School budgets for Elementary Schools out this week

High Schools shoud have received budgets last week and elementary schools will get their budgets this week. Please let us know the overall picture for your school. Below are some articles on this topic:

Catalyst Article - Princials get budgets but Uncertainty Remains

Education Forums this Month - with RYH and other fantastic parent and community groups!

There's a lot to talk about regarding education and Chicago! We are excited to be speaking on several panels this month along with other parent and community groups from around the city.

Coverage of Longer Day on April 23rd NPR Morning Edition

Raise Your Hand and members of the newly formed Chicago Parents for Quality Education were featured on Morning Edition yesterday on NPR. Check out the story here:

NPR Morning Edition Story

Raise Your Voice Lobby Day - Wednesday, May 9th

Sometimes you raise your hand to indicate you want to speak and sometimes you cannot wait; you need to "Raise Your Voice." Now is that time. On Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 we hope you will Raise Your Voice with us in Springfield. We will head to our state capitol to voice our concerns and experience as parents to the legislators whom we, “the people,” elected into office.

Mayor Emanuel and CPS switch gears and announce a 7 Hour Day for Elementary Schools

"Bowing to pressure from parents and teachers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday his modified plan for a longer school day"

"Emanuel backs 7-hour school day after parents protest longer plan"

 "Parent Power"

These are a few of the headlines that appeared following today's  press conference at Disney II Elementary where members of Raise Your Hand witnessed Mayor Emanuel announcing a change in his plans from a 7.5 hour to a 7hour school day for elementary students in Chicago.  The 7-hour day will include a 45-minute lunch/recess period, which RYH has been advocating for over the past year.

Indeed, the headlines are proof that the parent voice has been heard and that we are having an impact. Of course, we know that the headlines don't tell the full story. We know that time alone is not the answer that we have been seeking. We should acknowledge this small win, but we cannot and will not rest until the bigger picture of funding, staffing and programming are addressed. We must build on today's positive momentum and continue our efforts to ensure that CPS children get the quality education they deserve.

The Best Education, or Just the Longest?

Today RYH joined with parents from 15 other community groups at a press conference at city hall to announce our coalition, "Chicago Parents for Quality Education" and to present a white paper to the mayor on what we see as a quality school day for our children.

Here is our press release:

A new city-wide coalition of parents is urging the Mayor to revise plans for an unfunded 7.5 hour day and instead to focus on providing a quality day to all children in all Chicago Public Schools.

Meeting Recap with CPS on the Longer Day

Raise Your Hand was invited to meet with CEO Brizard, other CPS management and Board Member Jesse Ruiz last week to discuss the longer day. RYH conveyed our concerns that CPS does not have the funding to implemement a quality 7.5 hour day, especially given the projected deficit of $600 million for 2013 and roughly $1 billion for 2014.

Sign our Petition for a Quality, Funded Longer Day

While there is no consensus on the right length of day for our children in this city, there is a consensus around quality and funding for our kids' education. Parents are well aware that CPS has not adequately funded our current school day. Our children have had inadequate arts, physical education, language/bilingual programs, support services and much more for decades at many of our schools. Some schools can support some of these extras, but these programs should be basic standards for every child in Chicago.

A Day at the Board of Education...

I am one of many concerned parents who attended the Board of Education (BOE) meeting on March 28th during the public input session.  In case you have not had the luxury of attending a BOE meeting, let me tell you what it takes. Parents get up around 5:00 am and must take the day off of work. Some of us must hire child care or ask our spouses to also take a day off work to prepare kids for school.  Many of us have jobs that do not have benefits, so we don’t get paid. Others lose a precious vacation day. We then wait to be issued a number at 9 am. I received a number of 58 and then waited to see what that meant. Turns out I was a “lucky one” who managed to speak for my 2 minutes, with 7 minutes to spare, before the public comment period expired

Suffice it to say, expressing concerns as a Chicago parent to the BOE it is extremely difficult to pull off and we only make these sacrifices because we care about and believe in public education. We believe that if we prepare our speech (limited to 2 minutes) with reason, logic, and facts, the CPS and the BOE will listen.  We believe that no matter what our differences, CPS and the BOE desire parent engagement and the best for our communities.  We believe that the 120 seconds is our only chance to be heard by the people who affect policies that impact our children.

This Friday is deadline to file your LSC nomination form!

You still have a few days to file your nomination form to run for LSC! Did you read Jill Wohl's posts on the importance of running for LSC? Scroll down to read how LSCs can make a big difference in improving our schools.

And kudos  to CPS for creating a very cool tool to access information on LSCs in one easy spot. You can see how many seats are open and who is running at your local school here:


Thanks to CPS for providing this information!