This Week in Ed 6.22.18: IL House & Senate hold joint hearing on CPS sex abuse

Welcome to the Summer! Even as the school year wound down, there was so much CPS and public education news. We will try to keep our comments brief below and we have included many press links for you to read more. Thanks for reading & being engaged!

IL House & Senate held a joint hearing on CPS sex abuse


Welcome to the Summer! Even as the school year wound down, there was so much CPS and public education news. We will try to keep our comments brief below and we have included many press links for you to read more. Thanks for reading & being engaged!

We attended Wednesday’s 6+ hours joint hearing. We were live tweeting and the Chicago Tribune has video of the entire hearing. We’ve linked some press coverage below. Some things we learned during the hearing:

  • CPS lawyers report to the unelected board president.
  • Janice Jackson did not show up nor did the mayor. Both were invited. The legislators were not happy about this.
  • Two students testified. When they came forward with their abuse. they were both questioned several times by CPS lawyers in their school buildings. The Tribune article linked below contains video of each of these brave young women giving their statements during the joint hearing.
  • Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) and the IL Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) testified on the same panel. We have live tweets from that panel in a Twitter thread. The procedure that should be followed & that is based in law includes a mandated reporter or parent/guardian calling DCFS or 911 immediately upon learning of abuse. At no point should CPS or their law department be conducting an investigation or questioning a victim. DCFS or the police and in conjunction with the ChicagoCAC begin a forensic investigation (requires specialized training) with child well being at the heart of the entire process. ChicagoCAC stressed that children should not be questioned repeatedly- this is traumatizing and puts the criminal investigation in jeopardy. Figuring out what happened is not the job of CPS or the CPS law department. It is the job of DCFS, the police, and the ChicagoCAC.
  • ChicagoCAC reached out to CPS about 6 or 7 years ago to offer to work with them by conducting Erin’s Law trainings with CPS employees. CPS did not take them up on the offer. CPS and ChicagoCAC will be working together now and are working out the details of a $150K service agreement.


Chicago Tribune: Illinois state lawmakers lash out at CPS over sexual abuse of students

WBEZ: Lawmakers Hear Firsthand Accounts Of Sexual Abuse By CPS Staff

WTTW: ‘How Do We Trust You With Our Children?’ Lawmakers Grill CPS Leaders on Sex Abuse Scandal

Chicago Tribune: CPS’ latest response to sexual misconduct scandal: Teaming with Chicago center that investigates child abuse


Parents have been contacting us and asking us for resources. If you have other resources that we can share please send an email to

WTTW: Erin’s Law Meant to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse. What Happens When It’s Not Enforced?

Information about Erin’s Law

Resources from Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center

CPS Sexual Health Education web page

CPS Policy: Reporting of Child Abuse or Child Neglect


Friday night CPS data breach

There was another data breach in CPS, this one via Blackboard Connect. 3700+ students had their names, student ID numbers, and parent contact information shared on a public link for more than five hours Friday night. Here’s a statement from Cassie Creswell, co-director of Raise Your Hand Action, published in (full article here):

We are deeply concerned about yet another improper sharing incident of student data in Chicago Public Schools. The district’s response to being notified of the breach was especially concerning because (1) it was clear that they initially didn’t understand how the data had been shared (on the web vs as an email attachment), and it took hours for them to disable the web site. And (2) this is at least the second time that they’ve made this exact mistake.

CPS has a $950K contract with Blackboard Connect, but it seems that they haven’t received either the training or the support needed to properly use this product, one which interfaces with their own Student Information System.

This is just an error that’s come to light publicly; what else is happening that the parents and the public don’t even see?

Great Twitter thread on the entire situation. Thank you, @puppyfoot!

Block Club Chicago: Massive CPS Data Screwup Infuriates Parents Of Selective Enrollment Applicants

ERSB Sing-Along and the unelected BOE meeting: Wednesday, June 27

Join CPS parents and the elected school board bill for a Sing-Along Wednesday, June 27, at 9:30am at the Thompson Center. More information and please RSVP here. Facebook event page here.

On the same day, but at 10:30am, the unelected CPS BOE meets. If you intend to speak at or attend the meeting as an observer, online sign up begins Monday, June 25, at 10:30am sharp. You can register here. The meeting is Wednesday, June 27, 10:30am, at CPS, 42 W Madison. Please email us if you have any questions or need our tips for surviving the day at the unelected BOE:


Attention CPS parents of students with special needs!

Many parents who have kids in special ed don’t even know that the special ed inquiry happened and that the state is taking over special ed. Students who were illegally delayed and denied services between 2016-2018 may be eligible for compensatory services. CPS has not shared this info with parents so we’re asking you to share this flyer with any folks you know who have kids with special needs!

Please share the below flyer with fellow parents, on school social media sites, at community meetings this summer, etc. We’ve created a webpage here that you can share and which includes a link to a downloadable flyer in both English and Spanish.

Here is a must read recent news story from the Chicago Tribune:

CPS students denied special education services amid ‘cycle of chaos,’ parents say


NTA parents sue to halt school closure

Several NTA Elementary parents filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday seeking to stop their school from being closed and turned into a high school.

The Chicago Reporter: Lawsuit seeks to stop school closing, alleging racial discrimination

Sun-Times: National Teachers Academy parents sue CPS, saying closing violates civil rights

In other news

WBEZ: Furniture From Closed CPS Schools Ends Up In Surprising Places

WTTW: Ogden, Jenner Elementary Schools Prepare to Merge as School Year Ends

Block Club Chicago: No More School Uniforms: Drummond Montessori Students Win 5-Year Battle

Sun-Times: Study finds 10,000 families experienced homelessness in Chicago last year

Chicago Reader: Distinguished CPS principal resigns after threats, controversy over anti-police speaker

Better Government Association: Fact Check: Is CPS the Most Understaffed District in Illinois?


The Hechinger Report: Nearly 750 charter schools are whiter than the nearby district schools

Ars Technica: In nearly 500 pages of answers, Facebook stonewalls some senators’ questions

The Hill: Trump’s Education Department steps up to defend student privacy

The Network for Public Education and The Schott Foundation for Public Education: Privatization Report Card, Grading the States


Upcoming events

How Can Schools Spark Racial Equity? A Conversation with LSC Members

Tuesday, June 26


Chalkbeat Chicago, 1132 S. Wabash

Sponsored by Chalkbeat Chicago and Chicago United for Equity

This event is open to everyone not just LSC members.


Sing-along with the elected school board bill

Wednesday, June 27


Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph


Unelected Chicago Board of Education meeting

Online registration to speak or observe Mon June 25, 10:30am

Meeting Wed June 27, 10:30am

CPS, 42 W. Madison

Please contact us at if you need more information or advice on participating. (Did you know? Recent polling found that 83% of Chicagoans want an elected school board.)

⟹ The LSCs 4 ALL Coalition (which Raise Your Hand is a part of) is hosting LSC trainings on the near south side in June and July. The schedule is below or here.