Below you will find some of the latest news, upcoming events and resources. Make sure you follow us on social media! Things change on the regular and we’ll try to keep you informed.
Join our amazing RYH team! We are hiring a full time parent organizer. You can find the job description and how to apply here. Please share this widely.
UPDATE: Elected Representative School Board Bill (ERSB | HB2267)
TL; DR: Mayor Lightfoot and Senate President Harmon delay democracy to Chicago’s Black & Latinx families. You can read the full statement from the GEM Coalition here.
We are outraged that despite widespread public support, support from two thirds of the State Senate, and a Mayor that ran on a campaign promise of an elected school board, HB2267 was once again not called for a vote. Chicago will remain the only school district in Illinois without an elected school board. We will continue to fight for the passage of the Elected Representative School Board bill in the 102nd General Assembly. We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. Democracy has been delayed in Chicago but it will not be denied. Leaders in the coalition will meet later this week to determine steps to get a new ERSB bill moving along and passed by May.
We thank all of you who made phone calls, sent emails, and encouraged others to do the same over the past week or so. We also thank all of you who have been with us for several years fighting for this. And we thank our fierce community org partners who have been fighting for this for well over a decade! Stay tuned… the fight continues.
Resource for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Chicago & Illinois
Pandemic Schooling News
Since we last talked, of course, much more has happened. Here are some highlights:
- We are collecting LSC letters or resolutions and posting them here. Send any that are missing to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are currently 58 in the folder and we’ve heard of several more.
- Most CPS students- including all high schoolers- will continue with remote learning. Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago helped 55,000 students get free internet. Much work remains.
- CPS sent an email to parents Friday. You can read it here. There is a big section about attendance expectations. We recommend reading it. Parents must call or send a written note to the school to report an absence (pretty standard procedure but we know some schools do it a bit differently.) We recommend doing what is asked & following up with an email too.
So what happened this week? Chalkbeat Chicago has a live CPS reopening blog. They update it a few times a day as needed. It also links to full articles (recent & older) in case you want to read or understand more. Very handy! It helped us put this summary together:
On Mon, Jan 11:
- The first day back in school facilities for CPS PreK and cluster program students who opted for in person learning. Press coverage: WBEZ | Chalkbeat Chicago | Sun-Times | Chicago Tribune | WTTW | Block Club Chicago
- There was also a subject matter hearing at City Council about the CPS reopening plan which ran from 10AM- 5:30PM.
- Chalkbeat Chicago / Block Club Chicago: Care rooms? Simultaneous learning? Chicago aldermen push school officials for more answers on reopening
- Thanks to Chicago Documenters (an awesome part of City Bureau’s work) we know that there is a recording of this hearing here. A determined parent poked around and found a direct link to video of this hearing here.
- NEW! Some alderfolks are calling for a second hearing by Jan 31.
- The IL Senate passed a bill to repeal Section 4.5 of the IL Educational Labor Relations Act- basically giving CTU the same bargaining rights as all other IL teachers unions; these powers were taken from CTU- and only CTU- in 1995. It now goes to the governor for signing and this is a big deal. Sun-Times: CTU notches huge victory in bid to expand bargaining power
On Tues, Jan 12:
- Some teachers were locked out of their Google accounts (thus, their classrooms) because they did not report to school buildings and, instead, attempted to teach remotely. Impacted parents (and students) are not happy about this. WBEZ | Sun-Times | WTTW
- Also: Block Club Chicago: Teacher At Uptown’s McCutcheon School Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Forcing Principal, 4 Others Into Quarantine
On Wed, Jan 13:
- Teachers hosted a teach out at CPS Board of Ed President Miguel del Valle’s house. Sun-Times: Locked-out CPS employees teach outside home of Chicago Board of Education president | WTTW: CTU Educators Hold Teach-Out at Board of Education President’s Home
Upcoming: 3 CPS “Ask The Expert” Sessions- SpEd Session Added
CPS is hosting an “Ask The Expert” series. They are also posting the video afterwards on the CPS Family & Community Engagement (FACE) YouTube channel. All sessions are at 4PM.
