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 (with audio): Report Shows Irregularities In High-Stakes CPS Exam
Press coverage of the meeting
Indigenous Peoples Day
Lincoln Park HS
CPS OIG performance review of NWEA
Chalkbeat Chicago: 9 things to know as Chicago reconsiders its high-stakes test, the NWEA
Quarterly report of OSP and OIG