Posts Tagged ‘charter shcools’

More on rent-a-protesters from WGN; parents’ real choice

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Jackie Leavy has sent around another powerful post. We sure miss her and Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, which she ran for years, but what a gift that she is still speaking out so effectively. Please note her spot-on comment about today’s Tribune editorial: “The Tribune criticizes protesters who are questioning CPS’ School Actions and Turn-Arounds for disrupting the CPS Board meeting last month. However the Editorial is silent on the phenomenon of folks being recruited by organizations that have contracts with CPS and paid to say they support CPS at the recent public hearings.”


From Jackie:

Dear Supporters of Great Public Schools for All Students: 

Tuesday, Jan. 24th (during the President’s State of the Union address) –  WGN broadcast a report on the CPS School Action Hearings. Since many of us likely didn’t get a chance to see it, here is the link – this is a report you don’t want to miss:–20120124,0,340019.story

WGN reports that the Chicago Teachers Union plans to call on CPS’ Inspector General to investigate. WBEZ is also continuing to cover the story, with a promise to “follow the money” by reporter Linda Lutton on air this morning (01/26). 

West Humboldt Park Parents Vote Overwhelmingly to Reject Proposed AUSL Turn-Arounds:

On Jan. 24th, CASALS and PICCOLO schools parents held their own VOTE to see what parents really want for their schools. Latrice Watkins, Piccolo Parent and LSC Chair explained, “We knew that the reality of or schools was being ignored, so to show the support for what’s happening in our schools, we organized this election. . . . What’s happening at Piccolo already is a turn-around. . . . CPS did not take into consideration the great momentum at the school.”  Ms. Watkins said, “We got together and began calling parents and talking to parents. . . . We want to send a message that there is a big mistake being made here.”  Only parents/guardians could vote, and there was one vote per household. Casals joined in as well to take a vote at their own school. ELECTION RESULTS:

  •  At Pablo Casals:  93% of the 171 parents/guardians who voted yesterday resoundingly rejected CPS’ Plan to have AUSL take over their school.
  •  At Piccolo:  89% of the more than 100 parent/guardians voting said “NO” to the proposed AUSL take-over.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  SOTO “WANTS TO STOP SCHOOL REFORM COLD”. . . “DON’T PROTECT FAILING SCHOOLS”. . . “LEGISLATORS . . . RESIST THE URGE TO MEDDLE:  Today the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board published the attached editorial. It says State Rep. Soto is trying to “stop school reform cold.”  The Tribune focuses on how terrible Guggenheim, Crane HS, and Dyett HS are. The editorial states “lawmakers in Springfield don’t know best about which Chicago schools should be closed or spared. That’s rightly a local decision.” The Tribune criticizes protestors who are questioning CPS’ School Actions and Turn-Arounds for disrupting the CPS Board meeting last month.  However the Editorial is silent on the phenomenon of folks being recruited by organizations that have contracts with CPS and paid to say they support CPS at the recent public hearings.

What’s Next?

—  Proposed School Actions:  Hearings again tonight and tomorrow night at 125 S. Clark: THURSDAY, 01/26:  5:30 PM – Doolittle East Elementary; 8 PM Guggenheim Elementary.  Friday, Jan. 27th:  5:30 PM Dyett HS; 8 PM:  Lathrop Elementary.  THEN . . . Watch for the Independent Hearing Officers’ Reports to be posted online at CPS’ website – between next week and February 7th.  BOARD VOTES on FEB. 22nd.

—  DOCUMENT & CIRCULATE YOUR ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR YOUR SCHOOLto the media and your elected officials; send to CPS’ CEO Jean Claude Brizard and to the CEFTF:  Be as specific as you can be: What you want to do, what you need to do it.

—  CPS Hearings on Proposed Turn-Arounds next week! Schedule here. Ask your elected officials to consider YOUR ALTERNATIVE proposals.

— Invite a CPS Board member to your next CAC meeting, LSC meeting, or your school/community, or to a meeting, to learn about your ALTERNATIVE PLAN for YOUR School.

—  Read the Tribune Editorial.  You may decide you want to “weigh in” and respond.  If you do, here is the link to submit a Letter to the Editor:,0,3578487.customform.


PSAT for 7-26-11: Can’t go to the SOS march? Here’s what you can do instead.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Thousands of people will be converging on Washington, DC this week to speak out in support of our schools at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action.

I’ll be there with a contingent of parents, members of Parents Across America. We have a full schedule.

On Thursday we will be meeting with members of Congress. We have packets prepared for them with the PAA position papers on ESEA reauthorization and on the recent House bill to expand charter schools. We will also share some fact sheets including “Why Tying Teacher Salaries to Test Scores Doesn’t Work,” a comparison chart of the relative success of reducing class size versus using Race to the Top strategies (no surprise – class size reduction works better!), and a summary of recent independent polling information showing a drop of 11% in the American people’s support for the Obama administration’s education policies since 2009 – now 33% give him a “D” or an “F”.

On Friday, I’ll be listening to Diane Ravitch and presenting a workshop on how to work for a better ESEA, with PAA’s crack legislative consultant, Gene Fisher.

On Saturday, of course, we’ll be marching to the White House with Matt Damon and several thousand other people.


Strengthen our voices in DC by adding your own. Please call or fax your Senators and Congressmen this week – Thursday would be best!

  • Tell them that they need to listen to their constituents on ESEA, not to rich education hobbyists who have spent billions marketing a false image of our public schools and promoting ideas that are expensive and don’t improve education.
  • Tell them that you oppose HR 2218, the charter school expansion law.
  • Share your own experience with high-stakes testing, school closure, charter school encroachment, or other problems that have come about due to NCLB/ESEA.

You can use PAA’s summary points on ESEA below. You can find more information about many of these topics under the links provided.

Summary of PAA’s ESEA Position Paper, with links to further information

Parents Across America opposes:

  • Policies that use standardized test scores as the most important accountability measure for schools, teachers or students, and/or expand the use of standardized testing in our schools.
  • Competition for federal funds; a quality education is not a race but a right.
  • Parent trigger” laws, vouchers, charter takeovers or other forms of school privatization that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, with less oversight.
  • Limiting federally-mandated school improvement models to a narrow set of strategies, including charter schools and privatization, which are favored by corporate reformers but which have had little verified success.

A new ESEA/NCLB must include:

We need everyone to speak out this week – Thank you for adding your voice!

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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.