This Week in Ed 2.8.19: Get ready for the #ZombiePARCC! 🧟

As we go through our exciting new RYH changes, we plan to send an email newsletter every other week. Please sign up to receive these newsletters here. You can read the one sent Friday, February 8, 2019, below. 

In January, the IL State Board of Education (ISBE) approved a one-year contract with Pearson to administer what is essentially PARCC. ISBE had tried to hire another firm, DRC, to produce a multi-year hybrid assessment of new content & PARCC content, but Pearson successfully protested the way ISBE calculated its pricing v. DRC's. To have the IL test ready for spring, ISBE has basically adopted PARCC for one more year. ISBE isn't calling it PARCC, but ISBE will be using the same test. #ZombiePARCC

The “new” IL state standardized test for 3rd - 8th graders is officially named Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR). In this ISBE PowerPoint presentation,starting on p.57, you can find the chain of events laid out in the paragraph above. See p.58: "[ISBE] will continue to use 100% PARCC content and forms built to the standard of the PARCC assessments for the next two years." What is “changing” is that Pearson will do it again this year, not DRC. In other words, PARCC is back for this year and for 2020. ISBE one pager on IAR here.

We will be posting our 2019 Standardized Testing and Opt Out Toolkit soon! Stay tuned.


WBEZ: Illinois Students To Take Revamped Reading And Math Exams Starting This Spring

WTTW: State Board of Education Rolling Out New Proficiency Exam Next Month


Chicago’s Municipal Election is Tuesday, February 26! Be an informed voter.

We are super grateful to our sister org, Raise Your Hand Action (RYHA), for publishing this RYHA Municipal Election Questionnaire 2019. They asked all the mayoral candidates 16 key questions about public education policy. Read the responses from Gery Chico, Bill Daley, Amara Enyia, Lori Lightfoot, Susana Mendoza and Toni Preckwinkle.


Local education news source, Chalkbeat Chicago, has some great informative articles:

Are Chicago schools too focused on ‘college or bust’ culture? Some mayoral hopefuls think so.

Chicagoans care about schools more than corruption, according to a new poll

Who’s best for Chicago’s schools? A Chalkbeat voter guide to the 2019 mayor’s race


Tools for voters- make a voting plan!

Early voting information here.

Check your polling place, voter registration status, and find your sample ballot here.

The League of Women Voters of Chicago’s “Upcoming Election, Municipal Elections: February 26, 2019”- comprehensive page!


TIFs- and how to get updates from Raise Your Hand Action!

Last week we sent a joint email with our sister org, RYHA, which you can read here: 9 Years of Fighting for TIF Reform: Tell your alderman to #RejectTheMegaTIFs. It summarizes some of the TIF reform work we have embarked on over the years, it includes many links to learn more about this issue, and it shares what RYHA is working on right now.

Please make sure you sign up to receive updates from RYHA. RYHA sends action alerts via email and social media. They have a new advocacy tool to take quick action! You can call, email and tweet your elected officials on public education issues that matter to you- all from one webpage. You should also like & follow RYA on Facebook and Twitter.


Special Education updates and reminders

We’re really excited to have Mary Fahey Hughes as part of our RYH team! Here’s a note from Mary explaining her new role in RYH:

HI All. I’m Mary Fahey Hughes and I’m happy to be joining RYH as Parent Liaison for Special Education. As the parent of a child with special needs, I founded The 19th Ward Parents for Special Education advocacy group so that we could fight to protect cluster programs in overcrowded schools in the 19th Ward. Following several years of alarmingly inappropriate special ed budget cuts, I started working with RYH on larger, city-wide issues and was a member of the Advocates Group that initiated the ISBE Inquiry that led to the ISBE Monitor’s oversight of CPS Special Education. Please feel free to contact me with any special ed questions or concerns and I will hopefully either answer your questions or refer you to someone who can. I can be reached at or on FB Messenger at Mary Fahey Hughes.  


Check out this interview in Psychology Today with Matt Cohen, Chicago special education lawyer, from February 2018:Legal Rights of Students with ADHD.


