This Week in Ed 1.9.20: CPS Inspector General report released, latest space utilization data, and so many CPS meetings!

Welcome back! 2020 will be a year full of parent advocacy! 

LSC Elections are in April! LSC Summit on January 25!

Local School Council Elections are Wed, April 22 (elementary schools) and Th, April 23 (high schools). Let’s kick off the LSC election season on the right foot!

LSC Summit: Elections 2020

Saturday, January 25; 10am - 2pm

Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll Avenue

Register here

Facebook event page here

More information and downloadable flyers here- please share!

Hosted by the LSCs.4.All coalition: 
Lugenia Burns Hope Center, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Pilsen Alliance, Chicago United for Equity (CUE), Northside Action for Justice, Blocks Together, Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education (RYH), Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)

LSC Summit: Elections 2020 is for current LSC members and those potentially interested in running for LSC. We will have a panel session and 4 workshops on how to create engaged and effective LSCs. LSC Candidate materials are available now: CPS LSC Elections web page.


RYH parent organizer for 2020 LSC Elections

We are truly excited to announce that Natasha Erskine, CPS parent with much LSC experience, is joining the RYH team as a part time parent organizer with a focus on 2020 LSC Elections.

Welcome, Natasha!!!

You can contact her at

Be on the look out for many more LSC election related events and information!



CPS releases 2019-20 space utilization data 

On Jan 2, CPS released its annual space utilization data using their faulty formula. Please see our resources from our Schools as Anchors event we hosted last summer, especially if your school is labeled as "underutilized."

Chalkbeat Chicago: More Chicago schools fall below the capacity line. Is yours on the list? Make sure you read until the end to read some great quotes & actual reality shared by a CPS parent & LSC member. You can search for a particular school within this article. 

The CPS Facility Standards web page is where you can find the space utilization data & methodology. 

Chalkbeat Chicago dives deeper into the issue here: The real enrollment challenge in Chicago: what to do with all those empty school seats. We encourage you to analyze your space utilization label given by CPS and start collecting your own data on how your school is truly utilized. 


CPS OIG releases the annual report

You can find the full CPS OIG FY2019 Annual Report here

WBEZ: CPS Inspector General Report Details Sexual Misconduct and audio of an interview with CPS OIG on WBEZ’s Reset program here.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Fraud, waste, misconduct: Inspector General’s report details year of cases in Chicago schools

We’d also like to draw your attention to this from the Sun-Times: Vendor bribed CPS employee with vacation home stay during bid for $30M contract, inspector general says. A CPS nursing services vendor received a "different, much smaller contract" in Dec 2018. Stay with us here... A group of CPS parents organized through RYH had been meeting with the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS) staff starting in Sept 2018, to discuss the inadequate, inconsistent and unreliable level of nursing care available for many CPS students with medical care needs. We hoped to shine a light on the ways parents see the current system putting our children at risk and to provide recommendations to improve the quality and consistency of nursing care in CPS. At each meeting, the RYH Nursing Group provided numerous suggestions for new ways that CPS could manage nursing services and improve care. In October, CPS personnel assured these parents that they would be releasing a plan in December 2018 that would address the parent concerns. The plan provided consisted of increasing the budget for temporary nursing services by $26M and increasing the pool of temporary agency nurses- that’s where this vendor comes in. Read more about the RYH Nursing Group efforts in a report we submitted to the Rahm appointed CPS BOE in Feb 2019. 


There are so many upcoming CPS meetings…

➡️ LSC Advisory Board: Mon, Jan 13; 6pm; CPS Garfield Offices, 2651 West Washington

➡️ CPS Board of Ed Early Childhood Committee: Tues, Jan 14, 5:30pm; Azuela ES, 4707 W. Marquette- yes, this is new! RSVP here. CPS Facebook post which provides more info.

