This Week in Ed 4.6.18: CPS Janitors Threaten to Strike

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CPS Janitors Threaten to Strike


After a recent report of a cleaning “blitz” done at a number of CPS schools in which only 34 of 125 schools passed inspections, CPS janitors have threatened to strike unless they get 500 more janitors added to their ranks. The head of the union representing the janitors, SEIU, told the Sun-Times that the number of janitorial staff cleaning schools has been reduced by 50% since Aramark and Sodexo took over in 2014. Teachers, parents, students, and LSC members have been bringing stories of unclean schools to the unelected board of ed’s attention since the $300M contract went through but complaints have fallen on deaf ears.


You can read more from the Sun-Times here:

School janitors strike back

Students, families not told of CPS’ cleaning ‘blitz’, disgusted at failures


GoCPS High School Notifications


8th graders got their first round of high school notifications last week and we are paying close attention to how the new GoCPS system plays out and what the impact is on students and schools.


Chicago TribuneCompetition remains fierce for top programs as CPS sends out high school offers


We all know that the high school choice system can be very stressful for students and families, and that an equitable system means students shouldn’t have to rely on lotteries and tests to get in for the best resources.


This is a post from Katie Madden, a parent who shared her point of view on the choice system:


After several days of seeing parents post about how proud they are of their kids for getting into Lane or Whitney Young, I just want to say that I am also very proud of ____.  He didn't get into any of the schools that he wanted to - he got into his 8th choice (which is a program in our neighborhood school which we are not thrilled about). Now we need to figure out what the hell we are going to do - but none of this is on him. I'm proud of him for dealing with adversity and trying to always do his best in the face of a learning disability. I'm proud of him for dealing with kids that have not always been nice to him because of that. I'm proud of him for how creative and smart he is in ways that have nothing to do with school and tests and selective enrollment high schools. And I'm proud of him for being brave enough to now go to school and have to face the other kids excitement about high school while he is dealing with extreme disappointment and more waiting. This system sucks - not just for him but for the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other kids in the CPS system who got screwed last Friday. So shout out to all the parents and kids who are now struggling to decide the best course of action to take in the face of defeat - many probably in a far worse situation than the one that we are in. This city needs to get its priorities in order and do right by all its students - not just the ones it has decided are deserving.


Other useful links about the CPS high school choice process

From the University of Chicago Consortium of School Research: Selective Enrollment High Schools in Chicago: Admission and Impacts


In March 2017, we hosted a forum with Generation All entitled Perceptions v. Reality: What to Consider When Choosing a CPS High School? There’s a great recap of the event from Generation All here. You can view the video of the full forum via CAN TV here: What to Consider When Choosing a CPS High School Forum


NPR Illinois: Culture shock: Teachers call Noble Charters ‘Dehumanizing

WBEZ: The Results Are In: White, Asian Students Have Edge In CPS High School Placement


2018 Local School Council Elections

Here are some important upcoming dates and tips!

Tuesday, April 10, 3pm: Deadline to deliver your literature to the school. This is optional.

  • Your literature can be up to one 8.5 x 11 sheet on both sides.
  • You are responsible for printing the material.
  • You have to divide the literature into packets for each class. You can find out from the school how many classes there are and how many pieces of literature you need for each class.
  • The school is responsible for distributing the literature.


Monday, April 16: At school dismissal, the school should send home the literature of each candidate who submitted literature.


Wednesday, April 18, 6am - 7pm: LSC Elections at CPS elementary schools.

Thursday, April 19, 6am - 7pm: LSC Elections at CPS high schools.

  • Find out from the school the hours of conferences because that is when the most parents will be coming to the school.
  • Any parent or resident of the school attendance area or voting district can vote.
  • You do not have to be a citizen or registered voter to vote in a CPS LSC election.
  • Voters need to bring 2 forms of ID. (1 form of ID if you are listed as a parent of a child at the school.)


Useful links

Information from CPS

Candidates at individual schools

A tool to find out where you are eligible to vote


Note: People elected to LSCs on April 18 or 19 will take office in July 2018. The current LSC is in office thru June 30, 2018. If a school did not have enough candidates running for office, then in July of 2018 the LSC will have vacancies. LSCs have a lot of discretion in how they fill vacancies - they appoint people to fill them. If you are interested in being appointed to fill a vacancy, we suggest that you start attending monthly LSC meetings and during public comment express your desire to serve and ask what procedure the LSC will use to fill any vacancies. From now until June 2018 you will be speaking to the current LSC members, who may or may not be on the new LSC in July 2018, but you will be learning about the LSC and making it public to any current members who are re-elected and to anyone else in attendance at the LSC meeting, that you are interested in serving.

