This Week in Ed 10.26.18: CPS will release school levels today

This week’s RYH email newsletter brought to you by the letters S, Q, R, and P!

A few things to keep in mind as CPS releases its school level ratings today (also known as the School Quality Ratings Policy or SQRP):

  • A school's level is mostly determined by standardized test scores and attendance. There’s so much more that matters in determining the quality of a school.
  • The SQRP does not tell parents or the public enough about what’s actually happening in a school.
  • The state has a new school rating system. We in CPS are about to have 2 school ratings and each system is based on a different standardized test. (More on this new state system below.)
  • CPS is not required to have its own rating system.
  • You can learn more about What Makes A School Great and different school rating systems via resources from our program on school ratings last winter.
  • It doesn’t have to be this way.

Everyone should read this excellent post by a CPS dad! The way CPS assesses "quality seats" is far too narrow, doesn't tell us much of what's happening inside a school building, and this parent breaks it down for us in a great way: What the Chicago school ratings don’t tell you


CPS Annual Regional Analysis (ARA): Much of the data used is from the CPS SQRP

Related to the above is the new CPS Annual Regional Analysis (ARA). In the ARA, so much of the data is generated using the SQRP. There is much in the ARA about “quality” seats and “quality” schools- quality defined by the SQRP- please see above.

The data provided in the ARA does not constitute a comprehensive foundation for allocating resources or making high-stakes decisions about schools. And now we are experiencing a new initiative in which CPS is inviting schools to submit proposals for programmatic investments such as IB, fine and performing arts, and STEM. The inherent lack of equity in asking under resourced schools to put these applications in, is ludicrous. Making schools compete for resources and specialized programs reinforces a system of haves and have nots. It gives up on the "what makes a great school" conversation. This has got to stop.

CPS is currently conducting ARA meetings across the city: 3 have happened so far and the next one is Wed, November 7, for the South Side Region. We are working on a post about what to expect at these meetings- stay tuned! You can find the schedule for these meetings here and here. We joined with Blocks Together and Generation All to write a statement about the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA).


Nursing campaign in the works

RYH is organizing parents, meeting with CPS to discuss major issues with medical compliance and competency of care for children with medical needs, and pushing for a change in the design system. If your child isn’t receiving services, has no one trained on their emergency medications, or has a rotating crop of temp nurses who are untrained, send us an email

Thanks to parent Laurel H for speaking at the BOE meeting this week and sharing the major struggles she’s had in getting care for her son. You can watch video of Laurel’s statement here.


The unelected CPS Board of Education met this week

We attended, spoke at, and tweeted from the monthly unelected BOE meeting. You can find our prepared statement here along with links to two video testimonies. You can find most of the tweets at the hashtag #cpsboard. We have a thread of live tweets from the public comment section here.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago schools look beyond closures to tackle declining student population

Sun-Times: Before closing a school, CPS will try to boost its enrollment under new policy


New IL school level rating system influenced by the CPS SQRP: A report from the ISBE meeting on their new accountability & support system

On Wednesday evening, we attended, tweeted from, and asked some questions at an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) question and answer session on their new accountability system. This new system came about because of changes in the federal education law. IL 2018 Report Cards for every IL public school will be released Wednesday, October 31, so you will be hearing more about this in the coming days. During the meeting, ISBE complimented the CPS ratings system several times (yep, the SQRP which we spoke about above) and stated that the new state system is modeled in part on what CPS has done. You can find our thread of tweets from the meeting here and we used the hashtag #ISBERoadShow.

We were able to ask the following 5 questions: 3 about opt out and 2 about the inclusion of attendance in the rating system and our concerns.


You can find the answers here: Question 1, Question 2 (not sure we got a real answer on this one), Question 3, Question 4, More on Question 4 (3 different ISBE people were answering Question 4; they are definitely talking about this internally- attendance will definitely be in the rating system as it is something valued and important for student achievement; ISBE is trying to figure out the best way to message the intentions of placing attendance in the rating system to IL schools and districts; they emphasized the importance of school attendance for student achievement but recognized that some of the punitive messages we have heard from CPS and suburban schools were problematic) Question 5. After the meeting two different ISBE reps came over and encouraged RYH to electronically submit our comments and questions.

Click here for some notes from the meeting.


In other news

The latest in the Chicago Tribune’s Betrayed series: School workers must report suspected abuse- it’s the law. But at CPS, few have been punished for failing to do so.


Chicago Magazine: Eve Ewing still believes in Chicago’s public schools

WBEZ: Chicago Charter Schools To Take Strike Authorization Vote

Chalkbeat Chicago: Staying ‘neutral’ after the Jason Van Dyke verdict was a tough ask of Chicago teachers like me

WBEZ: One Mom’s Struggle With Strict CPS Policy: ‘He Is Sinking’

Forbes: Secretary Duncan, Here’s How Schools Really Work


Upcoming events

CPS ARA Briefings (ARA = Annual Regional Analysis)

Dates & locations vary; the next one is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov 7

You can find the schedule for these meetings here and here. We joined with Blocks Together and Generation All to write a statement about the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA). You can find the ARA here. We are working on a post about what to expect at these meetings. Stay tuned!


IL Education Budget Hearing- Chicago: IL State Board of Education Meeting

Fri Nov 16, 11am - 3pm

Thompson Center

100 W. Randolph


SAVE THE DATE: Special ed training: What’s the difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP? How and when should you file an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaint?  Join Raise Your Hand, Equip for Equality and Access Living for a training.

Mon Nov 19, 6:30-8pm

Access Living

115 W. Chicago

Look out for a registration link soon!