December 2011 Update

Raise Your Hand has been busy as usual working to bring a stronger parent voice to policy-making at CPS.  We have held three community forums since September on the longer day, in North Center, West Garfield Park with the Progressive Action Coalition for Education and in Beverly. In Garfield Park and Beverly, we were able to have representatives from CPS and the CTU to answer your questions, and we plan to have more forums in the coming months with the goal of hearing from different parents in different communities on their thoughts and concerns over this issue.

We are continuing to attend the Longer Day Task force with CPS. There have been two meetings so far with a third meeting scheduled in December. We don’t yet know any specifics on what will be funded for next year but we do know that CPS has asked for a preliminary schedule from schools by the end of January.  There are many unanswered questions that we need addressed by CPS.  We will post any information we have on our website as we receive it.

We have also been meeting and partnering with many different community organizations this school year.  What we are finding – parents all over this city have common goals.  Parents want a voice in their children’s education and they want a process of real inclusion.  That means having a forum, in their own school, at the CPS level, and beyond. We encourage parents to go to their LSC meetings, the CPS board meeting, their alderman, state reps and beyond, to advocate for their children.

Last week, we endorsed the Neighborhood Agenda for schools sponsored by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and many different community groups. You can read about it here:

http://www.lsna.net/Issues-and-programs/Schools-and-Youth/Neighborhoods-Agenda-for-Schools-11-18-11-.html

In upcoming months, we plan to return focus to the education funding issues that plague our state. So many of the policy issues in Chicago come down to resources. There are areas where CPS can improve in their spending and budgeting, but our heavy reliance on property taxes in this state coupled with our state being last in education funding, make for dismal and inequitable outcomes.  If you would like to get involved in this endeavor, please email us and let us know.

Lastly, as you go to make your year-end donations, think of giving a gift to Raise Your Hand. We have accomplished a lot in the past year and have much challenging and exciting work ahead of us. Your financial support will go a long way in helping us get there.

Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for raising your hand and being active and engaged parents!

RYH