Two great RYH resources worth reviewing and sharing:

  1. The ISBE Inquiry Letter: Deciphered for Parents- now available in both English and Spanish. This fact sheet explains why the ISBE Inquiry into CPS special education policies and practices happened. It also contains many relevant links. It is an improved version of the CPS letter that went out so that parents can actually understand what happened. One parent volunteer wrote this and another translated it for us.
  2. High School Application and Placement for Chicago Public Schools Students with Disabilities: A RYH Research Report. This is a new research report we submitted to the CPS Board of Education on January 23, 2019. It was written by a task force of parent volunteers and led by an education consultant and education researcher.



We share and elevate #cpsuccess stories using our @CPSuccessCHI Twitter account everyday! Check out some of our recent favorites:

Brown ES celebrates their school counselor! Many schools are honoring their counselors via appreciative tweets this week during #NationalSchoolCounselingWeek. Here’s Haines ES honoring their school counselor! #SchoolCounselorPrideChi

Murphy ES performs Peter Pan!

Schurz HS students register to vote!

Agassiz ES 8th graders dissect frogs!

Lake View HS Robotics Team visits Ravenswood ES Makers Lab to show off their robot!

Courtenay ES investigates snow!


Two Current CPS Surveys

We’re skeptical of how or if these survey responses are used and we don’t like doing CPS’ job of sharing surveys with parents BUT here are 2 current CPS surveys that we are aware of and that may be of interest to you.


  1. What’s your vision for CPS schools? Blog post here. This was emailed to parents in late January. Here is a link directly to the survey. (We could not locate a Spanish version of the survey.) UPDATED 2.14.19: A LSC parent rep forwarded a communication sent to (some) LSC members that included a link to this survey in Spanish:
  2. CPS Nutrition Support Parent Survey. Webpage for this office here. On the left you can 6find links to a survey in English and a survey in Spanish. The description: “Parents, we want to hear from you! Your feedback is important, and helps us create breakfast and lunch menus that our students will enjoy!”


In other news

Sun-Times: Charges dropped against teen tased by cops at Marshall High School

Next, read this Letter to the Editor from Chris Yun, Access Living’s Education Policy Analyst: Blame CPS for failing student who was Tasered by cops


The Root: A Chicago Teachers Is Accused of Arranging a Brutal Beating for Her 4th Grade Student. Now, His Parents Are Suing The School Board A horrific story.

Sun-Times: Judge bars publication of new details on 2017 student drowning at CPS pool

WBEZ: Is Charter School Unrest The New Normal In Chicago?

Sun-Times: Groups demand more black teachers in CPS, nationwide

Chicago Tribune: Gov. Pritzker, lawmakers vow sweeping changes to address Chicago Public Schools sexual abuse scandal

Sun-Times: Chicago Public Schools’ budget surplus not enough to improve S & P rating

Chalkbeat Chicago: Illinois schools superintendent is out in latest Pritzker staff change

Chalkbeat Chicago: Storm impact: Chicago cancels another day of classes; union publishes list of educator grievances

WTTW: School Discontent Prompts Calls for an Elected School Board

Chalkbeat Chicago: To close school or tough out brutally cold weather? Chicago faces a hard decision.


Worth a read

The New Republic: Betsy DeVos Is Fabricating History to Sell a Bad Education Policy

WBEZ: What’s That Building: Brennemann School, A Glassed Vision For Marina City Architect, Hidden For Decades

Salon: LA Teachers make the case that charter schools are an existential threat to public education

WBEZ: What Can Chicago Do About The Racist Effects Of Segregation? Look To Other Cities


Upcoming events


Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Lessons for our work with students.

Tues Feb 19, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Lincoln Park Student Center, 2250 N.  Sheffield Ave, Room 314

Register here.

Flyer with more details here.


Unelected CPS Board Of Education Meeting

Wed Feb 27, 10:30am

CPS, 42 W Madison

You must register online to speak. That registration begins on Mon Feb 25 at 10:30am.

Online registration to speak or attend is here. If you plan to attend, it is best to also register online in advance and starting Mon Feb 25 at 10:30am at the same link. We will be there so please contact us if you need assistance: