This Week in Ed 8.1.19: Lightfoot promises additional Social Workers, Nurses, & Case Managers BUT...

It’s just a start. We parents know that the reality on the ground, in our schools, ultimately doesn’t reflect the promises made by a mayor- we heard too many promises made at press conferences by Rahm.

We are cautiously optimistic since we have a new mayor who has appointed a new CPS Board of Ed who are taking steps to bring in more transparency and school community voice. We are committed to our work and will continue to work with you to hold Lightfoot, her appointed CPS Board of Ed, and CPS Central Office staff to these promises. 

In the meantime, here are some things we are thinking about in light of these promises:

The disinvestment in public education under the Emanuel administration has created a toxic work environment where burnout and a sense of futility is rampant in many schools. CPS has to commit to meaningfully rebuilding a decimated, understaffed work environment that remains in crisis because of deliberate disinvestment that has led to untenable working conditions and impossible work loads. 

The Mayor and CPS know that there are not enough qualified people who want to take these jobs in CPS. There are current vacancies for Special Education Teachers, Nurses and Social Workers -- unfilled positions that have gone on for YEARS. To realize the promise of hiring 250 additional CPS-employed nurses, 200 additional Social Workers and increased Case Manager positions, CPS has to improve working conditions for teachers, clinicians and Case Managers.

The number of Case Manager positions promised needs to factor in the number of students who have 504 plans in addition to the number of students who have IEPs.

The recommended ratio for Social Workers to students not in high poverty is 1:250. Students living in high poverty or with trauma- which is our district- need even more social workers than this ratio. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) suggests 1:50. Where's the plan to get to that 1:50 ratio in CPS?

The promises made will be implemented over 5 years- CPS students cannot wait 5 years. 

There are no details on funding for the promised staff. (Related: The CPS operating budget for 2019-20 is not yet available.)

Promised staff need to be hired and employed directly by CPS- no third party organizations or vendors. 

Under Emanuel, we parents learned quickly that big flowery announcements about great stuff for our schools did not translate into the promises on the press release. Collectively, let’s pay attention, let's keep talking and let's continue to advocate for what all of Chicago students need!

WBEZ: Chicago Mayor Offers Up Big Promises Of More School Nurses And Social Workers

Chalkbeat Chicago: Lightfoot promises hundreds of new school support jobs, but few specifics on how to fund them

Sun-Times: CPS plans to hire hundreds of social workers and nurses — but many positions still not filled from last pledge

Chicago Tribune: Lightfoot equity plan promises more nurses, social workers in Chicago Public Schools

Chalkbeat Chicago: Teacher turnover hits high-poverty schools particularly hard. Here’s how Chicago plans to keep more educators.


Save the date: Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand 2019!

Let's continue the conversation at a party... our annual fundraiser! Join us!


More details coming soon! Want to donate and support our work today?

Donate to RYH today!


Special Education news

On July 24, 2019, CPS announced its first step toward informing parents and guardians of students with IEPs of the “Student Specific Corrective Action” process that will take place at annual IEP meetings during the 2019–20 school year. Per CPS, more detailed information will be available in September 2019. Links to overview of CPS Student Specific Corrective Action are here in English and in Spanish.

CPS failed thousands of children with special education needs. If your child did not get any of the necessary services stated below, contact us: Check back for parent special education Know Your Rights/How to File State Complaint workshops, coming in October 2019. We’ve also created a web page with the flyer- please share with your parent networks

Sped_Summer_2019_Eng.jpg Sped_Summer_2019_Span.jpg


July 2019 unelected CPS Board of Ed meeting

There are even more changes that increase transparency! We’ve created a web page here which includes the following: our statements; a list of notable changes this new BOE is implementing to increase transparency including a link to video from the meeting (it’s now live streamed); and a list of all the press (there's a lot) related to the meeting.


$135M contract for curriculum in CPS

At the May 2019 CPS BOE meeting, a $135M contract for curriculum was approved- this is over 3 years, then there are additional costs for the 3 years that follow. The article linked below is a deeper dive into what this might mean for CPS. At the May BOE meeting, RYH asked the Rahm appointed CPS Board of Ed to table the vote on this contract & we provided a list of questions about the contract. You can read our statement here.

Chicago Tribune: Chicago teachers routinely create their own lesson plans — sometimes off Pinterest. But does that justify CPS spending $135M on a new curriculum?


CPS Back to School Bashes & a few CPS links

CPS is hosting Back to School Bashes across the city. You can find a schedule and more info in this Chalkbeat Chicago article: Free backpacks, immunizations: Here’s the list of Chicago ‘back-to-school bashes’ full of free stuff. CPS also has a Back to School web page here.

Helpful CPS links

Summer Meal Programs

Safe Haven Sites

2019-20 School Year Calendar


Two parent surveys!

Please consider taking these surveys. Neither are RYH surveys.


Chicago Tribune: Teens lead tours to show the real North Lawndale

Sun-Times: High school engineering scholars build bridges to their dreams

Block Club Chicago: In Hermosa, Mural Project Makes High School Transition Easier For Incoming Freshmen: ‘At Least You Know Somebody’


In other news

Chalkbeat Chicago: Room at the top: Chicago schools chief looks to fill leadership vacancies

WBEZ: Crash Course In American High School For New Migrant Students 

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago teachers to receive classroom guide to 1919 race riots by fall

WBEZ: Hundreds Of School Districts Nationally Deeply Divided Based on Race and Funding

Chalkbeat Chicago: Unlikely education allies press Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reform Chicago school funding

Chicago Reader: Sexual Miseducation

Chalkbeat Chicago: At Chicago job fair, hundreds line up for a chance at support-staff jobs

WBEZ: Remembering Emmett Till’s Funeral As A Catalyst For Civil Rights Movement

Sun-Times: New pizza restaurant aims to curb gun violence and uplift youth

Chalkbeat Chicago: How one Illinois program aims to train more resilient, longer-lasting teachers

Sun-Times: Will cops patrol your school? Local councils will have final say, CPS says


Worth a read

Pro Publica Illinois: Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid And a follow up story: U.S. Department of Education wants to stop ‘student aid fraud scheme’ where parents give up custody through dubious guardianships

Teaching Tolerance: When Schools Cause Trauma

New York Times: It Was Never About Busing


Upcoming events

Unelected CPS Board Of Education Meeting

Wed Aug 28, 10:30am

CPS, 42 W Madison

You must register online to speak. That registration begins on Mon Aug 26 at 10:30am.

Online registration to speak or attend is here. If you plan to attend, it is best to also register online in advance and starting Mon Aug 26 at 10:30am at the same link.

We will be there so please contact us if you need assistance:

Note: The agenda for the meeting is available at at 10am on Aug 26.


⟹ Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand 2019! Our annual fundraiser… SAVE THE DATE!

Tues Oct 22, 5:30 - 8:30pm

Lagunitas Brewing Company, 2607 W. 17th Street

More details coming soon! 



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