Testing Season Continues

SAT testing on 4/10

As of last spring, the SAT is now the annual state test for high school accountability in Illinois. The test will be administered to 11th graders state-wide on Tuesday April 10th.

Along with the test, students are given a questionnaire that asks for sensitive personal information concerning their citizenship, religion, social security number, GPA, high school course work and interests, family’s education, income and/or military background, as well as behavioral information (“self-ratings”).  

This questionnaire is optional, but students may not be informed of this clearly. (And in fact, at at least one Chicago high school last spring, students were toldthat answering these questions were mandatory.) The College Board sells the data it collects, i.e. licenses access to it by third-parties for money. (You can see a price list for what the College Board currently charges for access to students' data here.) In addition, this data may be used by colleges and universities to decide not to recruit or admit students, hurting students chances of admission rather than helping them find an appropriate placement.

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy recommends telling your child not to share any more information than is required for participating in the test: name, school, state, student ID, grade, sex, and date of birth.


PARCC window through 4/20

Elementary schools may still be doing PARCC testing for grades 3-8th — the testing window runs through April 20th. Check our website for updated materials explaining what the future prospects of PARCC testing are in Illinois and how to refuse this year’s PARCC testing. Questions about refusal policies at your child’s school? Email us or call 413-3OPTOUT.

Raise Your Hand Action News

Now that the primary election is over, the legislative session will be heating up in Springfield. There are a lot of bills related to public education under consideration. Want to know which bills to keep on your radar? You can get the scoop on Raise Your Hand Action’s legislative agenda for this spring on their website.


RYHA will be sending out Action Alerts (such as this one!) during legislative sessions. If this is something you’d like to stay on top of, sign up here to receive RYHA updates via email. RYHA is also planning a trip to Springfield… find out more here.

Elected School Board for Chicago Update

Court Cases

As we told you in our last email blast, the federal lawsuit about an elected school board for Chicago was heard on March 28. Here is some coverage of that day in court:

Courthouse News ServiceChicagoans Press Case for Elected School Board to Seventh Circuit


Here is an update from Capitol Fax on the state lawsuit… that appeal has been denied.



Elected Representative School Board (ERSB) Bill, currently SB3592:

As of today, this bill is not scheduled for a committee hearing next week. If a bill does not move out of committee by Friday, April 13, 2018, a bill will not move during this legislative session. Unfortunately, we think this is the fate of this bill.


What do the people think?

Sun-TimesOpinion: CPS needs an elected board to live up to its education mission


In other news

Hyde Park HeraldKenwood Academy principal wins Golden Apple award

Sun-TimesEditorial: Working people in Illinois deserve a fairer state income tax

Teen VogueWhy “Hardening” Schools Won’t Stop Violence and School Shootings

Chicago Public Fools blog: CPS bright stars incinerate lies

Chicago TribuneAhead of state report, special ed advocate says Chicago Public Schools sought ‘ways to reduce the level of service’

South Side WeeklyLosing Harper High

Upcoming events

⟹ Backpack Full of Cash Screening: Rogers Park

Mon April 9

Doors & Pizza, 6:00pm,

Screening starts at 6:30pm

Theatre 400, 6746 N Sheridan Rd

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased herePlease purchase your ticket in advance, we expect to sell out. Theater 400's Concession Stand will be open.


⟹ LSC Elections

Wed April 18: CPS Elementary Schools

Thur April 19: CPS High Schools

6am - 7pm

As a parent, you can vote at your child’s school. Any parent or resident of the school attendance area or voting district can vote. You do not have to be a citizen or registered voter to vote in a CPS LSC election. Voters need to bring 2 forms of ID. (1 form of ID if you are listed as a parent of a child at the school.)


 RYH Special Education Workshop: North Lawndale

Sat April 21

10:30am - 12:30pm

Christian Valley Baptist Church, 1237 S. Homan

Register for this free event here. Bring your IEP materials with you.


⟹ DePaul College of Education Spring 2018 Forum


Tues May 1

5:30pm to 8:30pm

Lincoln Park Student Center, Room 314, 2550 N. Sheffield

More details here. Register here.


 Journey 4 Justice National Conference 2018

Fri May 18, Sat May 19, Sun May 20

Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st Street

This is a great opportunity to attend a very powerful and inspiring national event in Chicago!

You can find the itinerary of the event here.

You can purchase adult tickets here and student tickets here.