Out of the mouths of parents

Below is a letter that one of Raise Your Hand's parent leaders sent to all of her representatives in Springfield (including the Governor and Lt. Governor) about her frustration with Chicago education leadership and opposition to more harmful policies coming down the pike. She also shared with members of the education committee:repberrios39@gmail.com,RepDistrict3@gmail.com,burkedj2@ilga.gov,eacevedo@hds.ilga.govILhouse51@sbcglobal.net,robertbobrita@aol.com,lyonsjm@ilga.gov,dan@rep-danbrady.comrep.bost@hotmail.com, Mike@miketryon.com.

As a parent of two (2) CPS students and an active participant in the workings of CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I wanted to express my extreme opposition to CPS's request to delay the announcement of the school closings past the December 1, 2012, deadline.  Please do not allow the extension and insist that CPS conduct a complete 10 year demographic analysis with input from the taxpaying community before announcing any further closures or consolidations.

I'm extremely frustrated with Mayor Emanuel's excessive focus on disrupting communities, privatization of public schools, and punitive emphasis on standardized testing.  And, with his complete control of the CPS school board, Mayor Emanuel's agenda for the City of Chicago and CPS is very obvious:

  • Undermine neighborhood school performance and as a result enrollment by introducing charters to attract the higher performing students and disrupt the neighborhood's social balance / sense of community   As a result, CPS has intentionally created this problem through their own charter agenda.  It's like a corporation that intentionally does not fund a division so they can drive it into the ground and write-off the losses.
  • Privatize schools to move public tax dollars into the hands of private sector political allies. Schools are only part of this privatization agenda - the Infrastructure Trust, etc.
  • Increase the volume and dependence on standardized tests.  I've reviewed the approved CPS's 2012-13 budget in extensive detail but have not been able to calculate the total dollars being spent for acquiring (e.g., vendors) and conducting (e.g., teacher) these multiple test.  Yet another example of political motivations and waste.

These objectives and resulting unacceptable outcomes to both public education and society need to be stopped.  Perhaps you are not hearing the screaming from the streets.  Perhaps we need to yell louder for our elected officials to hear us.

Neighborhood schools are the anchor of a community and when you tip over the anchor, the entire community falls with it.  Due to past and future school closings, many children and young adults are put in harms way as they cross gang territories and navigate viaducts and expressways.  Charters do not guarantee better results - this is supported by extensive research reports and studies - and available funding for neighborhood schools is reduced to support charters.  And, the excessive amount of time spent in support of standardized testing continues to impede the development of critical thinking skills not to mention take away the joy of learning.

Mayor Emanuel's efforts to move public assets into private pockets is an absolute disgrace.  We need our elected representatives to stop the continued bleeding and funding impact to neighborhood schools.  The line needs to be held and CPS and not allow the December 1 deadline to be extended.  Also, the voices of the taxpayers need to be heard including overturning the 1995 state law and provide an elected representative school board.

My family and I appreciate your leadership in the Illinois House of Representative and are relying on this leadership to stop the actions of Mayor Emanuel and CPS.  Thank you for your time and consideration.