54 School Closings Means Overcrowding for all of Us

After months of saying we have a space utilization crisis the narrative has shifted and the city now says the closings are all about school performance and their need to save kids who are trapped in "failing schools."

Here's one example of a school the city considers failing that is going to be shuttered, Lafayette Elementary. 

Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drj4aE8tXko

CPS wants to close 54 schools and shutter 61 buildings

CPS has never closed more than 13 schools in one year and the district has a master facilities plan that is due in October yet they are proposing this move without any research or evidence to back it.

Here’s the list:


Interactive map from Sun-Times:

Raise Your Hand calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ensure a transparent and open process for Board of Education appointment

The resignation of Penny Pritzker from the Chicago Board of Education creates a vacancy that will be filled through an appointment by Mayor Emanuel. Previous Emanuel appointments to the Board of Education have been made with no public discussion. In fact, the last resignation by a member was actually announced by the mayor at the same time that his replacement was named, with no opportunity for outside input.

CPS sends survey to Potential Program Providers for "Welcoming Schools"

This was sent to us today. CPS is looking for vendors to provide field trips to welcoming schools?


Share our Infographic on Mass School Closings

Print it out, pass it around, flyer your neighborhood. Mass school closings are bad for kids and bad for our neighborhoods. Especially when people in charge at CPS just moved here and are not familiar with our schools, our kids, our city. 

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. http://www.scribd.com/doc/127292372/1344-schoolclosureguide. 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


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: