Jonathan Kozol discussion and book signing this Thursday 9/27

Come hear renowned author Jonathan Kozol discuss his new book, "Fire in the Ashes: Twenty Five Years Amongst the Poorest Children in America on 9/27. Kozol has been writing about urban education for forty-five years and is the author of many books including Amazing Grace and Savage Inequalities. He is a leading voice on the need for educational equality in our country and writes about our children who are most often left behind.    September 27 (6pm - 8pm) Thorne Auditorium of Northwestern University Law School 375 East Chicago Avenue   Public transportation recommended This even is free and open to the public. Email us if you plan to

The Strike is Over...Our Work is Not!

Dear Parents:   We are happy to transition back to school and finally settle into a routine. As you know the House of Delegates of the CTU voted to suspend the strike but they didn’t yet vote to approve the contract. Most everyone we heard from expressed great relief that their kids are back in school. There remain different opinions regarding the purpose of the strike and what it signified or didn’t. The press keeps asking who “won” and who “lost?” People have asked what the kids got out of it. These are complicated questions. If nothing else, the events of the past ten days have worked to elevate the discussion around public education in this city and nation, which is a good thing. We think this will prove to be an intangible positive but we don’t think it can be distilled to a “win” or “loss”. Continue reading

Strike Day 7 - RYH Press Statement

RYH Press Statement - Strike Day 7 Raise Your Hand hopes that the House of Delegates of the Chicago Teacher’s Union votes to end the strike today. We respect, appreciate and value the teachers of the Chicago Public School System as we always have. Many of our parents have expressed increased anxiety and concern in the last two days not knowing when this strike will end. We worry that parents are losing patience with this process. Continue reading

Strike: Week 2

No school until Wednesday at the earliest. Parents, we know these are challenging times.  It is understandable that those of us with children in Chicago Public Schools would like teachers to grab the contract offered and run. It would make our lives as parents much easier. The confusing- indeed vexing - part of this situation is that while the negotiators at the table have been living with the language of the contract, the delegates just received its 300-plus pages today. They say they need to read it over before they vote on it. Taking a step back, it appears the delegates are doing what all of us do before we sign our names to something- they are trying to understand the terms. Let's hope they are devoting every minute possible to this task because parents are stretched. Continue reading

What happened this week? Where do we go from here?

Dear Parents, What a week. What does it all mean? Why was my kid out of school? What’s going to change for the short-term and what’s going to possibly change for the long-term? What is the role of parents in all of this?  We know there are a range of opinions and questions from parents right now.  Most of us will be thrilled that our kids will likely be returning to school this week. Continue reading

Day 3 of the Strike

Dear Parents,  Many of you have emailed us with questions about what is happening in negotiations and what needs to be resolved so that our children can get back to school. Raise Your Hand has heard a range of opinions from you since Sunday night and we know that it is very easy to believe that either one side, CPS or CTU is to blame for this conflict, and we ask that instead you try and take a look at the individual issues at hand. Illinois School District 299 must find a better way to work together in the near future, after this strike is resolved. Continue reading

Parents - No School Today

Dear Parents, CPS and CTU could not come to an agreement yesterday on their contract and our teachers are on strike today. They will be back at the table again today to try and iron out a contract. Continue reading

RYH on CNN tonight at 5pm

Tune in to CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon tonight at 5pm. RYH will be interviewed to talk from a parent's perspective on the potential strike.

Memo to CPS: It’s Time to Stop Saying “Full School Day”

Dear CEO Brizard and Marketing Department at CPS: Many parents are tired of hearing the term “full school day.” A few dozen have emailed me since yesterday that they were also irritated by the letter that you sent home via US mail (calculated postage – 3 staff positions at CPS) lauding the “full school day” and explaining your view on the potential strike. Can you put these in backpacks next time? Continue reading

Childcare Options in the Event of a Strike

We still remain hopeful that the teacher's union and the city will come to an agreement before September 10th. This has been a stressful time for all parties involved and there's much uncertainty about not just whether our kids will be in school but how all stakeholders will work together in our district beyond a potential strike. The tenor and culture of this system needs vast improvement. We are certainly hoping that this school year does not bring more of the same.  In the event that no agreement can be reached, we will try and help provide information on childcare options. Check this for more details soon, or contribute to this forum.