RYH Statement at the Jan 2021 CPS BOE Meeting + Press Coverage

Below is our statement at the CPS Board of Ed meeting, Jan 27, 2021. You can read our live tweets here. You can watch the entire meeting hereChicago Documenters has a webpage here with a link to their live tweets and documents from the meeting. 

You can submit written comments to the CPS BOE now through Thursday, Jan 28, 5PM. Go to www.cpsboe.org and scroll down to “Board meeting Jan 27 Form”, click, and this will take you to Google form.

Jianan Shi, RYH's Executive Director

For a district that has delayed and denied thousands of services to special ed families, we find it particularly egregious that the Mayor is using them as a tool in a greater political fight instead of building a plan with them from the beginning as essential stakeholders. Even in the first few weeks of this implementation, we are seeing special ed support staff being taken away, accommodations being ignored, services being disrupted, and families with questions about these changes left unanswered. This becomes more disrespectful when we know that many students with disabilities name transitions and lack of structures as major barriers to accessing learning. Like one of our parents said: the current CPS Reopening Plan guts the remote learning of over 20,000 students with disabilities, one of the very “priority” groups reopening is supposed to be helping. 

Also, yesterday during the Far South CAC, parents mentioned lack of motivation, mental health, & academic rigor, and financial stress as major factors for why they chose in person. What is CPS and the Mayor doing to work on those same issues for the majority of families who stay remote and cannot go in person? We must improve remote learning.  If we can spend 1.5 million on signage, we can spend more for our remote learners. Raise Your Hand is disgusted at the attempts to pit parents against one another when in reality, everyone is getting the short end of the stick. 

My last point is about partnership. If these past 10 months are an example of what parent partnership looks like, I don’t quite understand how CPS ever plans to heal and regain trust with the community. You say parents are partners but then why is CPS intimidating parents? You say parents are partners but why are there repeated attempts to shut down LSCs from holding special meetings by OLSCR. It is infuriating and disempowering to see that the district only cares about LSCs when it is convenient to them. Over 117 LSCs have passed resolutions expressing their concerns and questions; as the only elected body in education, they are holding up a mirror to CPS revealing the lack of collaborative planning by all stakeholders - decisions of this magnitude can not be made in a vacuum. 


A note from RYH: 

Thank you to all the parents who spoke at the meeting. The common theme was parents are mad that they’ve been left out of all CPS reopening planning and they are sick and tired of being intimidated on so many levels within CPS.


Press Coverage of the Meeting

Chalkbeat ChicagoA troubling trend in Chicago’s school reopening: More students disengaged

Chicago Tribune10,000 CPS students who chose in-person classes later opted out; racial disparities seen in attendance rates

WGN 9: Chicago principals offer school reopening plan amid coronavirus pandemic

Block Club ChicagoChicago Principals Suggest CPS Pivot To ‘Phased-In’ School Reopening Plan, But Mayor Still Focused On Feb. 1

Sun-TimesWhy Chicago can’t immediately vaccinate all its teachers

Chicago TribuneWith Chicago teachers on the brink of a second strike in 15 months, weary parents plea for a resolution: ‘Put yourselves in CPS families’ shoes’

WTTW: Chicago Teachers Strike Would be ‘Devastating,’ Board of Education President Says

ABC 7: CPS tells parents to continue remote learning as CTU moves closer to possible strike

Chicago TribuneCPS calls off in-person classes again Thursday as only 14% of teachers report to schools; Board of Ed president says another strike ‘would be devastating’


Press coverage Leading Up to the Meeting

Sun-Times: Parents urge Mayor Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools to delay reopening plan

WBBM AM: Group of parents asks CPS to put the skids on in-person learning, for now

ABC 7: CPS parents express frustration, concerns amid battle between CTU, district over students returning to classrooms during COVID

Sun-TimesCPS principals group suggests piecemeal reopening of schools

Sun-TimesCPS building engineers reach new 3-year deal with retroactive raises