Notes from West Side CPS Community Engagement Forum

This is a summary from a RYH Board Member Dwayne Truss who attended the westside forum on Sat 10/27. CPS has had four community engagement forums by invite only. CPS is collecting feedback to shape their 10 year faciliites plan and also school action plan.

The roundtable had nothing to do with drafting the guidelines.  The presentations were heavy on performance and under-utilization.  We asked about the performance of level 3 charter schools.  We asked Adam Anderson how will they use crime data and gang mapping in weighing safety.  2011 guidelines stated that CPS will review past decisions.  We challenged CPS FACE team and portfolio to document that they actually reviewed the violence following the schools actions which force students from Austin and Altgeld Gardens to attend schools in other neighborhoods-remember Derrion Alberts?  

The was a long discussion afterwards involving Phillip Hampton, Micheal Rendina, and some of the participants that I chose not to participate in.  The participants who remained, were pretty much chastising them about how the roundtable was set up. 

CPS should be ashamed that it attempted to drive participants to the conclusions CPS wanted.  The questions and discussions were not relevant to the guidelines. We also challenged Adam Anderson as to how can CPS claim excess capacity but yet CPS has signed the agreement with the Gates Foundation to expand charter schools.  Better yet, the ACT/KIPP Charter School in Austin does not have enough students.  KIPP recruiters are practically standing outside of school attempting to recruit students.  Yet CPS is claiming that a Level 3 charter school is a quality option for Austin. 

Another concern I have is that the issues facing high schools and Pre-K-8 schools were mixed together.  They face challenges in completely difference universe.  An obvious example is recess.  

When the facilitator asked what was the single most important items listed, because there were more participants from Pre-K-8 schools, the most important item voted on may pertain to recess, but, recess is not an issue with the high schools.