RYH statement calling for reinstatement of Saucedo teacher Sarah Chambers

Raise Your Hand stands in solidarity with Saucedo special education teacher Sarah Chambers.  In a transparently political and retaliatory move, CPS has unjustly suspended Sarah and is seeking her permanent dismissal.

Sarah has been one of the most visible and vocal defenders of special education in Chicago Public Schools. Her fight to ensure that her own and all CPS students receive a free and appropriate education has protected and restored services crucial to thousands of children’s well-being.

Sarah has also been a true ally for LGBTQ students at Saucedo. And her work with a coalition of test resisters—parents, students and teachers—from across the city has played a key role in illuminating the harm done by high-stakes standardized testing to students’ educational experience and our school system as a whole.

The very first tenet of the Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators is Responsibility to Students:

“The Illinois educator is committed to creating, promoting and implementing a learning environment that is accessible to each student, enables students to achieve the highest academic potential and maximizes their ability to succeed in academic and employment settings as a responsible member of society.”

Persecuting Sarah tells Chicago teachers, parents, and students that teachers like Sarah who act in accordance with this Code and take their responsibility and commitment to their students seriously risk losing their livelihood altogether if a student’s right to an education impinges on the political goals of those running our public schools.

As a parent organization whose mission is to defend the public education system and the provision of high-quality public education for all Chicago’s children, we condemn this attempt to silence a teacher who is fighting for the same goal.

We call for her immediate reinstatement. In a district with more than 110 empty special education teacher positions as of the end of March, it is an injustice to Sarah’s students to deprive them of time with a skilled and caring professional educator, certified in special education for no reason other than her staunch defense of their needs.