This Week in Ed 12.7.18: NTA Victory!

Congratulations to the NTA community on their historic victory; NTA will remain open as an elementary school! For details see #1 in our "public ed news this week" list below.


Meanwhile, CPS triples down with more temp nurses

The unelected, mayor appointed CPS Board of Ed approved a 2.5 year, $26M contract for more temporary agency nurses on Wednesday. A group of RYH parents have met with CPS 3 times regarding nursing and told CPS that temps have put their children’s lives in danger. Parents & RYH have offered other solutions after researching what other districts do. CPS instead is tripling down on unsafe, unreliable care in lieu of sustainable solutions.

Here's a quick thread of tweets from a press conference before the meeting. Here’s a parent interview on WGN. Here’s some press coverage:

Sun-Times: CPS to spend $26M to address nursing shortage under plan ripped by parent group

Sun-Times: CPS board approves whole agenda: $26 million for temp nurses, charter closures (Powerful video of 11-year-old Anne U, CPS student with diabetes, who testified at the BOE meeting about her nursing situation- she needs a nurse and so do other kids like her.)

Thank you to all the parents and students who are speaking out about this! You can email us at if you have a story to share or want to get involved.

For more on the BOE meeting, here’s a thread of live RYH tweets.

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So much Chicago public education news this week! 

1. NTA to remain open as an elementary school!

Monday afternoon, National Teachers Academy (NTA), an elementary school in the South Loop, was granted a preliminary injunction, pausing its closure. CPS had planned to convert it into a high school for students from the South Loop, Chinatown, the Gap, and parts of Bridgeport.

Monday night, CPS announced that they will NOT be moving forward with their plan and NTA will remain open as an elementary school.

Congratulations to the NTA community! Your advocacy inspires us all!

Sun-Times: CPS pulls plug on new South Loop H.S.; National Teachers Academy to remain open

WBEZ: Judge Stops Conversion Of Beloved Chicago Elementary School Into A High School

At the BOE on Wednesday, the situation was brought up by CEO Jackson. The Sun-Times covers her comments here: CPS will invest in existing Near South Side HS now that NTA plan is done. And, yes, much of the community had been saying this all along...

2. WBEZ has a new excellent series: A Generation Of School Closings

WBEZ tracked all the school openings and closings since 2002 and found that 88% of the 70k students impacted by a shake-up have been black. There have been 200 school closings and 190 school openings over 17 years. It's also interesting to see that a number of schools that have been opened since 2002 are no longer around. This is really a great piece worth a read and there are several audio pieces within. There is also an event hosted by WBEZ next Thursday, December 13, at Overton ES, 5:30-7:30pm. See more details & register here.

WBEZ: Vacant School Buildings Litter Chicago Neighborhoods After Mass School Closings

3. Charter school news

There’s a lot going on in this realm: the first charter school strike in the nation is happening right here in Chicago at Acero/UNO, and two CPS charters were revoked and three CPS new charter proposals were denied at Wednesday’s BOE meeting. CPS cited the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA) as justification for one of the school’s rejections.

Last week the IL General Assembly failed to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have prevented the IL State Charter Commission from overturning district decisions on opening and closing charters. At least two of the three new schools whose applications were turned down are planning to appeal their rejection to the State Commission.

Chicago Tribune: Nation’s first strike at charter school comes as alternative movement slows in Chicago (Good overview of all the recent charter news in Chicago and IL)

Chalkbeat Chicago: What to watch in Chicago as nation's first charter strike stretches to day 4

NPR IL: Who Should Decide If A Charter School Can Open?

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago school inventory report starts to surface in Chicago decision making

4. CPS sues the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary DeVos

In September, the feds withheld grant dollars to CPS because of Title IX violations, brought to light by the Trib’s investigative “Betrayed” series and due to recently filed student complaints brought to the DOE. The CPS BOE is asking a judge to reverse this decision and to not allow the DOE to send the money to another district until this case is settled.

Chicago Tribune: Chicago school board sues Department of Education, alleging $4 million penalty over sexual abuse problems was unlawful

5. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Camelot Education, and the SUPES crew back in the news

Camelot Education, a for profit company, won millions of dollars in contracts from imprisoned ex-CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. CPS IG Nick Schuler found that Camelot had access to Byrd-Bennett via her fellow SUPES crew, Solomon and Vranas. The CPS BOE is not following the IG’s recommendation and, instead, reached a $1M settlement. Fascinating & infuriating.

Chicago Tribune: CPS reaches $1 million settlement with company that won business with help from convicted ex-CEO


Acting Up award winners!

As we shared with you in earlier emails, RYH was an #OnTheTable2018 #ChiTrustActingUp award winner! We were able to host two workshops entitled, Empowering Southside LSCs. The Chicago Community Trust attended the second one and wrote this great blog post about the workshop and took some beautiful pictures: Southside Trainings Empower Local School Council Members to Confront Education Inequality. We are so grateful we had this opportunity and we appreciate everyone who was able to attend! #LSCPower


Betrayed: A Conversation with Chicago Tribune Reporters

Thanks to those of you who were able to come out to this conversation last night! Thanks to Chicago Tribune reporters George Papajohn, David Jackson, and Jennifer Smith Richards for joining us. We provided one handout which listed websites to read and learn more. You can find a pdf (with direct links) here and you can see it below and here as a jpg. You can watch the event here




What a whirlwind of education news this week!

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In other news

Chicago Public Fools blog: 4 great changes I didn’t see coming to CPS, and a farewell

WBEZ: DePaul, Harold Washington College To Create Affordable Path To Bachelor’s

Sun-Times: CPS targets just one school with no kids in first year after closing moratorium

The Hechinger Report: 3 lessons from data on how students are actually using educational apps and software at school

Network for Public Education Action (NPE Action): Tell DeVos: Protect the victims of sexual violence

Upcoming events

CPS ARA Meetings (ARA = Annual Regional Analysis)

Dates & locations vary. The next one is Tuesday, December 11, at Sullivan High School, 6-8pm. You can find the schedule for these meetings here and here. Here is our post about what to expect at the #CPSARA meetings, what questions to consider & ask, and more details of what we’ve learned about the process.


Chalkbeat Chicago presents: Chicago: Education for All? The city’s next mayor & the future of public schools

Wed Dec 12, 5-7:30pm

Malcolm X College

1900 W Jackson Blvd


WBEZ hosts A Generation of School Closings

Th Dec 13, 5:30-7:30pm

Overton Elementary

221 E. 49th Street


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