This Week in Ed 9.13.18: Back to school party to support our work! Plus, back to school news!

We would be honored if you would join us and Raise a Glass for RYH on Tuesday, October 2, 5:30-8:30 in the “basement” of Lagunitas Brewery, 2607 W. 17th St.

Buy tickets hereBuy an ad in the program book here. You can still join the host committee here.

Our Facebook event page is here: please share on your Facebook page and invite your friends! We’ll see you there!



First Week at CPS: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We hope the first week back was smooth and happy for you and your children! We’ve heard lots of great stories and we’ve heard some not so great ones. There was lots of press coverage of it all!


Nice reporting on the Ogden-Jenner merger:

WBEZ: 2 Schools At Opposite Ends Of Income Divide Become 1

Chicago TribuneColumn: A Chicago public school with too many kids. Another with not enough. Two vastly different schools merge, ushering in hope.


Love this story of a first year teacher at Richards High School, a neighborhood high school:

WTTW: New Teacher Finds Affirmation on First Day of School


And here’s another nice back to school report featuring Michele Clark High School:

ABC 7: Chicago Public School students head back to school


This story from ABC 7 is very concerning: Student's sign language interpreter unavailable after CPS transfers him to new school Good for this parent for filing a complaint and calling the press. That’s the only way we are going to change the system.


We’ve been hearing from lots of parents about the lack of school nurses and it seems to be related to the temp agency, RCM, being hugely understaffed. Delayed background checks are at play here, but the bigger issue is a shortage of nurses. Please contact us if you are having nursing issues: [email protected]

Sun-TimesNurses assigned to CPS students still sidelined, awaiting background checks


More here on background check delays and the impact at the school level:

CBS 2: Many Substitute Teachers Fill CPS Classrooms, Hundreds of CPS Employees Wait For Background Checks


The Trib released a new CPS sex abuse story yesterday

We warn you that this is a brutal and horrifying read, and a former CPS Board President is prominently featured as the landlord of the sexual abuser.

Long-buried report concluded Chicago school principal ignored warnings in horrific sexual abuse case


ICYMI: Rahm will not be running for re-election

We emailed our statement on this big news last week. If you missed it, you can find it here or on Diane Ravitch’s blog. Here’s some press analysis:

Sun-TimesRahm Emanuel’s legacy: How will mayor be remembered?

Chalkbeat ChicagoWhat Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek re-election means for schools


Tax Credit Scholarships: Back in the news

Excellent podcast from WBEZ where Becky Vevea and Linda Lutton discuss IL’s program which was passed last year and began this current school year:

Public Money, Private Schools, And Politics


And a very recent article:

WBEZ: New State Scholarships Save Families Money, Steady Private Schools


On May 22, we hosted a forum on Tax Credit Scholarships. You can find all of the resources from that forum here.


Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) in Chalkbeat

An eye opening look at CZI. Worth a read.

Lifting the veil on education’s newest big donor: Inside Chan Zuckerberg’s $300 million push to reshape schools


ICYMI (and from a RYH email blast from May 11):

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.


Still waiting …

We hear that CPS will soon release a report called the “Area Regional Analysis” (ARA) which is apparently 400 pages long. As we told you some weeks ago, Kids First Chicago which used to be known as New Schools for Chicago which used to be known as The Renaissance Schools Fund produced this report, using CPS data.

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 a 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. From the parts we’ve seen we know there is a lot in the ARA about quality seats and 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 mostly determined by 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!

We have some questions about this ARA: What does a report like this mean for parents and families? 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.


In other news

Sun-TimesAhead of opening of nearby Obama center, Hyde Park Academy HS gets $40M boost

WBEZ: Illinois Proposes Fixes For Teacher Shortage

Chalkbeat ChicagoThe view from Bronzeville says a lot about what parents want

WBEZ: What My Students Taught Me

South Side WeeklyThey Say We Don’t Love Our Students

Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago invests $12 million into expanding pathway to construction trades

Sun-TimesJesse Sharkey officially succeeds Karen Lewis as head of Chicago Teachers Union

Chalkbeat ChicagoEmanuel touts pre-kindergarten, but will his envisioned $175 million initiative survive him?  

Chalkbeat ChicagoWhat crowdfunding is telling us about the future of Chicago education


This is really powerful reporting with so much student voice. Find some time to read this and don’t miss the video.

Chicago ReporterAlternative schools bear the brunt of student deaths in Chicago


Upcoming events

Raise Your Hand Action and Chicago Votes are teaming up to register new voters. Sign up for a two-hour shift in Rogers Park or Englewood. Help them expand democracy and get people to the voting booths! 

Details and registration here.

Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM Englewood

Monday, October 08, 2018 at 12:00 PM Rogers Park