- Register for Health session (Jan 14)
- Register for Facilities session (Jan 21)
- Register for Special Education (Jan 28)
Local School Council (LSC) News
Welcome to all newly seated Local School Council Members! We are looking forward to seeing your leadership and collaboration to create schools that Chicago’s children deserve.
As a reminder, full LSCs are empowered LSCs. Be sure to fill any vacancies that may exist. We created a spreadsheet depicting schools with open seats by role: parent, community, non-teaching staff and teachers: Fill Your School's Vacancy! Uncertified LSC Election Results by Type (RYH). *List current as of Dec 1, 2020...changes may have occurred due to post election challenges.
If you are a LSC member and would like to connect to a larger group of LSC members from across the city, please email us: email@example.com.
As noted above, we have a Google folder where we are posting LSC letters and resolutions about the CPS reopening plan- there are 57 in the folder so far. Kudos to Clinton ES LSC who was the first (that we know of) LSC and really inspired many LSCs to take action, which includes setting up spaces for dialogue and engagement. If we are missing your letter, please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The completion of background checks has been deferred since LSC meetings will continue to be virtual- in other words, you do NOT have to get fingerprinted right now. You can find communication from CPS on that here.
LSC Training | Module 1: Roles and Responsibilities
Hosted by LSCs 4 All | Th, Jan 14 | 6PM | Register
SpEd News: ODLSS FAB Meeting Tonight + Student Specific Corrective Action (SSCA)
- The Family Advisory Board (FAB) meeting will be held virtually Th, Jan 14, 6-8PM. The agenda + link to join the meeting is here.
- CPS added a SpEd session to their “Ask an Expert” series (see flyer above): Th, Jan 28, 4PM. Register here.
Was your child's Special Ed, Pre-K teacher or Clinician suddenly absent Tuesday? As many of you may already know, CPS locked out 143 teachers/clinicians because they were providing remote learning services from their homes rather than from a CPS school building, for fear of their health and the health of their school communities. If your child's special education teacher or clinician was absent today and no special ed teacher or clinician was provided, your child was denied FAPE. Please let ODLSS Leadership know that your child's teachers and clinicians were not online today and that she should end the stand-off and allow teachers to provide remote learning services from home. Contact Dr. Stephanie Jones, email@example.com, 773-553-2557 (Chief of ODLSS) or Twitter @sjonesphd.
Remember when CPS violated special education law in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years? CPS is finally getting around to providing families with “Student Specific Corrective Action (SSCA),” which is $$ for denied busing services and actual additional outside services for students who qualify. For parents who would like to talk to an attorney for free to get more information about SSCA and if their student qualifies, you can call Equip for Equality's SSCA Hotline at 312-895-7231. English and Spanish speaking attorneys are available. The CPS website about SSCA can be found here. Please share this information with other parents.
In Other News
Save The Date!
Sat, Jan 30, 2021 - LSC Summit 2021 | 10AM-2PM | Virtual | FB post with flyer
Toward A New Agenda for Public Education: Recommendations To The Biden Administration
With Diane Ravitch
Hosted by DePaul College of Education
Wed, Feb 10 | 5:30-6:30PM CST | Register | Flyer
Legal Aid Chicago’s New Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline Project
This project is aimed at addressing the institutional racism that obstructs pathways to success for youth. To accomplish this goal, Legal Aid Chicago is providing legal representation to prevent school push-out and expunge juvenile records.
Legal Aid Chicago is currently accepting school discipline and juvenile records expungement cases. School discipline cases are not limited to expulsions; they also include informal school push-out, suspensions, alternative school transfers, and discipline during remote learning. It is important to note that students still have discipline rights during remote learning, and exclusions from the virtual classroom are still discipline.
In addition to representing youth in these cases, they are available to do trainings and know-your-rights presentations to community members or service providers on school discipline rights, remote learning, juvenile records expungement, or other areas of law. They hope to ensure that parents and students understand their legal rights and are encouraged to seek legal representation.
Below is their new flyer announcing the project. Please share the information with anyone who may need legal assistance. Sharing the flyer on your social media is encouraged. If you have any questions, would like additional materials, or are interested in scheduling a training or know-your-rights presentation, please do not hesitate to contact Legal Aid Chicago.