Raise Your Hand talks school closings on Chicago Tonight - 2/19/13

We were honored to be invited to discuss school closings on Chicago Tonight with Jesse Ruiz, VP of the Chicago Board of Education and Rebecca Harris of Catalyst Magazine. You can watch the video here: CHICAGO TONIGHT - SCHOOL CLOSINGS

Meeting with Chief of Accountability at CPS - 2/21/13

We were invited to meet with the Chief of Accountability at CPS this week. He had to cut out early for another meeting and we met with the new Director of Assessment after he left. CPS is planning to do "focus groups" soon with parents, teachers and admin on testing and say they have been tasked with reducing the amount of standardized tests by CEO Byrd-Bennett but could not give any details of their plans. This is a follow-up letter we sent to Mr. Barker, Chief of Accountability. Continue reading

CPS' Response to Seth Lavin's 10 Questions on School Closings

Seth Lavin (former writer of the newsletter Wonks and dad of a future CPS student who lives in the attendance boundary of a school on the closing list) tweeted these 10 questions to CPS recently. He got a response and we're sharing here: Continue reading

CPS Releases List of 129 Schools for Potential Closure

CPS releases list of 129 schools for potential closure Raise Your Hand is deeply disappointed that the city and Chicago Public Schools has ignored important feedback from the Commission on school utilization by placing 129 schools on the list for potential closure. As pointed out in previous statements, the CPS utilization figures are based on a flawed mathematical formula that allows for large class sizes, doesn’t include enough space for ancillary rooms and doesn’t properly account for special education classrooms. In recent visits to so-called underutilized schools, which have been placed on this closure list, Raise Your Hand observed the following examples: Continue reading

2/9 Chicago Education Facilities Task Force Meeting Wrap-Up

Thanks to Jennie Biggs for providing these notes: I went to the IL General Assembly Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force (CEFTF) Meeting today. This is a very respectful body that asks questions of most speakers. A record of the meeting will go to the IL GA. To learn more visit www.isbe.net/CEF The main topic today was school closings & space utilization. Many schools testified. They will be meeting the 2nd Saturday of both March & April. More important info follows... Continue reading

Sign and Share the More than a Score Petition - Our Kids are Taking too many Standardized Tests!

Yesterday, CPS approved a policy that will change the way our Principals are evaluated so that 50% of their evaluation is based on student test scores. This news causes concern among many parents who wonder: Continue reading

Apples to Apples Post: Does Central Office use 36 as the Average Maximum Class Size or Not

From Jeanne Marie Olson's Apples to Apples Blog: I want to clear up right away is this issue of the number “36″ and the space utilization formula. Continue reading

RYH Position on the Longer School Day

After conducting a survey of over 1200 parents at 200 schools, reading emails and corresponding with parents from many schools, listening to parents concerns on the South, West and North sides of the city, Raise Your Hand maintains that parents want a quality day with more programs and staffing positions for their children. Continue reading

Notes from Saturday's Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force Meeting

Notes from RYH Hyde Park parent Joy Clendenning from the CEFTF meeting - 1/12/13 I went to the Illinois General Assembly Chicago Educational FacilitiesTask Force (CEFTF) public hearing on the West side on Saturday. Thisis a body chaired by State Rep. Cynthia Soto and State Senator HeatherSteans and it is charged by the General Assembly with monitoring andreporting on CPS' process regarding mandates in SB 630 -- about the10-year Facilities Master Plan and School Actions. Continue reading

Notes from Unified Calendar meeting with CPS/CTU - 1/11/13

We were invited to a very last minute meeting with CPS and the CTU on 1/11/13. Jennie Biggs attended the meeting on behalf of RYH.  We were not invited to earlier meetings where much of this plan was developed. These notes may help to give parents a sense of the plan's direction at this late juncture.  Continue reading