Raise Your Hand: Where Have we Been, Where are we Going?

What is Raise Your Hand?

A solution-oriented grassroots parent-led advocacy group that works on improving public education for all kids.
Who We Are
RYH was founded by a non-funded group of parents in April 2010 to fight the $1.3 billion budget cuts to education that were expected to raise class sizes to 37 students at CPS and result in a loss of many other programs. Many parents from different schools joined forces at this time to fight these cuts. and raise awareness about the funding issues at CPS. RYH formed out of sheer frustration at yearly budget cuts, perpetual instability, lack of communication and inequitable funding.

What We Have Accomplished

2010 - NoTo37 Campaign. Helped stop state budget cuts to education. Partnered with parents who started a website, "No to 37" and helped mobilized over 25,000 people in IL to contact state legislators to stop the cuts.
2010- TIF Info Campaign
Delivered over 5,000 letters to Mayor Daley to help get the TIF surplus returned to CPS for the first time, amounting to over $100 million.
2011 - Fit for Learning Campaign 
Informed the district about lack of recess in schools. Partnered with COFI and other groups working on this for years. Brought recess to 12 schools.
2011 - Longer Day Campaign
Surveyed parents at over 200 schools on longer day. Advocated CPS board meetings, created effective coalition with twelve parent/community groups around Chicago. Helped write white paper, "The Best Education or Just the Longes?"  Held press conference at City Hall to seek more positions for longer day.
2012 - Longer Day Content
Advocated with other groups to add positions to the schools and improve arts education in order to assure quality in the school day. CPS added 500 positions and has increased arts positions by 200. 
Where We Are Headed 
2012 (current) - Elected Representative School Board Campaign
Working with CODE (Communities Organized for Democracy in Education) to form an elected school board. Canvassed to help get a referendum on this issue in 327 precincts across the city for the November 2012 ballot.
2012 (current) - Statewide Education Funding Campaign
Initiating a 2-year funding campaign to bring more awareness about the education funding system in Illinois to parents and to improve its stability. 
2012 (planned) - Culture of Testing Townhall Meetings
Planning two-part forum on “Culture of Testing” at CPS to review and understand the array of tests being administered to our kids. Tentatively scheduled for the last week in November- details TBA.
2012 (current) - "Apples to Apples" Database
Continuing to bring attention to many issues parents care about we are  working on “Apples to Apples” database with parent Jeanne Marie Olson to provide new level of information to CPS parents on our schools. More information on this soon. 
Funding: We have been getting by on small donations from individual members and need to raise funds to cover many expenses such as printing, website costs, signage, promotional materials, Springfield travel costs, townhall-forums, etc. We are also trying to raise funds for one position as this has become a full-tiime job for some of us. We raised 45% of our summer fundraising goal of $20k. We need help from our members to continue our work and continue to achieve our goals to help improve public education for all kids. Donate now to help us move forward for this school year.