The Tribune looks in-depth at space utilization at CPS

and CPS' Becky Carroll says that "big classes don't necessarily hamper learning. It's the quality of teaching in that classroom," Carroll said. "You could have a teacher that is high-quality that could take 40 kids in a class and help them succeed."

School closing critics question CPS' 'ideal' class size of 30 students

Right-Sizing the District: A Page Out of the 2009 Broad Foundation Handbook

Seth Lavin, former education blogger and father of a future CPS student, recently shared an interesting find on his twitter feed, a 2009 handbook on school closings written by the Broad Foundation. The Broad Foundation is a venture philanthropy organization that invests millions in education and trains superintendents around the country, including JC Brizard. The current CPS CEO, Byrd-Bennett, is an Executive Coach with Broad.

Meeting with Chief of Accountability at CPS - 2/21/13

We were invited to meet with the Chief of Accountability at CPS this week. He had to cut out early for another meeting and we met with the new Director of Assessment after he left. CPS is planning to do "focus groups" soon with parents, teachers and admin on testing and say they have been tasked with reducing the amount of standardized tests by CEO Byrd-Bennett but could not give any details of their plans. This is a follow-up letter we sent to Mr. Barker, Chief of Accountability.


Action Alert: Springfield to eliminate class size caps for special education rooms

Yesterday the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) passed a proposal that would lift formal class size limitations on special education classrooms and allow all decisions on class size limits to be made at the local level. We strongly oppose this proposal and agree with the many special education advocates who testified against it in Springfield this week.

If this proposal passes, the state would no longer require smaller class sizes for special education students and would allow CPS and other districts to make their own determination about the size of self-contained rooms which now have caps in place. For example, small classes currently serving autistic children who require calmer settings could be much larger under this plan.

General classrooms would also be affected if this proposal is made final. Currently, no more than 30% of a general classroom can be comprised of students with IEPS. This proposal moves to eliminate that cap and make it a local decision. We are very concerned with how this would impact all of our classrooms at CPS.

What can you do?

We are told this proposal will go to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules next. Call the state representatives who are on this committee and tell them to oppose this change. We need to keep state mandates on class size limitations for our special education students as these limits are in the best interest of children and will impact all of our classrooms if changed. Also call your own district reps and tell them about this. There may be a period of public comment in the next few weeks as well, so consider writing something to share. 

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules:


6933 W. North Ave 329 State House

Oak Park IL 60302 Springfield IL 62706

708/848-2002 or 217/782-8176D-3


CPS' Response to Seth Lavin's 10 Questions on School Closings

Seth Lavin (former writer of the newsletter Wonks and dad of a future CPS student who lives in the attendance boundary of a school on the closing list) tweeted these 10 questions to CPS recently. He got a response and we're sharing here:
Q1: You’ve estimated $500K in savings per closed school.

Moratorium on Charter School Expansion, Did Your Alderman Sign?

On Feburary 13, 2013 a resolution was introduced at City Council:

Call for Chicago Board of Education to establish moratorium on charter school expansion for 2014-2015 school year.

Simply put why is CPS opening up new charter schools when they have 129 neighborhood schools on the chopping block for closure?

As recent as Dec. 7th, 2012, CPS proposed five new Charter schools and One Contract and have a total of 19 new schools pending/approved by the BOE for Fall 2013. This during the same time that the City and CPS campaigned about the loss of students and the need to close 100+ schools.

For some reason Mayor Emanuel, CPS BOE and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett can justify Charter School expansion because they claim there is a long waitlist for them. They have taken the need for better public schools in CPS to mean Charter schools. But somehow they are deaf to the voices of thousands of parents, students and communties that are asking for their neighborhood school to be saved. Or at least base closings on correct data and well-defined criteria.

These 35 alderman, like many of the parents and students in CPS recognize the hypocrisy of the Mayor, CPS BOE and CEO Byrd-Bennett in opening new Charter schools while closing neighborhood schools.

Is your alderman on board? If not, why not? See list below:

Raise Your Glass Winter Bash - Thursday, February 28th



Come out and help us celebrate a fine list of accomplishments and help us raise funds to continue our work for the year ahead

Date: February 28, 2013
Location:  Mrs. Murphy and Sons, 3905 N. Lincoln Avenue
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00pm 

Buy Your Tickets Online:


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