This Week in Ed 10.27.17: Parents descend on Board to demand changes to special ed

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Parents take demands for special education changes to unelected BOE following WBEZ report

Many parents spoke before the BOE meeting at a press conference and at the BOE meeting about the special ed issues they have had at their schools. Some of these parents have spoken multiple times at Board meetings over the last few years and the WBEZ report only corroborated what they had already been telling the BOE regarding special ed. 

Forrest Claypool did not acknowledge any special education issues at the meeting, and instead sent a letter to all schools trying to discredit WBEZ. Another letter from Claypool was addressed to “Special Education Stakeholder.” Board member Mahalia Hines said she had never seen this many parents bringing up the same issue with such emotion over all her seven years serving the board. She wondered aloud if maybe CPS thinks they are doing well but maybe they really are not. Board member Arnaldo Rivera voted no on the contract for $2.5M for consultants which was the same contract that funded the consultants involved in creating the secret special education manual.

Watch the parent press conference here.

Read parent statements to the unelected BOE here.

Press coverage:

Sun-Times: Parents protest CPS special education policies before board meeting

WBEZ: CPS Special Education Overhaul Debated At Board of Education Meeting

CBS-2: Aldermen Call For Claypool’s Ouster, Accuse CPS of Stiffing Special Needs Kids

NBC-5: Renewed Calls for CPS CEO to Step Down

Sun-TimesCPS board approves budget, bonds and $2.5M for Claypool’s consultants

ABC-7: CPS critics call for CEO Forrest Claypool's firing over budget

Sun-TimesClaypool seeks $2.5 million more for CPS consultants

Keep sharing our letter to demand that CPS ditch their flawed special education manual and fire Claypool over this debacle. ICYMI, on Friday evening, this WBEZ recorded interview with Claypool was aired- it is the CPS response to the investigation.

Mark your calendar for our next special education forum! It’ll be Thursday Nov 16th, 7pm at the Jesse White Community Center, 410 W Chicago Ave.

Share our special ed survey with parents at your school who have kids with IEPS or 504 plans.

Ed tech and student data privacy

Did you miss our forum last night? Catch the recorded livestream here. (A slightly edited version will be available next week!) And you can download the Ed Tech for Tips for Parents sheet that we shared from our website. There was lots of national, and even state, coverage this week of how hackers target school and student data, making this a very timely issue for parents to get informed on.

WNYC: Hackers Target Student Data as Schools Report Increasing Cyberattacks

NPR Illinois: Hackers Attack LA, Boston, And… Crab Orchard

Wall Street JournalHackers Target Nation’s Schools

Upcoming Events

⟹ Assessing young children
Parents and Teachers Driving Testing Policy community discussion series
Mon Nov 13, 6pm
CTU Center, 1901 W. Carroll

Speaker: Denisha Jones, Trinity Washington University and Defending the Early Years

You can read a recent essay from Jones about early childhood education and the global ed reform movement here.  Raise Your Hand is collaborating with FairTest and the Chicago Teachers Union on a series of public forums on assessment policy. This session will focus on assessment in early childhood education. RSVP via email to

⟹ RYH Special Education Forum
Thurs Nov 16, 7pm

Jesse White Community Center, 410 W Chicago Ave
More details coming soon! Please save the evening.

 Progressive Democrats of America Governor’s Forum
Sat Nov 18, 4pm
Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 Knox Avenue
Raise Your Hand is co-sponsoring this event. Register for this free event here.

⟹ Backpack Full of Cash screening
Sat Dec 2
Harper Theater, 5238 S Harper Ave
Save the date for this Saturday morning documentary screening in Hyde Park.

In other news

We submitted comments on the CPS Draft Guidelines for School Actions 2017-18. You can read them here. On December 1, 2017, CPS will announce school actions. The final guidelines, by law, are what CPS is to follow when making decisions on school actions.

WTTW: CPS to Consider Closing 4 Charter Schools

The State Journal-RegisterNew testing benchmarks to rely only on SAT exam in Illinois

The Progressive: Betsy DeVos Just Gave $12.6 million to Rocketship Charter Schools. Bad Idea

DNAinfoNumber Of Schools With Top Quality Ratings Fall — And CPS Blames The Cubs