RYH Statement at the modified March 2020 CPS Board of Ed meeting- sent via email

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPS Board of Ed hosted their March 2020 monthly meeting in a remote, modified fashion. With only 15 speaking spots as opposed to the usual 60, RYH was unable to secure a speaking spot. Here is a thread of our live tweets. Below is the written statement we submitted to [email protected] on Wednesday afternoon. Press coverage of the meeting is below our statement.

Sent 3.25.20, 2:17pm:

Dear Board of Education Members,

I hope you and your families are holding up okay. I wish for moments of grace for everyone during this new reality. 

I want to just continue to offer Raise Your Hand’s support in however way we can. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we see ourselves as an entity who will use its capital, connections, and communication systems to help in whatever ways we can. You can read more about what we are doing here (and this is our COVID page). We have been in touch with numerous departments within CPS during this time and have offered to support in how they see fit. We have amplified whatever we have been sent. 

I wake up every morning in a fervor. I can’t answer the question of where are our collective blind spots. Even through our check in calls with parents, we have heard numerous moments of parents not knowing about food or its ability to do deliveries. I think about immigrant families and language access. I think about intergenerational homes and our wage workers. I have no idea how many families need tech (wifi or devices) for longer term learning. 

I want to name here that I have no intention of judgement - it is impossible to get full coverage. I know we are all working hard and I am only interested in ways we can all work together (CPS, CBOs, Unions, families) on delivering not just basic information but real support and community aid during this time. 

Personally, I am involved in on the ground mutual aid efforts. I would love to explore ways we can create pods/mutual aid groups centered around schools. I hope we can work together to leverage existing leadership structures like LSCs (or PACs, CACs, BACs). I think there are already amazing parent leaders at each school who are way more aware of the needs than anyone reading this email. We submitted an idea around LSCs to CPS. We also requested LSC data as a ways to do check ins with chairs and were told to submit a FOIA (we did on Friday).  

I hope there are ways over the next few months that we can continue to practice what working together looks like - I know we don’t agree on many fronts but I absolutely agree we are thinking about our families every day during this time. My cell is 6178381420. Let us know. 

Jianan Shi (he/him/his)

73 W Monroe, #320 Chicago, IL 60603
617-838-1420 (cell)
Email response 3.25.20, 3:13pm:
Dear Jianan,
This  email is to confirm receipt of your comments to the Board. Please know that this has been submitted to Board Members for consideration.
Thank you. 

Press coverage leading up to meeting

Sun-TimesCPS seeks $75 million to deal with coronavirus crisis

Sun-TimesCPS board to meet virtually due to coronavirus, but public speaker slots cut dramatically

WTTW: CPS Board of Education to Hold Virtual Meeting With Limited Public Participation

Chicago TribuneChicago Board of Education to vote on $75 million coronavirus response measure during first remote meeting

Press coverage of the meeting

WTTW: CPS Approved for $75 Million in Spending to Address COVID-19 Emergency

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago school board approves $75 million to tackle COVID-19-related school needs

Sun-TimesCPS to buy new computers for students to use at home, ramp up e-learning during coronavirus shutdown

Chicago TribuneHow will Chicago-area schools make e-learning work when some kids don’t have internet? Officials vow to do ‘whatever we can to bridge the digital divide.’

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago to buy more computers and ramp up virtual learning, with details coming this week