This Week in Ed 5.23.19: Rahm’s gone. Lightfoot’s in. RYH persists!

It was a huge relief to hear CPS Board of Education president Frank Clark announce at Wednesday’s meeting that it was his and the entire Rahm appointed board’s last meeting. There will be a whole new unelected CPS BOE seated at the June meeting!

Chalkbeat Chicago: ‘It’s our last meeting’: New mayor Lori Lightfoot moves to disband Chicago’s school board, setting up major shift

Sun-Times: All 7 members of the Chicago Board of Education step down

And, in case you are wondering about the CEO position...

Chalkbeat Chicago: Lori Lightfoot makes it official: She’s keeping Janice Jackson as Chicago schools chief

We attended, spoke at, supported other parents, and live tweeted the unelected BOE meeting. We demanded that the BOE delay the vote on two contracts- the $135M curriculum contract and a $55M clout contract with Jacobs Project Management.

Here is WBEZ coverage of the curriculum contract from the week before the BOE meeting:  CPS Pledges To Offer “High-Quality” Curricula For All Grades, All Schools. Of course, we had many questions. You can read our statements here and watch video of our statement about the curriculum contract here. Both contracts passed. More BOE meeting press:

Chalkbeat Chicago: Amid questions and upheaval, Chicago school board moves forward on curriculum overhaul

Sun-Times: CPS nixes pricey preschool provided at no cost to families in city’s richest school boundary


Grow With Us! RYH’s crucial work continues! Support us today.

Celebrate the dismissal of the Rahm CPS BOE with a financial donation to RYH! Even with a new mayor and a new unelected CPS BOE, the importance of RYH’s work persists and we are committed to it. We can not do it without you. Please support us TODAY!


On Wednesday, we launched our Spring 2019 Grow With Us fundraising campaign. Follow us on social media for the next two weeks to hear what RYH has accomplished in the last year, learn how you can take part, and support us with financial contributions to help us continue to grow into a sustainable organization.

Prefer to make an in kind donation? Here are a few items we need: label maker; tall metal shelf unit (or cabinet); plastic bins with lids; and Velcro to hang things on our office walls. Please email  if you can help with these items or if you need more details.


Please welcome a new RYH staff member!

We are pleased to announce that we have hired a part time Administrative and Finance Assistant. Please welcome Jodi Lacy, CPS mom of two students at Swift Elementary! You can reach Jodi at (



Back in February, we were surprised that no media picked up this op-ed from former CPS parent Lori Barrett. We are honored to publish it! Awash in Rahm legacy articles we provide this parent perspective on our former mayor: Yes to Ferris Wheels, No to School Social Workers: The Legacy of Rahm Emanuel.

Here are two articles we recommend for an account of #RahmsLegacy:

Sun-Times: Rahm Emanuel’s schools legacy: Record grad rates, but he also closed 50 schools

The Chicago Reporter: Rahm Emanuel tries his hand at fiction. And the media is buying it.


And now… Mayor Lori Lightfoot- and a newly inaugurated City Council- keeping us busy!

On Monday, May 13, we joined the #ERSBNow coalition and some elected officials at a press conference demanding a vote on the elected school board bill. The bill is stalled in the Senate by Senate President John Cullerton and at the request of Mayor Lightfoot. You can watch the entire press conference here. Press coverage:

WBEZ: Advocates Say Time’s Up, Call For Vote On Chicago Elected School Board

FOX 32 Chicago: Incoming alderman, parents groups renew push for elected CPS board

Sun-Times: Senate leader: Lightfoot wants to do her homework on elected school board bill

Chalkbeat Chicago: Pressure mounts on Lori Lightfoot to support elected school board bill

On Tuesday, May 14, we hosted an #OnTheTable2019 event where we discussed and took feedback on our #MemoToTheMayor.

On Thursday, May 16, we joined the #ReimagineChicago coalition and some newly elected alderfolks at a press conference focused on seven stalled ordinances which will be re-introduced during the first 100 days. You can watch the entire press conference here. Press coverage:

Sun-Times: Progressive aldermen’s 100-day agenda: higher minimum wage, more affordable housing

On Friday, May 17, as part of her duties on the Lightfoot Education Transition Committee, Jennie attended the Transition Report Presentation. You can find the full Transition Report in English here and in Spanish here. Press coverage:

Chalkbeat Chicago: In her first term as mayor, Lightfoot’s schools agenda to include overhaul of budgets, campus policing

There is an opportunity to provide feedback on the Transition Report. If you would like to do that, please contact Jennie via email ( Note: All final feedback will be included on the public, shared Google Drive folder. All feedback is due by Friday, May 31st.

On Monday, May 18, Mayor Lightfoot and the City Council were inaugurated. We were disappointed that the elected school board was not mentioned in her speech nor were any plans for the interim board. Press coverage of the entire day with an education perspective:

Chalkbeat Chicago: ‘We must meet our educational challenges together’: What Lori Lightfoot said about schools on her first day as Chicago’s mayor

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicagoans welcome Mayor Lori Lightfoot to City Hall — with big questions about schools

Nice article here with many thoughtful voices from across the city discussing many issues including public education. And featuring former RYH board member June Coutre and current RYH interim executive director Joy Clendenning. Worth a read.

