RYH Statement at the Feb 2020 CPS Board of Ed Meeting

CPS now live streams monthly Board of Ed meetings on the CPS YouTube channel. This meeting's video is here. You can read our live tweets from the meeting here. Our prepared statement and press leading up to the meeting and from the meeting is below- there's quite a lot of press. 

Jennie Biggs, CPS Parent & RYH Communications and Outreach Director

Thank you for hosting board committee & school funding meetings and publishing all the materials.

Thank you, CPS, for your support of and work on the Inclusive LSCs bill. Thank you for the inclusion of Raise Your Hand in the CBO (Community Based Organizations) meeting on the SQRP (School Quality Rating Policy). We brought 6 parents.

The Whole Child Committee and the CBO meetings both focused on the SQRP. We must reframe these discussions. The only place to start is: “What makes a great school?” It was resoundingly clear that the attendees want a new, more humane way of measuring “school quality” that results in school and student supports and has an accounting of the inputs or resources, instead of punishment and labels that stigmatize. No parent listed attendance or test data as how to “measure” school quality.

The OIG report on NWEA testing should surprise no one. CPS’s long-standing use of standardized tests for high-stakes decisions -- against the recommendations of the test designers and without any independent validation -- creates unnecessary anxiety among educators and students. Promotion, school ratings, teacher and principal evaluations, and selective-enrollment admission hinge on these tests, that offer a false sense of fairness based on faulty inputs in an inequitable system when all of us already know that family income is the best predictor of test scores and access to privileged educational settings.

The duration of more than 25% of NWEA tests in CPS lasted more than twice the national norm, and over 10% lasted three to five times the national norm. And the durations have been growing each year. Independent assessment experts told the OIG that this calls into question the validity of the results.

But this is not an irregularity in need of correction; this is the predicted effect of the high-stakes testing regime this and prior Boards have imposed. The durations are greatest in 6-8th grade, where students are old enough to understand what’s at stake. Students have learned -- they’ve learned to adapt to the high-stakes pressures you have put them under. You can’t fix that by more proctors and spending resources the district can’t afford on security.

CPS must remove the high stakes nature of the test. We must replace the focus and time spent on high stakes tests with developmentally appropriate learning environments, adequate resources, and sufficient social workers and instructional time.

Finally, parents, students, educators, and clinicians should be at the table to help inform the practices and protocols with respect to the district’s communications and response to sexual misconduct allegations as well as to help inform CPS on the supports needed to aid a school community during and after incidents. Further, stakeholders should be at the table discussing implementation of preventative measures and methods for building supportive, strong school cultures.


Press leading up to the meeting

First day of school is Sept 8, 2020. Last day of school is June 22, 2021.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago releases 2020-21 school calendar, says first day of school will be Sept. 8 and the Sun-Times: CPS releases calendar for 2020-21 school year have it covered. 

CPS OIG performance review of NWEA

WBEZ: 'Unusual Patterns' On High-Stakes CPS Exam: Your Questions Answered

WTTW: CPS Watchdog Finds ‘Unusual Patterns’ in District’s NWEA Testing Practices

WBEZ (with audio): Report Shows Irregularities In High-Stakes CPS Exam

Chalkbeat Chicago: A test with no time limit: Chicago’s high-stakes NWEA test under microscope after critical report

Sun-Times: CPS agrees to overhaul standardized test practice after OIG finds ‘unusual patterns’

Chicago Tribune: Fired Lincoln Park High School principal and assistant principal sue Chicago Public Schools, say they were defamed and denied due process

Press coverage of the meeting

Indigenous Peoples Day

Block Club ChicagoChicago Public Schools Ends Columbus Day, Will Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day Instead

NBC 5: Chicago Schools to Observe Indigenous People’s Day Instead of Columbus Day

Chicago TribuneArt criticized as racist could be removed from Chicago Public Schools under new policy: ‘The days of painting early white Americans as saviors are over’

Sun-Times: Aldermen vow ‘war with CPS’ after school district cancels Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day

WBEZ: Alderman Says ‘Army of Italians’ To Protest Switch From Columbus To Indigenous Peoples' Day

Chicago TribuneGoodbye, Columbus Day. CPS ends the holiday in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day — and parade organizers call it ‘a slap in the face.’

Lincoln Park HS

Sun-TimesCPS CEO says parents wrong to paint fired Lincoln Park H.S. leaders as victims

Chicago TribuneLincoln Park High School students are ‘the real victims,’ says CPS chief Janice Jackson, as district sends cease-and-desist letter to local school council

CPS OIG performance review of NWEA

Sun-TimesCPS board, watchdog spar over report that found ‘irregularities’ in test results

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago district defends academic record as inspector general presents critical report on NWEA test

WTTW: CPS: Watchdog Report Highlights Need for Standardized Test Improvements

Chicago TribuneCPS board challenges claims of possible cheating on standardized tests — but inspector general says it would be ‘naive’ to rule it out

WBEZ: Sparring Over Testing Irregularities At Chicago Public Schools: Your Questions Answered

Chalkbeat Chicago9 things to know as Chicago reconsiders its high-stakes test, the NWEA

Quarterly report of OSP and OIG

Sun-TimesCPS reports 29% increase in sex misconduct cases