This Week in Ed 5.11.18: State says CPS violated federal sped law- Recommends monitor for 3 years

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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!

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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.


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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.


Chicago Tribune:Officials say CPS special education policy violated federal law, suggest 3 years of monitoring

Sun-TimesState board of ed recommends monitor to oversee special education at CPS

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:

WTTW: Mark Zuckerberg Grant to Help CPS Spread ‘Personalized Learning’

Ed WeekChan Zuckerberg Initiative Gives $14M for Personalized Learning in Chicago

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

WBEZ: Chicago Special Ed Parents Say Services Still Being Denied

The State-Journal RegisterLetter: Independent monitor needed for CPS special education

The OutlineGoogle's Got Our Kids

NPR Illinois: Feedback: Noble Charter Schools Story Hit A Nerve

Chicago TribuneModest CPS infrastructure proposal covers roof repairs, mechanical fixes

WBEZ: Dirty School Gets New Treatment: Chaos

New York TimesGates, Zuckerberg Team Up on New Education Initiative

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