This Week in Ed 8.24.18: CPS Board votes on updated policies re: volunteers in schools and student-teacher communication

The CPS BOE voted to update certain policies around student-teacher/staff communication through technology and vetting of volunteers. These policies come in the wake of the CPS sexual abuse scandal.

Staff/student communication through technology

  • All communication via personal social media accounts between students and teachers/staff is banned
  • No phone calls, voicemails, or text messages are allowed between students and CPS employee personal mobile devices
  • 7th-12th graders and staff- texting only allowed for these grades with parent permission
  • Teachers/staff can’t use personal social media to conduct CPS business
  • Students may communicate with staff through district-provided email/messaging platforms or district-run social media accounts

More details on student/staff communication in the below press coverage:

Chicago Tribune: CPS board votes to bar communication between students, teachers on personal devices

Hoy: CPS cambiaría cómo interactúan maestros y estudiantes

WTTW: CPS Limiting Phone, Social Media Contact Between Students and Teachers

ABC 7: CPS to change policy on texting and social media use between students, staff

Vetting of volunteers

  • In addition to a background check, there will be a check of the iL and national sex offender registry; There will be annual checks
  • Principals are tasked with creating volunteer schedules for each individual volunteer

More details here: WTTW: CPS to Update Volunteer Policies in Wake of Sex Abuse Scandal

CPS obviously needed to update some of these policies, but it doesn’t seem like they engaged any stakeholders when creating them. Jesse Sharkey of the CTU said he learned about this from the press. During the CPS presentation of the staff/student communication policy changes, CPS did say they would work with teachers, principals, and students on these policies moving forward- we do hope this is the case.


RYH Statements at the BOE meeting and other press coverage

You can watch video of our testimonies and read the text of our statements here. Topics included student data privacy and recent CPS data breaches; GoCPS data and the Hickey report on sexual misconduct at CPS; and special education students and GoCPS high school placement. We are grateful to parent Sherry C for going to the CPS BOE to share her experience with GoCPS and the inappropriate placement it yielded for her daughter. If you have a rising 9th grader with an IEP who did not get an appropriate placement, send us an email: You can watch video of her testimony here.


Sun-Times coverage of King College Prep HS recording of principal which was presented to the BOE by King HS LSC members and parents: CPS reviewing Bronzeville principal’s barring kids from dressing ‘provocatively’


CPS Sexual Abuse Report released last Friday

A 94-page report came out late last week after attorney Maggie Hickey did a preliminary investigation into systemic sexual abuse and misconduct at CPS. We read the report and wrote a statement, which you can find here. The report is linked in the statement.


CPS hired Kids First Chicago to write an “Annual Regional Analysis”

Last Friday night, Chalkbeat Chicago released the below story which included part of an “Annual Regional Analysis”(ARA) written by Kids First Chicago which used to be known as New Schools for Chicago which used to be known as The Renaissance Schools Fund. We hear the full citywide ARA is 400 pages long. The public has not seen the full report. It is unclear when the full ARA will be released to the public, though the article references an event on October 10 where Kids First will present it to Forefront.

What kinds of decisions will this ARA drive? Will communities get to weigh in on and comment on the ARA? Will the ARA provide context as to how CPS and city policies and decisions impacted CPS enrollment? Note: This ARA is not the 2018 Educational Facilities Plan (EFMP) which CPS is required by law to update by July 1, 2018.

Raise Your Hand has seen about 20 pages of the report, as another organization had parts of it and gave it to us. CPS claimed at the BOE meeting that we’ve seen the report but they did not share an actual copy with us and we have not seen the full 400 page report. There is a lot in the ARA about quality schools using the CPS level system as a metric. RYH feels strongly that the CPS level system (SQRP or School Quality Rating Policy) does not tell parents enough about what’s actually happening at a school. A school's level is reflected of standardized test scores and attendance (attendance is especially relevant in elementary school levels.) There’s so much more that matters in determining the quality of a school that is not taken into account in the CPS level system!

Chalkbeat Chicago: Secret CPS report spotlights big vacancies, lopsided options for students

Chalkbeat Chicago: Here’s a closer look at Kids First Chicago, the group behind a report sparking debate


Save the Date for our annual fundraiser!

NEW! More details and link to purchase tickets here!

RYH’s Annual Fundraiser

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

5:30 - 8:30 pm

In “the Basement” at Lagunitas Brewery, 2607 W 17th St


RYH Action News: Rauner vetoes Class Size Goals bill but Facilities bill signed

You can read an update from Raise Your Hand Action here. In other education bill news, here’s some press from the Sun-Times: Gov. Rauner axes three education bills approved by Illinois General Assembly.


In other news

Beautifully written piece here! Don’t miss it… Chicago Reader: CPS closed Stewart Elementary School in 2013. Now it’s a luxury apartment building.

Sun-Times: ‘You can’t cheat’ and other good back-to-school advice from experts- CPS kids

WBEZ: Uncertain Future For Chicago Teachers Union

Chalkbeat Chicago: 4 ways to give people of color more voice in Chicago schools

Chicago Tribune: Commentary: CPS students deserve free transportation every school day

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago teachers: What’s on your mind this year?

The New York Times Magazine: The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley- and Won


Upcoming events

⟹ Community BBQ, Dyett Hunger Strike Commemoration & Elected Representative School Board (ERSB) Rally

Sponsored by Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO)

Thursday, August 30

5 - 8pm

Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st Street

RSVP and more information here.