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

The 2011 CPS Budget in a Nutshell

On Monday several Raise Your Hand members met with CPS Chief Financial Officer Diana Ferguson and Budget Director Christina Herzog to learn about CPS' proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Drew Beres (Ron Huberman's Assistant) was also in the meeting. Attached is a copy of the presentation they gave us (excellent overview and suggested reading), and the full CPS budget book can be downloaded athttp://cps.edu/About_CPS/Financial_information/Pages/FYBudget2011.aspx. Continue reading

CPS Draft Guidelines for School Closings

CPS has released draft guidelines for school closings. They are having two community hearings and will receive comments on the draft guidelines through 11/21/11. They plan to release their list of school closings on 12/1/11. Continue reading

Next CPS Task Force Meeting: This Tuesday 9/1

CPS is holding the second longer day task force meeting this Tuesday. Please continue to share your thoughts on this issue with us. We will be attending these meetings throughout the year with the goal of bringing back input from our members on how the day should be shaped for next fall. Share your thoughts, concerns, views on this topic here. What do you want to see more of and less of at your child's school for next year? What is missing in the current day?

Call to Action from Healthy Schools Campaign on Physical Education Waiver Policy at CPS

This is an important campaign. For years, CPS has been signing a waiver to get out of the state's required minutes for physical education for our children. Mr. Brizard is reviewing this policy right now and HSC has created a very easy way to contact CPS to let them know you value physical education and think it's beneficial to your child's learning. Check it out here: http://www.healthyschoolscampaign.org/getinvolved/action/pe-waivers.php

RYH in Sun Times 10/14: City Needs Real Debate on How to use Longer School Day

For months we’ve heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel compare our public schools with those in Houston, expressing outrage that kids in Chicago have spent three to four fewer years in school by the time they graduate. Continue reading

Tuesday, 9/27 Meeting on the Longer Day at Coonley Elementary

Interested in the longer day issue? This is an opportunity to get an update about our participation  in the CPS Longer Day Task Force. Come meet other  parents from many different schools and share your opinions and concerns about extending the day at CPS. Hear from Alderman Ameya Pawar on his plan to invest money  into the schools in his ward. Follow up with a cocktail summit at Gannon's Pub. Location: Coonley Elementary 4046 N. Leavitt Date: Tuesday, 9/27 Time: 6:30pm Guest Speaker: Alderman Ameya Pawar

Summary of Fall Membership Meeting at Coonley

As many of you know, Raise Your Hand hosted a meeting on Tuesday, September 27th at Coonley School to discuss the issue of extending the CPS school day.  Approximately 130 audience members – primarily  parents and teachers, heard from Raise Your Hand members as well as comments from Alderman Ameya Pawar (47thWard) and representatives from CPS and the CTU.  During the meeting, RYH shared the results of its informal survey focused on extending length of the CPS school day. As of last week, 68% of respondents were receptive to a longer day but 83% preferred a day that did not exceed 7 hours. Qualitative comments reflected that respondents felt quality trumped quantity in terms of how the day is spent. Continue reading

What's the deal with CPS and the extended day?

There’s been a lot of talk in the media of late about extending the day at CPS, and a lot of confusion amongst parents on the when, what and how of this endeavor.  Although currently these questions remain unanswered, CPS has assembled a task force to flesh out the details. We are very pleased to be included on this task force to help shape how the day will be lengthened for next school year, 2012/2013, with Patricia O’Keefe of RYH representing our group. Continue reading