We hope you and your family are healthy and well. Please consider following us on all of our social media channels for daily updates. First, a few things we want to highlight...
- Did you know that your child does not need to be with you to pick up food from a CPS Meal Site? Did you know that a child can pick up food? Did you know that you should receive 3 days of breakfast and lunch for each of your children? Check out our webpage: CPS Grab & Go Meal Sites: Basics + Sites + Delivery Form.
- Find all 10 of our RYH Parent Mantras for Remote Learning (+ a bonus one where you can create your own!) here. Hang in there, folks!
- Check out City Bureau’s Chicago COVID Resource Finder. Please share with families. Text "covid" to 312-436-2280 to access via phone.
- Raise Your Hand has joined the Right to Recovery (R2R) Coalition, which is made up of progressive grassroots organizations and elected officials who believe that our path to recovery must center those most at risk. We are looking for parents who want to be part of the fight and join RYH's Right to Recovery parent leaders. If interested, fill out this form. Thanks to those of you who already signed up!
Our newsletter today- found below the Mantras- includes the release of CPS school level budgets (don’t believe the hype!), LSC and Special Education news + RYH weekly Zooms, delays in CPS apps for PreK, Remote Learning Quick Links and more. Stay well, Friends.
~ RYH Board & Staff
CPS releases school level budgets: SpEd under attack (again) & SBB is staying alive
On Tuesday, CPS released 2020-21 school budgets to principals. The press release and email sent to parents make all seem rosy and great. As always, we ask you to please search for the context, the history, AND attend your Local School Council (LSC) meetings to learn how the actual school level budget plays out on the ground at an actual school… typically, there’s a huge disconnect between the initial CPS press release and actual school staff levels, supports, supplies, and overall investments.
Some initial concerns we have:
- For Special Education Teachers, we see CPS again using a staffing formula that is not based on the actual need for Special Education minutes at the school level. (Remember the 2015 “All Means All” Special Education Budget debacle?)
- For Special Education Classroom Assistant (SECA) staffing, the 20-21 CPS budget formula includes 45 minutes per SECA per school day that is not available for direct student support. While SECAs work 7 hours and 45 minutes per day (including 15 minutes before school begins and 30 minutes after school), the actual school day (when children are present and in class) is 7 hours long. Within that 7-hour portion of a SECA’s 7:45 hour work day, CPS Is obligated to give SECAs 30 minutes for lunch and two 15 minute breaks, leaving the available time for SECAs to provide services to students as 6 hours per school day -- not 6 hours and 45 minutes. If CPS fails to make corrections to this budget and goes forward “as is,” we will see Principals have inadequate funding to hire SECA staff to meet legally-mandated IEP minutes that CPS KNOWS will be in place for the beginning of the 20-21 School Year, Principals having to appeal for needed staffing, and DELAYS OF SERVICES come Fall. Remember the October 2017 WBEZ Investigation? Has CPS learned nothing from the April 2018 ISBE Inquiry and findings?
- Student Based Budgeting (SBB) is still alive in 20-21. If you are wondering, "How can this be?" or "What's the big deal?", here are some sources we are rereading that we recommend:
- Report from September 2019 entitled Student Based Budgeting Concentrates Low Budget Schools in Chicago’s Black Neighborhoods.
- School Funding Workshop meetings were hosted in January and February. Many RYHers attended and reported back that most attendees said that SBB needed to go and some new funding model was needed- one that provided more resources for schools with the highest needs. Here are our live tweets from one of those meetings.
- The School Funding Workshop meetings were used to inform a School Funding Working Group. This Group released a report which will inform the CPS budgeting process for the 2020-21 school year and beyond via three phases.
So what’s a parent to do? Attend LSC meetings. Ask questions and/or make comments during the public comment portion of the LSC meeting. Connect with a LSC member and/or a fellow parent and/or a school staff member to ask more questions to help you understand not just how the budget works but how that translates to the actual reality at your school. Concerned about what you are finding? Consider running for LSC! The elections are postponed so there may be an opportunity to run. Other ideas: stay in touch with RYH; keep reading & asking questions; connect with more parents; connect with parents at other schools in your area to help each other out and to learn from each other. Collectively, how can you bring about change?
