This Week in Ed 12.15.17: ISBE to Investigate CPS Sped Practices

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ISBE to investigate CPS special education practices

Following the joint letter that RYH and a number of organizations signed to ISBE, ISBE (the Illinois State Board of Education) announced at their board meeting this week that they will open up a public inquiry investigation into special education practices at CPS. You can listen to this part of the ISBE meeting here. Today the organizations that signed the joint letter received this letter from ISBE with a Framework for Public Inquiry attached.


This joint letter was written after a WBEZ report came out in November, detailing numerous concerns with the special education manual that was created last year.

Many thanks to WBEZ reporter Sarah Karp and to the many parents, teachers and advocates who have been speaking up on these issues for some time! The special ed manual wasn’t the beginning of systemic problems around special education at CPS, but it worsened an already existing problem.


If you are having trouble getting services for your child who has or needs an IEP or 504 plan, email us:


We updated this Special Education Toolkit in November and held a Special Education Forum, which you can view here.


In addition, the City Council announced that after months of being pressed by aldermen and parents, they will have a hearing on special ed this Tuesday at 11am at city hall! Email us if you want to attend.

***UPDATE Sunday, December 17: The City Council Committee meeting was cancelled. We don't know why.


Articles on interim CEO Janice Jackson

ICYMI, here’s our statement on Claypool’s resignation. Below are just a few of the articles about interim CEO Jackson.

WTTW Chicago TonightJanice Jackson: What Does CPS’ Newest Leader Bring to the Table?

WBEZ: Top Three Challenges For Homegrown Star Taking Over Chicago Schools

The Chicago ReporterCan Janice Jackson be the anti-Forrest Claypool at Chicago Public Schools?


RYH end of the year fundraising campaign!

If you value the work RYH does, we hope you can make a donation in any amount that works for you. RYH is working harder than ever to share info, plan events, train parents to advocate for their kids at the school level, at the district level at unelected board meetings, and even at the state level at ISBE hearings. We attend events around the city and do our best to share what's happening via social media so you are informed when you can't be there. Yesterday, we found out that one of the things we worked on with a broad coalition of special ed experts had a very positive outcome. There are hours and hours of work that go in to those kinds of wins. We do all this to protect and strengthen the super important institution of public education.

We do all this with a very small budget. We need to raise funds to meet that budget so we can keep doing this work. Please give if you value what we do, and don't take for granted that we will be able to continue this work without your support. Thanks!

Online donations accepted here OR please mail a check payable to Raise Your Hand to 73 W. Monroe #221, Chicago, IL 60603.


Sun-TimesCurie HS dance teacher a finalist for $1 million Global Teacher Prize

Chicago DefenderAustin Alums Hope to Breath New Life Into School and Community Through Sports

NBC Chicago: Safe Passage Workers’ Act of Winter Kindness Saves Life

In other news

Instruments stolen from Fulton ES. A two part story from the Chicago Tribune:

30 instruments stolen from South Side music classroom: ‘We just can’t do as much’

Community rallies to bring music back to South Side school after theft

Please note that one of the GoFundMe campaigns was set up by a member of our closed FB group. Kudos to her and all who came together to support this teacher, his program, and Fulton!


Sun-TimesCPS lawyer quits days after ethics report that cost Claypool his job

WTTW Chicago TonightCPS Inspector General on Resignation of CPS CEO Forrest Claypool

A 2 minute video worth your time: 2 School Districts, 1 Ugly Truth

WBEZ: Why A Child’s First 1,100 Days Are Crucial For Academic Success

Huffington PostLiteracy, Politics, Racism: Ingredients in the Chicago Public Ed Stew

ChalkbeatA ‘portfolio’ of schools? How a nationwide effort to disrupt urban school districts is gaining traction

ForbesHow America is Breaking Public Education

Upcoming Events

⟹ The Future of Education in Bronzeville

Hosted by The Mid-South Education Association

Sat, Dec 16, 10:00am

Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lake Park Avenue, Room 212

Guest Speaker: Jitu Brown, Executive Director, Journey for Justice Alliance

Breakfast will be provided.


⟹ CPS Community Meetings & Public Hearings on CPS Proposed School Actions

At the link above, click on the “School Actions” tab for full list of proposed school actions as well as 2 community meetings and 1 hearing for each proposed action.

January 2018

Various locations


⟹ January Monthly Meeting: Chicago Unelected Board of Ed

Online registration to speak or observe Mon Jan 22, 10:30am

Meeting Wed Jan 24, 10:30am

CPS, 42 W. Madison

Please contact us at if you need more information or advice.


What Makes A School Great? Public Forum

Hosted by Raise Your Hand, Fair Test, CTU, CUE, Generation All

Tues, Jan 30, 7:00pm

Kenwood High School, 5015 S. Blackstone