What happened this week? Where do we go from here?

Dear Parents,

What a week. What does it all mean? Why was my kid out of school? What’s going to change for the short-term and what’s going to possibly change for the long-term? What is the role of parents in all of this?  We know there are a range of opinions and questions from parents right now.  Most of us will be thrilled that our kids will likely be returning to school this week.

That said, we have to recognize that we have many issues regarding public education that were not being addressed that are on the radar right now. We don’t expect all of these issues to be solved this week, and we never did, but we think it’s a positive that there is a large public dialogue happening about the education of our children and really all children in our nation. There are big issues at hand – teacher evaluation, school closings and privatization, the gross underfunding of our public school system. We have had visits and interviews from CNN, MSNBC, Huffington Post National this week and have done our best to get the word out about deficiencies in our childrens classrooms.

This has been a tough year in education in Chicago. One of the biggest problems, as we see it, is lack of dialogue and top-down decision making from the board of education. We want parents, teachers and community to have a voice in decisions that impact their local schools. That has not been happening. For that reason, we have been working on the elected school board campaign. Email us if you want to get involved:info@ilraiseyourhand.org.

We want a public dialogue about resources are spent in education. That hasn’t been happening. We don’t believe there is enough money to give every child the “world class education they deserve.” For that reason, we have been trying to put the attention towards funding for 2.5 years. We are embarking on a two-year funding campaign this fall. If you want to get involved emails us: info@ilraiseyourhand.org.We want a dialogue about the amount of standardized testing our kids receive. We are working on a forum 11/1 on this issue and will provide more info soon.

Many people on this email list have not been touched by the issue of school closings. We want a public dialogue about this issue and community input to be valued when making these decisions. Many of our schools are labeled “failing” and “on probation.” Our district has the highest suspension of African American boys than any in the nation. We do not want any of our children labeled as “failing.” We have not begun to address the issues of poverty and neighborhood neglect underlying these descriptions. We need a better culture at CPS to work on solutions together.

Thanks to all of you who have volunteered this week in different efforts around the city. This week has helped start a bigger dialogue about public education but we have a massive amount of work to do if we want to see real change in the classroom.

Come out to Gannon’s Pub, 4264 N. Lincoln this Tuesday night at 8pm to be with other CPS parents and chat about where we are at and where we need to go.

Consider making a donation to help us power our efforts this year. We have met 39% of our summer fundraising goal and need your support.