More nasty stuff from Stand for Children in Chicago

Chicago Public Schools and Stand for Children staffers sharing a car? How cozy… (read about it below).

I didn’t name him, but the same Stand for Children creep I wrote about last month has been skulking around other Chicago parent group meetings, and some believe he and SFC should be exposed for the tactics they are using. I was asked to post this signed message which was originally posted on the Facebook page for the Grimes-Fleming (School) Child Advocates: 

On Friday, 3/9/2012, our organization, Grimes-Fleming Child Advocates had an informational meeting at Lawler Park in the Midway area. Our guest speakers were Christine McGovern and Maureen Cullnan of 19th Ward Parents, we invited our alderman Marty Quinn who was unable to attend, but sent a representative. CPS was contacted several times for two weeks prior and had confirmed two days before and as recently as 4:00pm, but did not show up. Interestingly, they had pressed to find out numbers in attendance. A CPS F.A.C.E. (Family And Community Engagement) representative did show up. Our meeting went great, 19th Ward Parents came with facts that are backed up with studies. The only distraction was that an uninvited person named Juan Jose Gonzalez from Stand For Children came and stood in the back telling our Spanish speaking parents in Spanish that what 19th Ward parents were stating were “lies”, “don’t believe them”, “that’s not true, they don’t know”. He attempted to create confusion and at one point at the end, he did manage to cause distraction when somehow he deferred our Spanish speaking parents to address questions to the F.A.C.E. rep, Ms. Teresa Meza. I was unaware that he was also asking parents for their phone numbers and stated only CPS knows the facts and made a comment to a parent that now caucasians want to talk to them. I am furious!

At the end only my husband, children and I were left with Ms. Meza and Mr. Gonzalez. I was asking Ms. Meza about her role at CPS and she was explaining, but Mr. Gonzalez was hovering, so I engaged him in conversation asking about his stand on the extended day. He was unaware I had already read up on him, know he is NOT from Chicago, is a Princeton grad and is imported from California to do his job. What I found, per Mr. Gonzlez statements is that, he is not a parent, he believes minorities are uneducated to undereducated and can not effectively guide their children, it is his “job” to make sure teachers pick up this slack, and he is hired to ensure Latinos and African Americans embrace the extended day. Not shocking, but what occured next certainly was. Ms. Meza and Mr Gonzalez left Lawler Park together. They left the park premises and entered a car parked alongside the park. This is infuriating!

***Mr. Gonzalez plays the race card while being predator of his own race, he is truly despicable. We are not as ignorant and taken to emotion as he thinks, we see through him.

Nellie Cotton

Ms Cotton also wrote this thoughtful piece on why it’s important to continue to fight the CPS 7.5 hour day:

I am a parent of children who attend Grimes-Fleming School in the Midway area. Please count us in the growing number of parents in opposition to the extended school day. We have started an organization, Grimes-Fleming Child Advocates to stand in solidarity with other CPS parents.

I want to dispel the myth that all “poor” schools are in need of an extended day due to academic failure. Grimes-Fleming is a school composed of over 80% Hispanic students, 87% of our students are low income, we have an attendance rate of 95.6%, our performance overall on all state tests is 86.2%, we exceed the state, district and sub-region scores.

This success comes from a dedicated, extraordinary principal leading an equally dedicated and exceptional teaching staff along with the guidance of parents who are actively engaged in their children’s lives. Our teachers come in before school starts, often as early as 7:30am to help students who need it. This is out of their dedication and their strong conviction that they are making a difference. Our school offers after school programs that tutor, help with homework, provide exercise. We have after school cheerleading squads, girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, musical keyboarding, newspaper, art classes, dance and  computer keyboarding. Our children take great pride in the knowledge they have teachers and parents that care enough to volunteer their time to make these programs possible. Our entire community nurtures our future. With an extended school day all this would be disrupted and would detract from the richness of their lives, our lives. We are real families who constantly interact with our children. Social interaction is important!

Our community is confused as to where the funds to add this time that is of no significance is coming from, as we are so strapped for funds. We have no extras, are short on essentials, are short staffed and could use money for so many other things, such as teaching materials, supplies, arts and such that would make a real impact.We have done so much with so little! Even using that money for more nutritionally sound lunches is a better option than extending the day. We do NOT need CPS to babysit our children. What CPS is doing is akin to holding children and families hostage.

Every school is NOT the same, every school should be given the opportunity to decide what is best academically for their students success. If we have so much money to toss about suddenly, why not put some of that money to good use so that it would actually benefit our children?

Nellie Cotton

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
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