RYH Statements from the May 2018 Unelected CPS BOE

Two Raise Your Hand board members spoke at the May 2018 unelected CPS Board of Education meeting. Their statements are below.

We live tweet every monthly CPS BOE meeting and use the hashtag #cpsboard. A tweet worth noting is this one: Watch the powerful performance of Lindblom HS's Varsity Singers. After the performance, their Choir Director delivered this joint letter to the unelected BOE on behalf of several CPS choir directors expressing concerns about the impact of expanded graduation requirements upon Choir programs and classes. It is worth a read.

Deb Hass, CPS parent, RYH board member


Good morning. I am Deb Hass, a CPS parent and volunteer, and a board member of Raise Your Hand.


On Tuesday May 1st, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced a $14 million grant to support development of so-called "personalized learning" initiatives in 100 schools in CPS and elsewhere in the Chicago area. $4M of the grant will go to CPS, and $10M to ed tech incubator LEAP Innovations.


CZI is a for-profit, limited liability corporation owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. In addition to grants, it also makes venture capital investments in ed tech companies. And it’s responsible for the operation and development of the Summit personal learning platform, a system that has raised huge pedagogical and privacy issues, and is already in use in at least a dozen CPS schools.


Given the issues with Facebook’s chronic cavalier treatment of customers’ personal data, seeing CPS accept millions from its CEO for a project that will depend heavily on students’ personally-identifiable information raises major questions and should raise alarm.


This grant represents opening up of massive market access to the country’s third largest public school system to the CEO of a company on notice worldwide for its exploitation of consumer data.


What will CZI, the companies it controls and those it invests in be getting for this “gift” to our public schools? What personally-identifiable information will our children be asked to hand over to “personalize” their learning?


Unfortunately, as parents of public school students, we are currently not informed of what data is collected on our children by which companies. We can’t understand why CPS has tried to scuttle HB1295 in Springfield when it would require school districts to let parents know exactly this information. Your position is especially confusing because on another bill this session CPS did the right thing and recognized the need to protect students from tech companies that wanted to target ads to them.  


When Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. Senate about Facebook’s data sharing scandal, Sen Dick Durbin of IL asked him a crucial question:

“The question, basically of what information Facebook’s collecting, who they are sending it to and whether they asked me in advance permission to do. Is that a fair thing for a user of Facebook to expect?”


This is precisely the information that the Student Information Transparency Bill would require public schools and ed tech vendors to provide to families.


Instead of lobbying to keep families in the dark about what’s being collected on their children, CPS should be looking Zuckerberg’s gift horse in the mouth. The EU grilled Zuckerberg yesterday on behalf of its residents. Why isn’t CPS grilling him on behalf of our students?


Mary Hughes, CPS parent, RYH board member

You can watch video of Mary's speech here.

Dr. Jackson, you said you would like to "right the wrongs" and make up for the "sins of the past.” In reference to the ISBE findings of violations on the part of CPS that has necessitated what is essentially a state take-over of CPS Special Education Department.  As a CPS parent and volunteer special education advocate, I have yet to hear an admission of culpability on the part of CPS Leadership. Dr. Jackson and Dr. Keenan, you both were the highest-ranking authorities on Education and Special Education when Forrest Claypool rammed through Illegal practices and procedures that were intentionally designed to cut costs on the backs of our most vulnerable students. The “talking points” that these were simply mistakes and that you’ve already taken action is just lip service, denial of culpability, is simply putting frosting on a dung heap.  For advocates and stakeholders like myself, who have been figurately screaming into the void of this Board almost 2 years only to be dismissed, denied and condescended to, Mr. Clark, lying about how the inquiry process came about is insulting and is not a way to build trust. 


One of the areas we hear complaints about routinely that was not covered in the sped inquiry is the use of temporary nurses to take care of children with daily medical needs covered by 504 plans. 


For years CPS has been using temporary nurses from private agencies, often sending in a-rotating crop of untrained nurses who have inadequate time to review student files. This is unsafe and the service is often unreliable. Look to other districts like Las Vegas that do a much better job.  They have a staff LPN in every school plus a health clerk.   You could have an immediate positive impact by eliminating the nursing contract with RCM.  The quality of care is spotty and puts already medically vulnerable students in danger.