RYH Statement at the Dec 2019 CPS Board of Ed Meeting

Below is RYH's prepared statement. You can find our live tweets here. CPS now live streams monthly Board of Education meetings on their YouTube channel. You can find video of the fill meeting here, RYH speaks at 57:40. We've posted video of our statement on our YouTube channel here. Press coverage of the meeting is below.

Jennie Biggs, CPS parent & RYH's Director of Communications and Outreach

(Jennie immediately followed a speaker from the IL Network for Charter Schools (INCS) who spoke in support of the charter school quality rating policy (the SQRP for charter schools) and spoke in support of the two charter closures. Students and parents from those charter schools were gasping. Jennie started her statement with: "SQRP and the charter school quality policies are both based on narrow metrics.")

New Year’s resolutions for CPS and the Lightfoot appointed Board of Ed:

Resolution #1: Respect parent leaders and parent voice

Thank you for hosting this meeting in the evening and in a neighborhood. 

Last month, Maggie Baran, addressed you. She had questions and concerns about the organization, management, and transparency of the LSC Advisory Board (LSCAB). She has since resigned from her LSC and the LSCAB and wrote an explanatory piece in Chalkbeat Chicago- you have copies. In that piece, Baran says:

...I’m not happy that I didn’t make a difference, and that LSC members across the city are trying to be heard but instead being ignored. I’m not happy that something that seems so easy has been made so difficult by the school district. And I’m not happy that I can’t in good faith encourage others to run for their Local School Council.

Sadly, this article resonated with way too many parents. Commit to making parents a key partner in schools and in this district.  

Resolution #2: Transparency

Thank you for incorporating the public comments into the Education of Students with Disabilities Policy that you are voting on today. Of particular value is the “comments summary” posted online. It would be extremely beneficial to have that kind of public “comment summary” completed for the actual IDEA Procedure Manual and Section 504 Procedure Manual referenced in the Policy and we ask that you provide a similar report for any new or revised ODLSS Procedure Manuals.

By law, updated space utilization data is due by Dec 31. The formula used for this data should take into account the CTU contract’s “class size limits.”

[Current 2018-19 data & methodology posted here- CPS uses 30 students as ideal enrollment per Chalkbeat article, Jan 2019. What RYH said about this 2018-19 data here. More background here from January 2017. And even more background plus research here.] 

Resolution #3: Authentic school community engagement

The space utilization data does NOT show the full story of what is happening in a building and the formula itself is flawed. You must honestly engage school communities constantly, asking for input before you make decisions NOT as part of a checklist for legal compliance. 

Press coverage of the meeting

WBEZ: Chicago Board Of Education Votes To Close Two Charter Schools

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago school board votes to close two charter schools

Sun-TimesChicago school board approves closure of 2 charter schools despite emotional pleas from parents and students

Chicago TribuneChicago Board of Ed votes to close 2 charter schools, including Illinois’ first online public school: ‘You are breaking apart my family.’

Chicago TribuneCPS adopts new policy on timeouts and physical restraints following Tribune, ProPublica Illinois investigation

Press coverage leading up to the meeting

Chalkbeat ChicagoAs political winds shift, no new charter schools apply to open in Chicago

Sun-TimesCPS recommends closing 2 charter schools

Chicago TribuneChicago Public Schools proposal to close 2 charter schools slammed as ‘racist and irresponsible’ by teachers union

Block Club ChicagoNorth Lawndale’s Frazier Charter School Faces Closure

CBS 2 Chicago: School Board To Vote On Plan To Close Chicago Virtual Charter School