and some who did not know of the one year gap with NO neighborhood high school in Englewood.


CPS needs to put a PAUSE on this action. Receiving schools, Bogan and Phillips High Schools, are 5 - 6 miles away from Harper High School. In 2013, current unelected BOE President Frank Clark said closing CPS high schools was too dangerous for students.


We understand that CPS has a number of schools with very low enrollment. This has been created & exacerbated by CPS irresponsibly opening dozens of charter- and district run- schools during declining enrollment and by NOT investing in neighborhood high schools.


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.


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