Ed Week in Review: December 21, 2012

Make a tax-deductible holiday donation to RYH

Here's your chance to make a tax-exempt holiday contribution as 2012 comes to a close. We want to continue to work hard in 2013 on various issues from funding to standardized testing to class size and more, and we need your support to do so:

Click here to make an easy donation. Every dollar counts: http://ilraiseyourhand.org/civicrm/contribute/transact/?reset=1&id=4

On Space Utilization and the Narrative of Right-Sizing the District

CPS is planning to close a very large number of schools this year. They claim that they have 140 schools that are half-empty. Luckily, we have a very dedicated parent working with us, Jeanne Marie Olson, who has analyzed the way CPS determines their numbers and has found that they use a formula that works to both exaggerate underutilization and underreport overcrowding. You can have 36 students in every homeroom in your building and still be considered “efficient” under this formula.

Give a Holiday Gift to Raise Your Hand

Dear Raise Your Hand member, 

As the holidays approach we are very grateful for the sense of community that parents are creating across school and neighborhood lines in Chicago. It has been inspiring to see over 6,000 people come together in a strong and unified voice for better public schools. Over the past three years we have accomplished so much that many people aren’t aware that we’ve done it with no staff and almost no budget.

Guest post from Pete Leki on School Closings and the Commission on School Utilization Meetings

Pete Leki started the ecology program at Waters elementary and Chaired the first Local School Council there.

Much has been said lately about the determination of the CPS to close down "100 schools" because of under-utilization.  Under-utilization.  Another word borrowed from the business-model lexicon. It is as though local public schools were equivalent to MacDonald's or Dunkin Donuts.  Business dwindling? Shut it down and move.

11/29 Culture of Testing Forum Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who came out on Thursday night to our forum.  There was a lot to tackle and our main goal was to start a more public and open discussion about the amount/utility and impact of standardized testing in our schools. Thanks to Tim Furman for recording the event.  You can watch parts of it here:


The Washington Post covered it via Tim’s blog:

Apples to Apples Release: Underutilized CPS Elem Schools Overestimated by 24% Overcrowding Higher than Reported



Flawed Formula Categorizes Some of CPS’ Highest Performing Schools as “Underutilized” Placing them at Risk for Closure

Out of the mouths of parents

Below is a letter that one of Raise Your Hand's parent leaders sent to all of her representatives in Springfield (including the Governor and Lt. Governor) about her frustration with Chicago education leadership and opposition to more harmful policies coming down the pike.

Recap of 11/20 City Council Hearing on School Actions

RYH attended the Chicago City Council hearing called by 34 aldermen who comprise the Education Committee regarding school actions on Tuesday, November 20th.  A state law was passed in 2009 that says CPS has to announce potential school actions (closings, phase-outs, turn-arounds) by December 1st to give families enough time to plan to apply for other schools if their school is going to be closed. This year, CPS has requested an extension of this deadline from the state legislature to March 31st.

Elected School Board Results by Ward/Precinct

Hi all,

As you know, the elected school board referendum was on the ballot in 327 precincts across the city on November 6th and voters resoundingly said they want an elected board. 87% of people who had the chance to vote said yes to an elected board. 

Below is a spreadsheet with the results of the vote and you can see that people from Altgeld Gardens and Beverly to Rogers Park, Lincoln Park and Uptown had this on their ballot. 


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