RYH Statements at the Sept 2020 CPS BOE Meeting

Our statements from today's meeting are below. 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: @_KellyGarcia_. 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 Aug 23 Form” (yes, this must be a typo). 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, Sept 24, 5PM.


Jianan Shi, RYH's Executive Director

CPS needs to include families in all remote or hybrid learning planning from here on out. Community inclusion isn’t a set of single moments via survey or town hall but an iterative process because planning is an iterative process. 

We are 7 weeks away from the end of Quarter 1. We were 7 weeks away from the start of school when the hybrid plan was released. Two weeks after the announcement, CPS moved to remote learning because you responded to the data from parents of color and their preference to stay at home due to safety. While many things this year were out of our collective control, CPS does have the control in letting those most directly impacted be part of the decision making process consistently. Let’s not rush into hybrid learning the same way we rushed into remote learning.  

An example of where this could have been useful is the current proposal about reopening the school building for some special education students. Remote learning is far from perfect and there are issues with its rigidity, if it's developmentally appropriate and its preference for normality over restoration. We all agree that students with special needs have struggled with this remote learning environment and we need to serve them better. However, like we said in the summer and in our report, the devil is in the details - we must see how CPS is going to do this feasibly and with fidelity. 

While we want to provide for those with the most need, we need to work together to address all of their needs in a plan that parents can trust. Some of our DL students have a higher likelihood for comorbidities and have alternative communication systems - how will we keep them safe? How will we serve our low incidence students who may struggle with social distancing and transitions or those with a 1-1 aide 100% of the time in school? How will evaluations be staffed? We can float all the ideas we want but CPS must include parents in the planning. 

I also hope we continue the conversation around Chicago Connected and until we get the 65,000 families who are not yet connected connected and the families who don’t qualify with hotspots, we cannot use grading or attendance to punish students or schools. 

Mary Fahey Hughes, CPS Parent & RYH's Parent Liaison for Special Education

Hello Board President Del Valle, Board Members and Dr. Jackson.

My name is Mary Hughes, I am the Special Education Parent Liaison with Raise Your Hand.  

CPS has just unilaterally released its second ODLSS Remote Learning Guidance for this school year. ODLSS administrators say that this document is only “guidance,” but many schools are treating it as gospel. For Principals and teachers who find they can’t make remote learning work with the directives currently given, they need explicit clarification that individualization, including accommodations and modifications around screen time and the length of the school day are allowable for students with IEPs in the remote learning setting and that parents should have input into their child’s remote learning plan. It is unrealistic to think that this almost 70-page document is usable for parents who are not teachers, non-English speakers or simply overwhelmed with the task of trying to facilitate remote special education for their disabled children. The communication between ODLSS and special education stakeholders needs to be expanded and sharpened and staff and families need to be able to provide feedback on this expanding, changing guidance. We ask that you please create an ongoing, transparent public comment forum for this evolving special education guidance.  Remote Special Education cannot work without parent, teacher and school administration support, input and collaboration. 


Press Coverage

Chicago TribuneCPS plans for reopening schools still uncertain as parents share remote learning woes: ‘It’s just not working'

Clalkbeat ChicagoWhen and how will Chicago decide about reopening school buildings? Parents press for answers.

La VozMiles de estudiantes de CPS aún no han asistido a las clases virtuales, dicen las autoridades

Chalkbeat ChicagoThousands of students are missing from Chicago’s virtual classrooms. Here’s the plan to find them.

Sun-TimesA remote learning debate rages: How much computer time is too much?

Sun-TimesThousands of CPS students still haven’t attended virtual classes this fall, officials say

Chicago TribuneFederal investigators seek to question 3 CPS employees; Board of Ed pays for lawyers to represent them

Disturbing Story from the Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools pays $400,000 to settle lawsuits alleging physical abuse against 2 special education students by staff