RYH Statements: June 2019 CPS Board of Education + all the press coverage of the meeting

We attended and spoke at the June 26, 2019 monthly meeting of the CPS Board of Education- the first one of the Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed BOE. Find the new appointed BOE members plus their bios here

Our prepared statements are below. You can watch video of our speakers hereYou can find our live tweets from the meeting here. Follow #cpsboard as well. 

Here is the document we submitted about the CPS School Quality Rating Policy(SQRP) written by Cassie Creswell of Raise Your Hand Action.

Jianan Shi, RYH Executive Director

Questions/Comments: jianan@ilraiseyourhand.org

Morning, my name is Jianan Shi. I use he/him pronouns - and I am the new ED of Raise Your Hand.

I want to first take a moment to honor Joy Clendenning as the outgoing ED and thank her along with Wendy Katten and Cassie Creswell for their almost decade long fight for public education. 

I am a former CPS HS bio and neuro teacher on the SW side. 

I was last here 2 summers ago during the first public comments around the closure of NTA. I called the whole process a sham - it felt transactional and it invisibilized NTA parents. During these board and community meetings, I could almost see the beginning of an erasure of a community and its history.

This, however, is a different board. Yall were intentionally selected. You are historians, organizers, defenders of public education at almost every level. Our request for the board is to interrogate your collective values and to make them transparent. 

Charlene Carruthers of BYP100 states that if we are not intentional with our values, they will be shaped by our current society, institutions and systems. And at worst, we [will] internalize oppression and live in ways that do not serve our collective liberation. 

We ask that y’all build the collective values for the future you want to imagine for CPS and be transparent about how these values influence your decision making.

These values should first be applied towards board meeting policies. Whose values does it serve have it in this location and at this time? To not have a speaker’s waiting list? To barr folks from being in this space? 

When we are all on the same page, we can start the honest conversation about what is the power of schools and its interdependent relationship with the community. Only then can we develop an equitable system to heal and to make reparations that are needed from the years of disinvestment.

I am hopeful and excited to work with y’all. This board will be considered the stewards that set the path and expectations for the future elected representative school boards. Let's get to work for our children, our parents, our schools.


Joy Clendenning, RYH Interim Executive Director

Contact: Joy Clendenning, 773-647-8489, joy@ilraiseyourhand.org

Good morning (afternoon) to all of you and to the public, including the many in the overflow room. I’m Joy Clendenning, the outgoing executive director of Raise Your Hand, and as of June 10th, the parent of 4 Chicago Public Schools graduates. Thank you so much to the teachers, admin, and staff, on the ground at schools, who work so hard to serve 360,000 students across Chicago. Our teachers, they deserve a fair contract!

Today is a new beginning and we’re excited to introduce you all to Raise Your Hand’s new executive director, Jianan Shi. We’re looking forward to working with you, AND holding you accountable, until we get an elected board.

We really hope this is the end of a portfolio/choice business model district with its focus on competition, efficiency, and privatization. Instead we, along with many other organizations, are calling for sustainable community schools district. This would be a big change and to get there we probably need a truth and reconciliation process and restorative investments for harm done. For specifics on a path forward, we refer you to our memo to the mayor (you should have copies) which is based on almost 10 years of work with CPS parents and amazing community organizations.

Today’s agenda includes a vote on a revised School Quality Rating Policy. You should table this vote or vote no. There are all sorts of reasons to NOT vote on the new SQRP:

  • The SQRP sucks
  • You should not be voting on a policy that the Emanuel administration developed
  • This is not where precious tax dollars that our unelected board levies should be going

Instead, announce your intent for a complete overhaul of the school rating system and promotion policy. And pursue a change to state law so that CPS doesn't have to have a redundant, punitive school rating policy that no other district in the state is required to have. For more on this, please see the handout from Cassie Creswell.

Speaking of a complete overhaul, we need a complete culture shift in CPS regarding special education. We hope you know about the history of CPS delaying and denying special education services and the current resistance to providing compensatory services. Please assure us that you and the new Chief of ODLSS are committed to changing the culture from one of hard-line denials to one of collaboration, support and IEP Team empowerment.

Thank you, good luck, do right by our children.


Press Coverage of the meeting

Chalkbeat Chicago: Here are 7 big ways that Chicago school board meetings are changing

Hyde Park HeraldChicago Board of Education introduces seven initiatives to create transparency

City BureauChicago’s Board of Education Just Changed How Its Meetings Will Be Run

WBEZ: New Chicago Board of Education Members Voice Dissent

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago school board approves new school ratings scale despite complaints and confusion

Sun-Times: New Board of Education opens discussion in marathon 1st meeting, still passes CPS agenda

WTTW: Controversy Over School Ratings as New CPS Board Meets

Chicago TribuneLightfoot’s new school board seated as Chicago Teachers Union rallies for ‘fair contract now’

Sun-TimesCPS considers automatic ban on school deals for businesses barred from getting city contracts

WTTW: CPS Taking New Look at Punishments for Marijuana, Substance Abuse

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago moves to lessen discipline for drugs or alcohol in schools

Chicago TribuneAs pot goes legal in Illinois, Chicago Public Schools lessens penalties for students caught with drugs

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago will allow students to start kindergarten early, skip grades