The Longest School Day: The Facts and the Fiction

Fact or Fiction? Q: CPS can afford to adequately fund a 7.5 hr school day. A: Fiction! According to the CPS website, there is a projected budget deficit of $362.5M for FY2013 and a projected budget deficit of $861.7M for FY2014. CPS has had budget deficits for the last few years with a 5.75 hr school day, how will they afford a 7.5 hr and 10 additional school days? Think about the cuts that will be coming in 2014 as you plan for your longer school day. Find info on the budget here:

This Friday is deadline to file your LSC nomination form!

You still have a few days to file your nomination form to run for LSC! Did you read Jill Wohl's posts on the importance of running for LSC? Scroll down to read how LSCs can make a big difference in improving our schools. And kudos  to CPS for creating a very cool tool to access information on LSCs in one easy spot. You can see how many seats are open and who is running at your local school here: CPS LSC app Thanks to CPS for providing this information!

Raise Your Glass Winter Bash - Thursday, February 28th

RAISE YOUR HAND IS GOING ON 3 YEARS OF STRONG PARENT AND CITIZEN ADVOCACY! Come out and help us celebrate a fine list of accomplishments and help us raise funds to continue our work for the year ahead Continue reading

Legislative info: Action Alerts

Many of you have asked us how you can voice your opinions on the school actions and longer school day. Contact your legislators. It’s time to communicate with them on the very pressing issues that you care about.  Longer school day. No current bill; SB7 passed. Inform your reps of you have concerns. School actions bill SB3239/HB4487 places a moratorium on school closings. Class size bill SB3362/HB4455 lowers class size to 18 in K-3; 22 in 4-8; and 25 for high school. Recess bill HB288 amends the school code to require the Chicago Board of Education to provide daily recess (at least 10 minutes long) for all students in K-8. Continue reading

RYH Meeting with School Board President, David Vitale

This week members of Raise Your Hand met with David Vitale and Abigayil Joseph, the President of the school board and the Chief of Staff to the Board President to discuss the extended day situation and associated funding issues. Continue reading

Longer School Day info from CPS Task Force

On Tuesday, December 13th, CPS’s Longer School Day Advisory committee meeting held it’s third meeting. Raise Your Hand has a seat at this table and we felt it was important to share recent information and key dates with you our membership.  Continue reading

What does the school day look like in other districts around Illinois?

The average length of the school day across the state and country is 6.5 hours. We thought it would be interesting to start looking at how other school districts in this state use their time. We are finding that many districts have more time for PE, recess/lunch, social studies, arts, etc.  Feel free to add your thoughts or other info on districts. This schedule doesn't address class size or funding. As we know, the way IL funds education through a heavy reliance on property taxes causes inequity. Per pupil spending varies greatly in this state but it's still important to see what the kids in Chicago are getting now as we try and craft a better plan for next school year, and compare it to what other students in our state are getting in their school day. Continue reading

CPS Plans to Approve 12 New Charters at Board meeting tomorrow

Yesterday it was reported that CPS plans to build twelve new charter schools over the next two years. According to the Chicago News Cooperative, “Noble Charter School Network will open four new high schools, the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) and LEARN Charter School Network will open three new elementary schools each and Catalyst Schools will open a new elementary school. Additionally, the early childhood development non-profit Christopher House will open it’s first elementary school, which is expected to house a family resource center, in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.” Continue reading

December 2011 Update

Raise Your Hand has been busy as usual working to bring a stronger parent voice to policy-making at CPS.  We have held three community forums since September on the longer day, in North Center, West Garfield Park with the Progressive Action Coalition for Education and in Beverly. In Garfield Park and Beverly, we were able to have representatives from CPS and the CTU to answer your questions, and we plan to have more forums in the coming months with the goal of hearing from different parents in different communities on their thoughts and concerns over this issue. Continue reading

Voters Decide the Funding of Illinois Schools

Along with filling President Obama’s old senate seat, choosing the state’s next governor, deciding whether or not to amend the Illinois constitution, and determining the fate of copious judges, many Illinois residents were also asked to vote on various education referenda. Individual school boards vote to put these bond issues and tax hikes on the ballot in an effort to increase the funding to their school district. Once on the ballot, these school boards hope their communities will vote “yes” to the referendum, there by creating an influx of cash into the local education system. Here are a few education referenda results from the Illinois November 2, 2010 election: Continue reading