Why support RYH at our annual fundraiser on Tuesday, Oct 2, 5:30-8:30pm? A note from a CPS parent & member of our fundraiser committee:
Hello fellow public education supporter,
I have a photo from six years ago almost to the day: it's my family holding picket signs in the playground behind Ray School from when teachers went on strike over a longer school day and labor conditions. It reminds me of the school closing hearings, state budget fights, and assorted other CPS zaniness over the years. I believe Raise Your Hand keeps the people inside the Board of Ed building from going totally off the rails, which is one reason we helped plan a fundraiser to honor special education parents’ epic fight this past year and raise funds to support continued organizing on this issue and so many other issues on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
In all seriousness, the only way to ensure we have good schools is to organize and build power to hold the Board of Education and CPS accountable, at every school and meeting and all year long. From the longer school day to school closings to local fights citywide to special ed, Raise Your Hand has shown parents together can do that. Now Raise Your Hand’s leaders want and need to get even more organized.
We decided to help plan the fundraiser this year to help them do that — getting together funds for organizing more training, that can bring more parents into the organization, who can build more power and raise more funds. It’s kind of a virtuous cycle. Hope you can join us October 2 — buy your tickets here and join us for delicious food, incredible company and great beer (and non alcoholic drinks)! Free and ample parking at Lagunitas Brewing!
I look forward to meeting YOU on October 2 at Raise a Glass for RYH!
Annual Regional Analysis (ARA) posted on CPS website
CPS contracted with an organization to put together a large report analyzing schools by region using categories like quantity of seats, school quality, school choice, and program variety. You can see the analysis here but please note: the foundation of this report has a lot of flaws, in our opinion.
In addition to posting the ARA on their website, CPS also sent LSC members an email with the subject line ,”New Application Process for Investments in Schools.” At a press conference, CPS announced the “creation of an application process for programmatic investments that will put the voice of our school communities front and center”. Here’s the press release. In other words, schools and communities will be asked to submit proposals as part of a yet-to-be-established application process for such programs as IB, STEM, fine and performing arts, CTE, world languages, etc. We can not find a timeline for this process but in the press release there is this: “Letters of Intent will be due in late October and CPS will review all proposals and announce the successful applications in the spring of 2019.” According to the communication with LSC members, CPS will be conducting “community workshops” to help schools and communities with their proposals. CPS will be encouraging schools and communities to use the ARA to inform their proposals.
We are happy that CPS is sharing information with parents, schools, and communities and will be engaging with them on school level and community level planning. However, we have some concerns.
As we’ve told you, 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. This organization has pushed school privatization, which diverts scarce resources from district run schools to privately run schools. There is much 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 also take issue with the number of “empty seats” given the flawed space utilization formula that CPS uses to calculate space utilization. We will have a lot more to say about this as it unfolds.
What can you do now? We encourage you to reach out to your LSC members and make sure they received this communication from CPS. If you are on a LSC, please put this on your agenda, monthly, until this process is complete. We encourage all of you to pay attention to this and plan to attend any community meetings associated with this yet to be announced process. We will do our best to keep you informed when we discover information about any of the above. Below is some press:
Are you having trouble with getting nursing coverage CPS?
If so, you’re not alone, and RYH is helping to organize parents on this issue. No matter what the budget scenario is, parents are not supposed to have to miss work to take care of their childrens’ medical needs at school Email us if you want to share something going on at your school at email@example.com.
Fingerprinting and undocumented immigrant parents: school level impacts
One of the actions CPS took after the Chicago Tribune exposed rampant sexual abuse in the district was background re-checks and expansion of background checks of employees, vendors, coaches, and adults who spend great amounts of time with CPS students. Communities, especially ones with high populations of immigrant communities, are now speaking out about how this enhanced policy is impacting parents at the school level.
LSC members in Rogers Park have written a letter to the mayor, unelected BOE, and CPS leadership asking that LSC members be reclassified as Level II volunteers instead of the current status of Level I volunteer. You can read the letter in English here and in Spanish here—there is also a link to a form if you’d like to sign on to the letter. These two articles explain the situation:
More school level impacts on parents and community: Community based organizations have had to cancel English and GED classes offered at 27 schools:
RYH Action voter registration drive!
The November election is fast approaching. Want to take concrete action to expand d e m o c r a c y before voting day? Spend two hours helping your fellow Chicagoans get registered to vote!
Chicago Office of Inspector General issues report on police officers in Chicago schools
In a report released last week, the Chicago OIG confirms that CPS and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) have no legal agreement around the role of police officers in the schools as part of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program. “OIG has concluded that CPD’s recruitment, selection, placement, training, specification of roles and responsibilities, and evaluations of its SROs assigned to CPS are not sufficient to ensure officers working in schools can successfully execute their specialized duties,” Lipari (Deputy IG) wrote to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city council. Also, neither CPS or CPD keeps track of which officer is in what school. The OIG believes that a legal agreement between CPS and CPD is needed right now. Communities have responded by demanding social workers in place of police officers in the schools. Some press coverage below:
IL State Board of Education (ISBE) releases Teach Illinois Report
The report, entitled "Teach Illinois: Strong Teachers, Strong Classrooms, Policy Solutions to Alleviate Teacher Shortages in Illinois," can be found here. You can send feedback on the report and its policy recommendations until October 2, 2018, to this email address: TeachIllinois@isbe.net. Some related press below:
In other news
Beautiful piece here about a Payton HS alumnus. #cpsuccess Chicago Tribune:Chris Connolly is a brilliant medical student. He's also a quadriplegic — and the person who may change the way we think about doctors
Education Week: FBI Raises Alarm on Ed Tech and Student Data Privacy, Security You can read the FBI warning here.
Chalkbeat Chicago: A guide for families trying to navigate Chicago schools’ enrollment system
Medium: For black, brown, and low-income students, public education is underfunded on purpose Full AROS (Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools) report: Confronting the Education Debt
Online registration to speak or observe: Mon Sep 24, 10:30am
Meeting: Wed Sept 26, 10:30am
CPS, 42 W. Madison
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information or advice.
Wed Oct 24, 5:30 - 8:30pm
DePaul University Student Center Room 314AB
2250 North Sheffield Ave