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


Raise Your Hand talks school closings on Chicago Tonight - 2/19/13

We were honored to be invited to discuss school closings on Chicago Tonight with Jesse Ruiz, VP of the Chicago Board of Education and Rebecca Harris of Catalyst Magazine. You can watch the video here:


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:

CPS Releases List of 129 Schools for Potential Closure

CPS releases list of 129 schools for potential closure

2/9 Chicago Education Facilities Task Force Meeting Wrap-Up

Thanks to Jennie Biggs for providing these notes:

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:

Sign and Share the More than a Score Petition - Our Kids are Taking too many Standardized Tests!

Yesterday, CPS approved a policy that will change the way our Principals are evaluated so that 50% of their evaluation is based on student test scores. This news causes concern among many parents who wonder:

Apples to Apples Post: Does Central Office use 36 as the Average Maximum Class Size or Not

From Jeanne Marie Olson's Apples to Apples Blog:

I want to clear up right away is this issue of the number “36″ and the space utilization formula.

Notes from Saturday's Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force Meeting

Notes from RYH Hyde Park parent Joy Clendenning from the CEFTF meeting - 1/12/13