New Series: Coffee with Mayoral Candidates- Lori Lightfoot, 8/31

We’re excited to announce that we’re co-sponsoring a series of Mayoral Candidate Meet and Greets with the group We Will. These events are an opportunity to engage with mayoral candidates directly and have your education questions asked and answered in an informal setting.
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Parents Testify at Student Data Privacy Subject Matter Hearing

Thanks to all of you who came out to the student-data privacy hearing on Tuesday, August 7, in the IL House Cybersecurity Committee! There were quite a few parents in attendance and several who testified. Raise Your Hand Action pushed for this hearing because we have been trying to get a simple data privacy bill passed and have come up against serious opposition from the ed tech lobby and school management groups. 

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Class Size Bill Vetoed; Facilities Bill Signed

Bad news alert! Governor Rauner vetoed our simple class-size bill yesterday, HB5481. This is a bill many parents helped advocate for as it would have required the state to have goals around class-size and it would have required districts to report on actual, individual class size for the current school year versus a grade-level average for a previous year.

The bill offered transparency to parents and taxpayers on what class-size is at their schools, and it codifies that the state values smaller class-sizes, in conjunction with the evidenced-based model that passed last year, which placed smaller class size as one of 27 essential practices. It seems the governor or his aides did not read the bill carefully. The veto message incorrectly states that the state’s annual report cards report the same class-size information that the bill requires. First, schools only report grade-level averages; the bill would have districts report the actual class size by teacher. Second, the annual report card reports last year’s class sizes; the bill would report the current year’s class size. The message also wrongly states that the bill would “limit” or “require” smaller class sizes. The bill recommends class-size targets; it does not mandate them.

It’s unfortunate that Gov Rauner doesn’t value smaller class sizes but there’s not much we can do to change his mind. So what can we do?

Call your state legislators and tell them to override the governor’s veto.

The Senate passed this w/ a veto-proof majority but the House did not, so we need to put pressure on House members who voted no. Who are those people? Here’s the list:

And the good news! The Governor signed HB5721, the ed facilities bill, that requires CPS to develop a list of potential steps to help under-enrolled schools. It also requires improved community engagement on facilities planning and decisions. RYHA worked on this with Blocks Together who were the main proponents with Rep Sonya Harper on the bill.

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How Does Capital Spending Vary By Ward?

To no one’s surprise, the CPS appointed board unanimously passed their FY 2019 budget Wednesday, July 25, which includes a $1B capital plan that perpetuates gross inequity throughout the city.

How does CPS make decisions about capital spending? With an unelected board those decisions are not transparent. Below is data on expenditures by ward and aldermanic voting record. Also, researchers at the UIC Voorhees Center released a report that shows which wards are getting their unmet facilities needs met based on 2013 assessments. The results are really staggering. You can find the UIC Vorhees Center report here: Proposed CPS Budget Reveals Geographic Disparities in Investment.

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Elected School Board Bill marches in Hyde Park Independence Day Parade!

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Recap: Sing-Along with the elected school board bill!

 

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On Wednesday, June 27, 2018, we hosted a Sing-Along with the elected school board bill at the Thompson Center. We then marched to CPS and hosted a press conference. Full recap below!

The School House Rock-style sing-along called attention to Springfield’s failure to bring democracy and accountability to CPS at a time when the district is facing new scandals every week. Parents shared stories about how the unelected school board has harmed their students, families and communities. 

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Student data privacy press conf with Sen Durbin; Springfield session wrap-up

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RYH Action statement in support of Sen. Durbin's Clean Slate for Kids Act

US Senator Dick Durbin announced the introduction of the Clean Slate for Kids Act today at the IIT-Kent Law School in Chicago, and Raise Your Hand Action was among the groups speaking in support of this bill. RYH Action statement and video below.

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Road trip to Springfield...with the elected school board bill!

 

On Tuesday, we traveled to Springfield with our friends from Parents 4 Teachers and the elected school board bill to see why she hasn’t been sent to the Governor’s desk yet!

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Parents deliver letter to Senate President Cullerton today to move the elected school board bill

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