Chicago Tribune: The demanding expectations set forth for Chicago's Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot


Special Education news

Legislative Success!

From Bev Johns: “I am happy to report that House Bill 424, the bill that requires the Illinois State Board of Education to establish standards for interpreters for non-English speaking parents at IEPs passed the Illinois Senate this afternoon on a vote of 53 yes, 0 nos, and 0 abstentions. The bill will now go to the Governor for his signature. This bill provides access to information shared in IEPs for parents who do not speak English.”

HB 3586 and HB 3302 passed the Senate. The bills will go back to the House for concurrence.

  • HB 3586: Basically, CPS must: (1) give notice to parents and guardians of any proposed changes to its special education policies at least 45 days before adopting any policy change; (2) make available in print and on the website any special education Procedural Manual and any other guidance documents pertaining to special education (in both English and Spanish); and (3) 5-school days prior to the IEP, give parent or guardian of a child with an IEP all relevant information collected so parent can meaningfully participate in the IEP process.  
  • HB 3302: Basically, for CPS parents and guardians only, it extends the statute of limitations from one to two years to file a State Complaint related to the the systemic illegalities ISBE found through its Public Inquiry process.

NPR Illinois: Nurse Who Saved A Student Also Changes Law (Glucagon bill; More to this story here.)

But wait...

In the same week that there was all of the above legislative success regarding special education, there were many testimonies at the unelected CPS BOE meeting about special education issues as well as a press conference before the meeting.


Parents of children with special needs used social media to get this story to the press:

Sun-Times: CPS Special Olympians miss competition when buses don’t show up

CBS 2 Chicago: Special Olympics Student-Athletes Miss Games Because Buses Ordered By CPS Never Arrived

Attention CPS Families who have Kids with Nursing Needs 

Access Living (AL) is trying to identify CPS students who have problems with nursing services so AL can possibly include these families in a plan to compel CPS to improve nursing services. Please consider completing this survey if your child is not receiving reliable nursing care at a CPS school. ALSO, please consider passing this info on to other parents who may be impacted. We’ve also created this webpage which you can share: CPS Nursing Care Survey / Cuestionario de atención de enfermería de CPS / 芝加哥公立学校 (CPS)护理服务调查问卷.


Some excellent news from Raise Your Hand Action!

Congratulations to our sister org, RYHA, and to all of you who made calls, filled out witness slips, and/or visited your State Rep or Senator at their district office or in Springfield… HB3606 (student-data privacy) and HB254 (class-size goals) both passed on the full Senate floor Thursday! HB3606 with 39 yes votes and HB254 with 42. Woo hoo! Roll call on HB3606 here. Roll call on HB254 here.

The charter commission bill (SB1226), which we've all made calls about and put witness slips in for over the years, passed in the Senate on Tuesday. On to the Governor's desk! WBEZ has a story on this bill which published before the Senate vote: Illinois Charter School Battles Coming To A Head As Bill Advances. Roll call on SB1226 here.

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!



WBEZ: Chicago Teens Dream Big For Their Schools, Their City

ABC 7 Chicago: Blaine Elementary students surprise beloved lunch lady, Miss Janet

Chicago Tribune: 'I want them to see you can pretty much go anywhere': CPS Spanish teacher selected for National Geographic Fellowship

Check out & follow our @CPSuccess Twitter account here.


In other news

Sun-Times: CPS nixes pricey preschool provided at no cost to families in city’s richest school boundary

Chicago Tribune: Uptown mansion owners sue to stop nearby public school from adding gym: ‘There is definitely a race and class issue here’

Chicago Tribune: CPS moves to fire Hubbard teachers for sexual misconduct; ex-principal put on do-not-hire list

Chalkbeat Chicago: Sor Juana parents fight for promised classical program after Chicago district’s about-face

Chalkbeat Chicago: What should new teachers of color know when taking the job? Veterans offer some advice.


Worth a read

National Women’s Law Center blog: The Assault of Dnigma Howard is What Happens When Schools Criminalize Teen Behavior

We are ND blog: Chicago Mom Saved Children’s School From Closing

San Francisco Chronicle: Joe Matthews: How I lost the screen-time battle with my kids


Upcoming events

Chicago Teachers Union Early Childhood Committee Invites You To.... A Parent and Educator Meet-Up and Listening Session

Th May 30, 6:00-7:30pm (light dinner will be served)

Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll (free street parking available)

More information & registration here.

Flyer here.


The Gathering hosted by the LSCs 4 All coalition

Sat June 1, 10am

National Teachers Academy (NTA), 55 W. Cermak

The Gathering is for anyone interested in making LSCs more effective.

To register, please email or RSVP via the Facebook event page here.

Flyer with more information here.


The State of Racial Justice for American Indians in Chicago

Fri June 7, 12:00-2:00pm

Goodman Theatre, 170 North Dearborn Street

More information & registration here.


Grow With Us Spring 2019 RYH Fundraiser!

Happening now through Wed, June 5

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn all the great things we’ve done in the past year. Then, donate to support our work!



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