Apples 2 Apples - Read all about it

Jeanne Marie Olson has been blogging about her work with Apples 2 Apples. We thank her, Josh Kalov and everyone else who has been contributing to this important project. http://cpsapples2apples.wordpress.com/ It's refreshing to get data about our schools that goes well beyond test scores.

On Space Utilization and the Narrative of Right-Sizing the District

CPS is planning to close a very large number of schools this year. They claim that they have 140 schools that are half-empty. Luckily, we have a very dedicated parent working with us, Jeanne Marie Olson, who has analyzed the way CPS determines their numbers and has found that they use a formula that works to both exaggerate underutilization and underreport overcrowding. You can have 36 students in every homeroom in your building and still be considered “efficient” under this formula. You can have a full building with 24 kids in almost all homerooms and 23 students in one and be “underutilized.” Continue reading

Guest post from Pete Leki on School Closings and the Commission on School Utilization Meetings

Pete Leki started the ecology program at Waters elementary and Chaired the first Local School Council there. Much has been said lately about the determination of the CPS to close down "100 schools" because of under-utilization.  Under-utilization.  Another word borrowed from the business-model lexicon. It is as though local public schools were equivalent to MacDonald's or Dunkin Donuts.  Business dwindling? Shut it down and move. Continue reading

11/29 Culture of Testing Forum Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who came out on Thursday night to our forum.  There was a lot to tackle and our main goal was to start a more public and open discussion about the amount/utility and impact of standardized testing in our schools. Thanks to Tim Furman for recording the event.  You can watch parts of it here: http://www.schooltechconnect.com/ The Washington Post covered it via Tim’s blog: Continue reading

Out of the mouths of parents

Below is a letter that one of Raise Your Hand's parent leaders sent to all of her representatives in Springfield (including the Governor and Lt. Governor) about her frustration with Chicago education leadership and opposition to more harmful policies coming down the pike. She also shared with members of the education committee:repberrios39@gmail.com,RepDistrict3@gmail.com,burkedj2@ilga.gov,eacevedo@hds.ilga.gov, ILhouse51@sbcglobal.net,robertbobrita@aol.com,lyonsjm@ilga.gov,dan@rep-danbrady.com, rep.bost@hotmail.com, Mike@miketryon.com. Continue reading

Recap of 11/20 City Council Hearing on School Actions

RYH attended the Chicago City Council hearing called by 34 aldermen who comprise the Education Committee regarding school actions on Tuesday, November 20th.  A state law was passed in 2009 that says CPS has to announce potential school actions (closings, phase-outs, turn-arounds) by December 1st to give families enough time to plan to apply for other schools if their school is going to be closed. Continue reading

Elected School Board Referendum Results by Ward/Precinct

Attached is a list where you can see how each precinct voted on the elected school board referendum. Make sure to inform your state reps and alderman about these results! If you are in favor of an elected school board, tell them so and why you support it. It's important for them to hear from their constituents on all things public ed! Continue reading

RYH article in Catalyst - "Will the Real Parents Please Stand Up?"

Link to Article Now that the strike is over and parents, students and teachers are finally settling into the routine of the school year, many parents we talk to are wondering what will change in terms of how policies are shaped at the district level at Chicago Public Schools. The blogosphere is abuzz from East Coast to West with opinions on the value and meaning of this strike. Tomorrow, our teachers in Chicago will vote on whether or not to ratify the contract. Continue reading

Elected School Board Results by Ward/Precinct

Hi all, As you know, the elected school board referendum was on the ballot in 327 precincts across the city on November 6th and voters resoundingly said they want an elected board. 87% of people who had the chance to vote said yes to an elected board.  Below is a spreadsheet with the results of the vote and you can see that people from Altgeld Gardens and Beverly to Rogers Park, Lincoln Park and Uptown had this on their ballot. Continue reading

RYH releases data on Class Size: 76% of CPS schools had classrooms over limits in 2011

This press release was sent out today and a chart with all CPS elementary schools detailing class size info was given to the Board of Ed. Note below that RYH is setting up a class-size hotline for parents to help advocate in situatinos where classrooms are above the recommended limits of 28 for K-3 and 31 for 4-8. Also note that a parent LSC rep should now be appointed to a class size committee when a school makes a complaint about class size to CPS. Continue reading