RYH Statements at the Oct 2020 CPS BOE Meeting

Our prepared statements are below- or will be by late in the morning. The meeting will be live streamed on the CPS YouTube Channel starting at 10:30AM. Sometimes they are a few minutes late so keep refreshing the page until the live feed shows up. You can follow us on Twitter for some live tweeting: @ILRaiseYourHand. For more live tweets, please follow the #ChiDocumenter assigned to the meeting. Press coverage is far below. 

Do you have a comment you want to share with the CPS BOE? Visit www.cpsboe.org, scroll down to “Written Comments” and click on “Board Meeting Oct 28 Form." This link takes you to a Google form. If you have trouble accessing the form your CPS child might be logged into their CPS account on your device- log them off, then proceed again. This form will close Th, Oct 29, 5PM.

Jennie Biggs, CPS Parent & RYH's Communications & Outreach Director 

(Note: This is a prepared statement. This is over 2 minutes so at the meeting some of this will get cut out.)

The bottom line: There is no place for CPS parents, caregivers, students, & educators to give feedback nor get questions answered about pandemic schooling. This is a big fail on the part of the district. This is also eroding trust in CPS even further. 

Raise Your Hand is a member of Grassroots Education Movement or GEM. 

Families need answers. 

Pre-K and cluster parents must indicate whether they intend to return to in-person learning by today and CPS has done nothing to answer their detailed questions. 

Every day GEM organizations hear from our leaders: the positives, the negatives, their ideas on how to improve remote learning, and questions they have about in person learning. However, families and educators have nowhere to go with this feedback or with these questions - CPS has been silent and there is no engagement method or mechanism in place.

You cannot center equity if you keep parents of color out of the decision making

It is especially egregious that we are hearing nothing from the district as both the city and state are surging in COVID positivity rates. COVID affects Black and Brown populations more seriously - there are many zip codes that are 3 times the city’s COVID rate, which is 7.6%. 

Parents have questions. Teachers have questions. The 40 elected officials who also wrote a letter to CPS have questions. This is why the hashtag #CPSTalkToUs was trending #1 in Chicago - we want and deserve answers and authentic engagement.

LSC Elections are 3 weeks away and should be managed in a way that maintains/restores trust in this most local democratic process. 

The LSCs.4.All coalition sent a letter to the OLSCR and this Board on Oct 15 asking for corrective action and clear direction because there was none. 

We understand COVID presents unique challenges; but this process has been rife with confusing misinformation at the school level and spread across the community. The lack of clear instructions and last minute notifications is too much. 

A failure to communicate, should not become a burden on the people who are already going through too much. 

Just yesterday, OLSCR notified candidates that they have less than 48 hours to return candidate literature to the school. At a minimum, we’re asking that this deadline be extended until noon on Monday, November 2. 

In order to have a fair and open election, we are asking the district to communicate with the public by updating the website and using other media to maximize participation on the hybrid voting options methods and safety protocols.

***UPDATE 10.30*NEW CPS LSC Info* "The deadline to submit the Candidate Literature for all parent and community representatives and for the teacher and non-teacher staff representatives has been extended to noon on November 4th. Principals will get it posted by November 6th." Email screenshot.


Cassandra Kaczocha, CPS Parent & RYH Board Member

Please read her statement on the Chicago Unheard blog: Raise Your Hand Calls on Board of Education to Let Go of ‘Normal’ and Innovate For Chicago Kids


Press Coverage

WBEZ: Amid Outcry From Parents And Teachers, Chicago Public Schools Officials Insist They Can Safely Reopen

Chalkbeat Chicago‘It’s our moral obligation to do everything we can’: Chicago school board defends reopening plan

Chicago TribuneParents seek answers about masks, distancing, pods as CPS looks to reopen schools and plans for simultaneous teaching of kids who remain home

Sun-TimesCPS board president says reopening has to happen eventually to help vulnerable students, acknowledges it will be before ‘100% ... are satisfied that it is safe’

Chicago TribuneSexual misconduct cases in CPS are down since remote learning began, but more misbehavior has moved online

Chicago TribuneCPS reports most weekly COVID-19 cases since pandemic began, but the numbers remain low. Can they stay that way if schools reopen next quarter?