➡️ CPS Board of Ed: Wed, Jan 22, 10:30am; CPS, 42 W, Madison. Online registration to speak or attend begins on Fri, Jan 17, 10:30am, (Note the change in registration day due to the holiday on Mon, Jan 20. Agenda will post at 10am on Fri, Jan 17.)

➡️ CPS School Funding Working Group meetings: In Dec, Mayor Lightfoot and CPS announced that they will “...begin a community process to identify potential opportunities to further strengthen school funding.” School Funding Working Group public meetings:

  • Wednesday, Jan 29, 6–8pm,  Amundsen High School, 5110 N. Damen Ave
  • Thursday, Jan 30, 6–8pm, Michele Clark High School, 5101 W. Harrison St
  • Saturday, Feb 1, 11am – 1pm, Corliss High School, 821 E. 103rd St
  • Wednesday, Feb 5, 6–8pm, Hammond Elementary, 2819 W. 21st Pl
  • Thursday, Feb 6, 6–8pm, Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St
  • Saturday, Feb 8, 11am–1pm, Roberto Clemente High School, 1147 N. Western Ave


Special education events & news

The  next CPS Diverse Learner Parent Advisory Council Meeting is TONIGHT, Th, Jan 9, 6-8:00pm, CPS Garfield Park Office, 2651 W. Washington Blvd. The ODLSS PAC has a Twitter account here. Here’s a tweet with a list of upcoming meetings

Alcott ES Diverse Learner committee is hosting "Navigating the Special Education Process" presented by Mary Fahey Hughes, special education parent liaison with IL Raise Your Hand. Tues, Jan 14, 6pm; Alcott ES; 2625 N. Orchard, Room 302. Materials will be provided to create an organized and effective IEP binder. Feel free to bring your child's IEP documents if you would like. This event is open to all so feel free to invite friends. Please RSVP to by January 12th, so we have enough materials on hand. You are welcome to still attend even if you don't RSVP. 

Autism in the House Dance Party: Sun, Jan 19, 6:30-8:30pm; Ages 16 - 22; Trigger Chicago, 2801 W. Addison; Suggested Donation: $5 - $10. Register here

Good read! Chicago Tribune: 17-year-old Highland Park boy with nonverbal autism blogs to reach others like him: ‘People need to stop underestimating us’

Healthy Schools Campaign is collecting testimonials from advocates, service providers, school administrators and health staff, families, students, etc. on the importance of having quality school health services, as part of the effort to support free care, but also in terms of expanding school health services in general.  Please submit a testimonial and/or share with your networks across the state - it only takes two minutes to complete. Link here

Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD), Chicago’s Metropolitan Area Parent Training and Information Center can provide you with no cost Special Education advocacy help. All FRCD asks of parents who want an advocate to help them navigate the special education process is that you complete one of their know-your-rights trainings so you will be empowered with knowledge that will benefit your child.  




2019 CTU Strike… still in the news

Chalkbeat Chicago: Three reasons why Chicago’s veteran pay dispute is something to watch

WBEZ: $25 Million Chicago Teacher Payout Causing New Conflict Between Union And CPS

Sun-Times: After 66,000 CPS students missed 1st strike makeup day, many kids skip 2nd one Thursday — will more stay home Friday?

Sun-Times: Few crossed Chicago teachers’ picket lines to work during October school strike


Give CPS feedback

Upcoming CPS policy and rule changes (direct link

CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) (direct link)


In other news

WTTW: State Legislators Search for Answers After Bombshell Isolation Room Report

Sun-Times: La gentrificación en Pilsen está vaciando las escuelas públicas (Published in English in late Nov here.)

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago’s teaching corps is becoming whiter. How the district hopes to entice — and keep — more teachers of color

WBEZ: New Leader Aims to Promote Equity In Chicago Schools Without ‘Losers And Winners’

Worth a read

South Side Weekly: Queering the Curriculum

Chicago Tribune: The Takedown

Chalkbeat: 10 stories that defined K-12 education in the 2010s

Chalkbeat: Eight lessons we learned from education research in 2019


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