Chicago parents’ letter to the Board of Education on longer day
February 22, 2012
Dear Members of the Chicago Board of Education,
Parents from community groups across the city have joined forces to help inform the Chicago Board of Education on what we view as necessary changes to the school day at CPS. Parents are concerned that Chicago Public Schools has set forth an agenda regarding the longer day that profoundly affects Chicago’s children and families without soliciting or listening to real parent feedback. We are deeply concerned that schools, teachers and students are being asked to do more with less resources and that this will have a highly demoralizing effect on our district, and, ultimately on our children and their attitude about formal education.
We are concerned that not all children will receive a well-rounded education, especially kids who are in schools with a high achievement gap and high drop-out rate. We do not believe that extending the day to include only more core subjects will address the achievement gap that separates too many of our city’s children. While each school has its own specific needs and culture, (one-size does not fit all), we are unified in believing that many of our children have been deprived of non-tested subjects and we want to see this better addressed in the CPS guidelines. For example, lumping PE and arts together demonstrates a lack of importance in two critical areas that have not been prioritized for too long.
In addition, we would like the following issues addressed to improve the alarming achievement gap in our city:
- A curriculum for all in addition to reading, math and science that includes regular physical education, arts (visual, drama, dance), music, recess, language acquisition, social studies and civics, and integrated technology led by a teacher.
- Better supports in the schools from social workers, psychologists, nurses and other developmental supports that address the needs of the whole child.
- Early childhood education and class sizes in primary grades that are manageable and allow kids to get the attention they need to learn and grow.
- Facilities upgrades. Many of our schools are in dire need of repair and upgrading.
- Our children have been stuck in a punitive culture of test prep and over-testing. They are being measured and assessed constantly at the elementary level, cutting into valuable learning time.
We have a lot of concerns about funding for the longer day and want transparency on what will and will not be funded. If increased funding is not available we want to know what CPS plans to cut to pay for the longer day. It is critical that parents and schools are brought into these conversations now before decisions are made. We look forward to working with you to ensure that many of these issues are addressed for Fall 2012 and beyond. We would like to be your partner in the education of our children. Thank you.
Black Star Project
CUQE (Communities United for Quality Education/Comunidades Unidas para una MejorEducacion)
19th ward Parents
POWER –PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew- Policy Action Council)
Progressive Action Coalition for Education
PURE (Parents United for Responsible Education)
Raise Your Hand Coalition
6.5 to Thrive