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Today’s CPS special education news from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is a partial victory for parents and children- read below for details. We need you to Grow With Us for more wins in public education!
Grow With Us!
Raise Your Hand is growing and we need your contribution to help us raise $10,000.
We expanded our remarkable staff to three people. We rented an office space that allows us to convene meetings with parents — including providing space for an amazing group of volunteers to work tirelessly on the recent affidavits to ISBE on special education. We are helping more parents and community members than ever to network, learn, participate, and advocate.
Follow us for the next two weeks to see the many ways Raise Your Hand has grown in the last year, learn how you can take part, and support us with financial contributions to plant seeds for future growth.
Help us meet our $10,000 goal by May 25 so we can keep printing infographics, delivering trainings, empowering parent voice, keeping you informed, and advocating for strong public schools together. Donations accepted here. Thank you!
CPS Special Education Partial Victory!
Breaking news on the ISBE public inquiry into CPS special education...
Following an intense six-month long investigation prompted by 14 organizations including Raise Your Hand that stemmed from a WBEZ report, a special ed panel at the state level is recommending an independent monitor for special education at CPS for three years with the option to extend. The ISBE board votes on this Wednesday, May 16 in Springfield and we will be there for it. This confirms what we’ve all been saying - that CPS implemented policies that intentionally delayed and denied services and that they need oversight to improve their special education systems. The panel is also recommending a mechanism for ISBE to identify students who had services delayed and denied during the period CPS was under investigation but the details are vague on how this will look. They also plan to notify all parents of students with IEPs of this corrective action, which is a good step. The Advocates contend that it’s critical that the monitor have at least three full time staff to carry out their duties, and we will continue to push for this and other items that were not included in the recommendations.
The report starts on page 74 of this ISBE board meeting packet and the vote on these recommendations is this coming Wednesday, May 16.
Mark Zuckerberg gives CPS and LEAP $14M for personalized learning
Last week the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced it will make a $4M grant to CPS and a $10M grant to LEAP Innovations to initiate personalized learning programs at more than 100 schools in CPS and the Chicago area. CZI is a for-profit, limited liability corporation owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. In addition to its grant-giving activities, it also makes venture capital investments in ed tech companies and is the organization responsible for the operation and development of the Summit personal learning platform that’s in use in at least 13 IL schools. LEAP Innovations is an ed tech incubator that assists companies in running pilots of their software in public schools. CPS has paid LEAP more than $800K over the last four fiscal years. The CEO of LEAP, Phyllis Lockett, formerly ran New Schools of Chicago, which takes credit for helping to establish at least 70 charter schools in Chicago.
Given the issues with Facebook’s treatment of its customers’ personal data, accepting millions from its CEO for a project that will depend heavily on students’ personally-identifiable information raises many questions. You can read our background piece about recent student data protection issues here.
Here’s some press coverage:
RYH and RYH Action: Our report from Springfield
On Wednesday, May 9, we headed to Springfield. Two moms, one from Oak Park and one from Downers Grove, testified for RYH at a subject matter hearing on the future of student assessment in Illinois. You can watch video of their testimony here.
You can read our full report of the entire day here. Overall, it was a fantastic day with lots of great discussions with many IL State Senators about public education in Illinois! We appreciate those who were able to join us and those of you at home who were showing your support by calling an elected official, tweeting or retweeting, or sending us supportive messages and gratitude on Facebook!
In other news
The State-Journal Register: Letter: Independent monitor needed for CPS special education
The Outline: Google's Got Our Kids
NPR Illinois: Feedback: Noble Charter Schools Story Hit A Nerve
New York Times: Gates, Zuckerberg Team Up on New Education Initiative
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.
Who gains, who loses, and what you need to know
Tues May 22
Kenwood High School, 5015 S. Blackstone
Join us for a discussion with:
Dr. Christopher Lubienski, Professor, Indiana University, researcher on schools choice, charter schools, and voucher programs.
Bobby Otter, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA)
Unfortunately, Linda Lutton had to cancel for the forum and won’t be there to talk about her article, but you can prepare for this forum by reading (or listening to it) : How To Take In $33 Million In Tax Payer Dollars: Partner With The Catholic Church
Our Tax Credit Scholarships: What You Need To Know is a great primer on this topic.