This Week in Ed 11.2.18: New CPS data breach impacts 70,000; Plus, school ratings madness

After a temporary CPS employee was fired, she downloaded a database containing names, employee ID numbers, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates, criminal histories and any records associating individuals with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Parents who were in the process of the CPS background check and school volunteer approval process and many CPS employees are saying they received an email last night from CPS indicating their data was downloaded by the former employee.

CBS 2: Fired CPS Employee Steals Personal Data Of 70,000 People, Charged With Multiple Felonies

Note: The co-directors of our sister org, Raise Your Hand Action, have been appointed to a new College and Career Interest Task Force, as a result of some work RYHA did on student data privacy protections last session, and the first meeting is on November 8 in Springfield. RYHA will be at the meeting and will be sure to bring this latest CPS data breach to the attention of this task force. Also, here is a Toolkit which came out last month from a national organization which we work with, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy: A Practical Guide for Protecting Personal Data


A bunch of big CPS news dropped last Friday afternoon...

CPS enrollment dropped by 10K students!

An article worth a read... WBEZ: CPS Enrollment Drops by 10,000 Students


CPS released school rating levels 

The CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) is far too narrow. There are many other things that determine the quality of a school besides standardized test scores and attendance- read more in the next section below.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago releases school ratings: Fewer make the top tiers

Sun-Times: Could new CPS ratings halt South Loop H.S., save National Teachers Academy?


And THEN IL released its new school ratings this week

So now we in CPS have 2 school ratings systems (one from CPS and one from IL)- yet our schools don’t have nurses and we are desperately in need of more social workers, paraprofessionals, bilingual teachers, etc. The IL State Board of Ed (ISBE) is using a new school rating system where they are now labeling schools across IL as “underperforming” and a whole host of other unproductive names.

WBEZ attended an ISBE meeting on their new rating system last week in Melrose Park: Illinois Schools Push Back On New ‘Underperforming’ And ‘Lowest Performing’ State Labels

Here’s some initial press coverage of the new IL school ratings release:

WBEZ: 4 Out Of 5 Illinois Public Schools in Top Tiers Despite State’s Low Test Score Averages

NPR Illinois: State Labels Hundreds of Schools ‘Underperforming’


There's a mismatch between school ratings from CPS and IL 

The press (and parents!) compared the CPS school levels released Friday versus the IL school levels released Tuesday. Many of the IL ratings are in utter contradiction to the CPS rating, and there are many schools that are now Level 1 according to CPS and “underperforming” or even “lowest performing” according to the state.

Here is a great analysis of this situation provided by our sister org, Raise Your Hand Action:

Why the disparity? 70% of the score from the state is based on the PARCC test! This test has been dumped by almost every state that chose to use it originally due to its many problems. IL has already gotten rid of PARCC for spring 2019 and replaced it with a mostly new test that will include some PARCC questions, the IL Assessment of Readiness. So how can 70% of an elementary school’s quality be meaningfully determined by an obsolete test?

CPS uses the NWEA MAP test to determine a school’s “quality”, and 60% of the rating is derived from this metric.

For high school ratings, graduation rate is the the primary driver of differing ratings: 50% of the score from the state is determined by graduation rate. For CPS, grad rate is just 12.5% of the metric.

What does this mean? These labels are arbitrary, misleading, and omit so much of what matters in determining school quality, yet they guide perception, real estate values, enrollment trends and much more.

Read our parent guide on how to talk about high quality education! And find lots of resources from our forum last winter on school ratings systems here.

Sun-Times: State’s new school report cards at odds with CPS’ own ratings

WBEZ: What’s A Grade Worth? State Vs. CPS Ratings Mismatch

Chalkbeat Chicago: Illinois report card: 94 Chicago schools earn low performance rating (Some discussion in this article about high school ratings.)


Fall 2018 RYH Survey: We want to hear from YOU!

How's it going at your school(s)? How are we doing? What issues matter to you more than others? Please complete our Fall 2018 RYH Survey! This survey is 24 questions long. It will take about 10 minutes. It will be open until Monday, Nov 12. Thank you in advance for your important input.


Parent Training: Know Your Rights on 504 Plans vs IEP Plans, Monday, November 19, 6:30-8pm

Attention all parents who have kids with health needs in CPS! Join Raise Your Hand, Equip for Equality and Access Living to get your questions answered! Please RSVP here.

Downloadable & printable flyer here. Downloadable jpg file- good for sharing on social media & via email.




RYH supports a City Council hearing on CPS sexual abuse

We released this statement in response to this story in the Trib: Morning Spin: Alderman may try forcing a City Council vote for hearings on CPS sex abuse scandal. Why not be transparent and share all the new policies and practices?


RYH hosted 2 Local School Council (LSC) workshops- resources shared at link below!

Thanks to an Acting Up Award from Chicago Community Trust, we hosted two workshops for LSC members and those who care about the power of LSCs: Empowering Southside LSCs! Find the resources shared at these powerful events here.


In other news

2 Chicago Tribune reporters of the Betrayed series on The Ed Couple podcast: Episode 33- Juan Perez and Jennifer Smith Richards

Chalkbeat Chicago: At one Chicago high school, big plans amid a bilingual teacher shortage

Sun-Times: Two months into merger, Ogden principal benched after attendance problems

Evanston Review: Evanston principal sends letter to parents addressing ‘hate-filled language’ toward minority students

Chalkbeat Chicago: 5 reasons to watch Chicago’s historic charter contract negotiations

Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers: #86 Cassie Creswell and Samay Gheewala from Raise Your Hand Action

The New York Times: The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected

The New York Times: Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads


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


Teachers for Social Justice 17th Teaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair

Sat Nov 17, 10am - 4pm

Uplift Community High School

900 W. Wilson


SAVE THE DATE… Betrayed: A Discussion with reporters from the Chicago Tribune who uncovered rampant sexual abuse in CPS

Th Dec 6, 7-8:30pm

Jesse White Park and Community Center

410 W. Chicago Avenue