No to the Chicago Education Partnership Charter School Proposal

The body is not even cold, yet, after the Austin community experienced the closing of four neighborhood schools (Robert Emmet, Louis Armstrong, Francis Scott Key, and Horatio May) this past spring some black elected officials and ministers are supporting the proposal submitted by the Chicago Education Partnership (CEP) for a charter school to be located in Austin. The CEP design team is the same team that leads By The Hand Club For Kids. By The Hand Club For Kids operates an after school program at its site located 415 N. Laramie in Austin for children 13 and under.

Guest post by Nancy Brandt: Avoiding a Train Wreck in the FY15 CPS Budget

Nancy Brandt was a founding board member of Protestants for the Common Good and served in that capacity until its merger with the Community Renewal Society.  She has extensive experience in public policy, with a special focus on adequate and equitable public education funding, and was before retirement a program officer for Continental Bank/Bank of America specializing in education and youth grants.   At St.

CPS posts new 10 Year Educational Facilities Master Plan

September 23, 2013: CPS has posted a new version of the draft EFMP

The Board of Education will vote to approve the 10 Year Educational Facilities Master Plan on Wednesday. There are changes to both the draft 10 Year EFMP and individual schools' EFMPs.You can take a look at the latest draft here:

Notes from the CPS Sept. 4 Informational Meeting about the EFMP

CPS Community Meeting about the draft Educational Facilities Master Plan

South Side Collaborative

September 4, 2013

A Knock at Midnight, Englewood

6:00 - 7:30 pm


Notes from Joy Clendenning, CPS parent 

The Falsely Accused

In the end, the vote to close 50 Chicago Public Schools was done so in bulk, all 50 at once lumped as one action to be voted on, the vote unanimous. All the schools were closed down.

One Mother's Reality

"Look, I want to show you this".  A woman held out her cell phone to me. I tilted it in the sunlight, trying to get a clear picture of what she was anxious for me to see. I was outside Chicago's City Hall. This woman, a Chicago Public School parent, along with dozens of other parents, and myself had just finished protesting the closings of fifty-one public schools. I looked at the screen and saw nine faces framed in a tic tac toe grid, like the open sequence to the Brady Bunch. These kids didn't look like the blond haired girls of Carol, or the freckled faces of Mike's boys either.

School Choice or School Clout? What to do when you're not Bruce Rauner

Guest blog post by Cassie Cresswell. 

I must confess that my husband and I put little forethought into where our daughter would attend school when we were buying our house three years ago. We found a house we liked in a neighborhood we were fond of and figured everything else would work out. When we realized that spending 1.5 hours each day driving our daughter to and from preschool was insane, we applied during the summer to a neighborhood school in our community where some families we knew were sending their children.

Our Children, Our Neighborhood, Our Schools

Guest Blog by Samantha Hedges - Samantha taught for Chicago Public Schools for 3 years, received her masters in social work and now does public policy advocacy on children's issues. She stands in solidarity with teachers and will continuously fight back against the destruction of public education and policies that hurt children.

On March 27, 127 brave, proud individuals put their freedom and bodies on the line by committing to arrest for the sake of our children’s education and neighborhood schools. I was one of them.

A Pep Rally for the Heart of the Community by Jennie Biggs

Picture this:  school buses with foggy windows pull up to the curb on a freezing night.  Doors swing open and a wall of voices fill the air as bundled up families, teachers, administrators, and community members file off the bus. If this is a regular sports pep rally, it’s very organized compared to the ones you might remember from your high school days when you traveled to rival schools for big games. People carry signs and wear their school's colors and shirts.  “What school spirit!” you think to yourself.

Culture of Testing emails from CPS teachers

I'm at a CPS elementary school - mainly low income, mainly Latino.  I have NEVER experienced such intense pressure to bring scores up before!  The pressure is such that we are mandated to start using the ISAT test prep books ("Buckle Down") by the beginning of December so that we can finish the books (180 pages of mind-numbing readings with multiple choice questions following) before t