Yes, LSCs can and should be meeting virtually during the COVID-19 physical closures of our buildings. One of the duties of the LSC is to approve the school's budget so there should be a meeting in the coming weeks. Schools should post meeting notifications virtually (via email, on the school website, using school social media) and physically (outside the school where it can be seen.) Here’s the CPS communication on LSC meetings during COVID-19. Try to attend the next LSC meeting- listen for school budget info (and for COVID-19 impacts to school families.)
Local School Council (LSC) news
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, RYH LSC work continues. We are hosting weekly LSC Member Solidarity Calls on Thursdays, 6-7:30pm. Join us TONIGHT, Th, 4/30, 6pm. This call will feature a listening session with confirmed attendance of members of the Chicago Board of Education and CPS for the first 45 minutes. This call is set up to bring LSCs to the front of governing our schools, decision-making and collaborative relationships with CPS leaders amid COVID-19. Register here. Upon registering, you’ll receive an email containing the login information. If you cannot join us, please take a few moments to complete a short survey. All individual responses will be kept confidential.
Special Education news
RYH is hosting weekly Special Ed Parents & Supporter Calls: Tuesdays, 1-2:30pm. Register here. The next call is Tues, May 5 , 1PM. Dr. Jones, ODLSS Chief Officer, and Ms. Parker, ODLSS Deputy Chief, are joining the call for the first 30 minutes.
The IL State Board of Education (ISBE) and CPS both posted updated Special Education FAQs during Remote Learning on April 20. There are still a lot of unanswered questions.
- IL State Board of Education (ISBE) FAQs for SpEd during Remote Learning
- CPS Frequently Asked Questions | Diverse Learner Supports and Services during COVID-19 School Closures
ICYMI… RYH is 10 years old!
On April 1, we celebrated- remotely and very quietly- our 10th Anniversary! The world is messy right now but our work continues and evolves. Please consider a $10 donation to support us. Thank you!
ACTION ALERT from the Network for Public Education (NPE)
Send a letter to your US Congressperson & US Senators. This takes about 2 minutes. Say NO to Betsy's Hunger Games in the time of COVID-19. She's set up a competition for funds to promote privatization! Link to send a letter. You can read more about the DeVos plan at Mercedes Schneider’s blog: DeVos’ “COVID Emergency” Competition Funding to be Awarded… in July(?)
BONUS! NPE has been hosting Conversations with Diane (Ravitch) on Wednesday evenings. You can find the archived conversations here.
Remote Learning in the news
As this experiment continues and evolves, the media has coverage of how it’s playing out on the ground.
Chalkbeat Chicago: One in five Chicago students lacks broadband. Here’s where they live
The Network for Public Education conducted a nationwide survey of teachers, parents, and school administrators. Here are the results: Emergency Remote Learning in Our Public Schools
Language Access Volunteer Sign Up - not for RYH use only
This is a form to collect volunteers who are able to potentially provide translation and interpretation of news around services that will be offered. We want to use this to coordinate both with officials and grassroots groups. This is not just for RYH specific messaging - we see this as a broader tool that will be shared with other folks doing mutual aid or sharing critical news. Link to volunteer. Thank you for considering.
CPS applications: PreK + GoCPS (elementary schools) - DELAYED
PreK… If you want to stay up to date on when applications will be available, you should subscribe to this email list: chicagoearlylearning.org/connect.
GoCPS… High school notifications were sent on time. Please check GoCPS for the timeline for that ongoing process. Elementary school notifications (and magnet PreK) have been delayed until May 8.
Chalkbeat Chicago has all of the above covered here: Chicago to delay preschool applications, kindergarten admissions and has the IL PreK situation here: Illinois was rebuilding its early learning system. Then COVID-19 happened.
Worth a read
NYC Public School Parents blog: After the Pandemic: Our Children Deserve an Education Revolution by Michael J. Hynes
Remote Learning Quick Links
- RYH resources & webpages worth noting:
CPS webpages worth noting:
- 4.20.20: CPS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | Diverse Learner Supports and Services during COVID-19 School Closures Eng | Span
- Parent Tech Support Portal: Use this any time for tech support help files and to submit service requests for your student's CPS-issued device
- Tech Resources for Remote Learning: Prepare for Remote Learning- instructions on setting up an internet connection, how to use your device, troubleshooting, etc
- CPS Remote Learning: Guidance, printable remote learning packets, printable resource packets, etc
- CPS COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- IL State Board of Education (ISBE)