This Week in Ed 4.12.19: New mayor, new approach at CPS?

It’s almost CPS Spring Break! We have a bunch of stuff to share with you before CPS students are out of school for a week. Happy reading...

RYH asked to serve on Mayoral Education Transition Committee

RYH Communications and Outreach Director, Jennie Biggs, has been invited to serve on mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s Education Transition Committee. She attended the first meeting yesterday. We look forward to lifting up Chicago Public School parents’ voices and working closely with organizations from across the city. We take nothing for granted and will be looking for feedback from parents on what approach you hope to see under a new mayor, in CPS.

Here are a few ways YOU can participate:

  1. Are you involved in an organization that is hosting a public education related event within the next month? Please send an email to us ( and we can pass this on to the Co Chairs of the Education Transition Committee.
  2. Visit the Better Together Chicago website, scroll down to the button labeled “Submit an Idea”, click, and complete the Google form.
  3. Write a statement about the impact of inequity in your CPS experience. Send it to us as a pdf:
  4. Look out for an upcoming survey from the Co Chairs of the Education Transition Committee.

Who are the Co Chairs of the Committee? Read this Chalkbeat Chicago article to find out more: Lori Lightfoot names four women of color to head education transition team

Want to hear more about the first meeting of this committee? Co Chair Niketa Brar, Executive Director of Chicago United for Equity (CUE), shares more during this Facebook Live video.


#RejectTheMegaTIFs  #FundOurSchools

Back in 2010 RYH pushed Daley to release the first ever TIF surplus. There have been numerous efforts to get our tax dollars back for our schools. This week we witnessed a new level of TIF abuse when the City Council approved two MegaTIFs: Cortland/Chicago River TIF (Lincoln Yards) and Roosevelt/Clark TIF (The 78). We stand with numerous organizations and public school parents across the city in demanding that our elected officials prioritize our schools over private developers.

We hosted a Play-In at City Hall with our city org, Raise Your Hand Action, to bring attention to the siphoning off of TIF funds from our schools. You can find a nice summary of our event at City Hall here- great pictures & powerful videos included!


Special Education News: Keenan is leaving

So many changes... quite a surprise to hear of the resignation of Liz Keenan, Chief of the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS).  CPS dropped that old communication ball and failed to announce Keenan’s impending departure prior to St. Louis County Special School District in Missouri announcing on its website that Keenan has been hired as Superintendent, starting July 1, 2019. As CPS parents and special education advocates and supporters, what is on your wish list for the next Special Ed Chief of CPS? We welcome your feedback at  

Sun-Times: Abrupt exit for Chicago Public Schools’ special education chief

With Mayor-Elect Lightfoot’s experience as an attorney, we hope she will flip the script and insist that CPS Leadership demands that the District uphold the laws in place to give students with IEPs the supports and services they need to thrive, rather than scheme to deny those supports and services. The fallout from the debacle of the Claypool-driven systemic special education violations is ongoing and devastating to so many students with disabilities. The administrative culture cultivated as part of CPS’ scheme to cut costs on the backs of its most vulnerable students is still leading parents to having to fight tooth and nail for supports and services that are wrongly denied. We need someone in charge of CPS Special Education who creates a culture that truly puts students first and allows IEP Teams the freedom to provide the placement, supports and services that lift up the whole child.  

As a refresher, here’s The ISBE Inquiry Letter: Deciphered for Parents (in both English & Spanish.) Why Did the IL State Board of Ed Take Over CPS Special Ed? What Does It Mean For You?


Elected School Board for Chicago


RYH stands with the many CPS parents and community organizations who have been fighting for a fully elected representative school board for Chicago for over a decade. This has been a coalition effort, folks have worked through lots of details over the YEARS, and it’s time to get this bill to the governor! 


Lots happened in Springfield this week!

Stay in touch with our hardworking sister org, Raise Your Hand Action (RYHA), to keep up with the latest developments! Please make sure you sign up to receive updates from RYHA. You should also like & follow RYA on Facebook and Twitter. RYHA is your main source for action alerts and legislative updates!


RYH is taking a break from some social media this spring break

We will take a break from some social media during spring break. We may be tweeting less. Our public Facebook page will be up. We will not be posting and we will not be allowing posts in our closed group, unless there is something urgent. And reach out to if something comes up. RYH FB seems to be a powerful and important platform for 1000’s of parents, but it is a lot to monitor and we hope you understand our need for a break.


We’re hiring! RYH Executive Director  

  • Are you passionate about CPS and public education?
  • Are you a strategic thinker ready to lead a small but mighty not-for-profit (with support of hardworking staff and board)?
  • Do you have community organizing or other form of public campaign experience?
  • Are you a bold fundraising visionary?

We invite you to apply to be the next ED of RYH.

ED posting as a pdf.

Thinking about it but have questions? Reach out to us


New book about Chicago’s high school “choice” process

The book is entitled The Contest Without Winners: How Students Experience School Choice. This book's research was conducted entirely with CPS students, and focuses on the developmental, social and civic consequences of competition among young people to access public education opportunities. The author, Kate Phillipo, an associate professor of cultural and educational policy studies at Loyola University Chicago’s College of Education, was interviewed on the Hitting Left podcast (which is worth a listen and includes an interview with a CPS student) and was interviewed by Chalkbeat Chicago.

There are three upcoming author reading events:

  • City Lit Books in Logan Square: Friday April 26, 6:30 pm
  • Women and Children First in Andersonville: Wednesday, May 8, 6:30pm
  • Seminary Co-op Books in Hyde Park: Thursday, May 9, 6:00pm


In other news

Sun-Times: Costs piling up at CPS-funded charter network over CEO who ‘acted inappropriately’

WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools Denies Using Gang Database 90,000 Times

Sun-Times: New video shows Chicago cops dragging, punching, and tasing CPS student

Chalkbeat Chicago: Decision day: What happens when students don’t get their first choice Chicago high school

WBEZ: Chicago Mom Accuses School Police Of Labeling Her Son A Gang Member

Chicago Tribune: Teachers at 5 privately run charter schools authorize strikes as contract talks continue

Chalkbeat Chicago: Internet failure interrupts ‘Zombie PARCC’ at some Chicago schools

Chalkbeat Chicago: Three things you need to know about about Chicago’s new student portal, coming after spring break

WBEZ: Charter School Backed By Rap Artist Common Finds A Home In Chicago (A companion piece from RYH: Concerns about Arts in Motion charter school application from Dec 6, 2017.)

Our Urban Times: An elected Chicago School Board may become reality…eventually

WBEZ: Chicago Charter School For Girls Is Closing


Upcoming events

Fighting School Closings: National Teachers Academy and Community Advocacy

Th April 18, 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Loyola University Chicago, 111 E Pearson St, Regents Hall - 16th Fl

Register here.

Flyer for social media and email sharing here.


Unelected CPS Board Of Education Meeting

Wed April 24, 10:30am

CPS, 42 W Madison

You must register online to speak. That registration begins on Mon April 22 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 April 22 at 10:30am at the same link. We will be there so please contact us if you need assistance:

Note: The agenda for the meeting is available at at 10am on Mon April 22.



Tues April 30, 5:30pm

DePaul Lincoln Park Student Center, 2550 N. Sheffield, Chicago, Room 120

Register here.


Remake Learning Days Chi

May 16 - 19

Various locations in Chicago and Evanston

Find a full festival schedule here:

Presented by Chicago Learning Exchange


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