Posts Tagged ‘PSAT’

PSAT for 5-14-13: Sign up for the 3-day march

Monday, May 13th, 2013

psat_logoOur City, Our Schools, Our Voices, will come together this coming weekend in the final protest push before the May 22 Board meeting where the mass school closing vote will be taken.

Here’s what the CTU says about this event:

The mayor and Board of Education want to destroy 54 school communities. This will be the largest destruction of schools in U.S. history. We need our neighborhood schools and we should all fight together to save them. Join parents, teachers, students, public school workers, clergy, activists and others in the three day citywide march across the city. They want to divide us. But this is our city, our schools, and together, we’ll use our voice to tell the mayor and the world that we intend to fight back.

The march is organized into south and west sides.

South side 10:00 a.m. Saturday Kickoffat Owens Elementary, 12450 South State Street

West Side 10:00 a.m. Saturday Kickoff at Lafayette Elementary
2714 West Augusta Avenue

Register now for updates and information.

PSAT for 4-9-13: Fax the IL Leg

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013



I just faxed this message to the Illinois House and Senate Education Committees. For Public Schools Action Tuesday, why not share this message with your Reps and Senators, too?

RE: Support school closing moratorium bills SB 1571 and HB 3283


 This week's updates on school closing issues:

11% of students lost in last year's CPS closings: From Catalyst: “In 2012, CPS closed only four small elementary schools that altogether enrolled about 500 students. In June, 467 kindergarten through 7th-grade students were at the closed schools. Of those, it’s unclear what happened with 51 children. CPS officials acknowledge that they don’t know where 23 of those students ended up and did not provide definitive information for another 28…” (

Inflated charter school waiting list numbers: WBEZ reported that charter school waiting list figure cited by charter advocates “significantly overstates demand” and that “the 19,000 figure counts applications, not students, meaning if a student applies to four schools, he or she is counted four times. It includes kids who have turned down charter seats and are now enrolled in other schools. Perhaps the most startling finding is that a significant chunk–about 3,000–are high school dropouts applying for alternative schools. What’s more, saying that 19,000 students are on waiting lists to get into charter schools ignores another figure: there are between 3,000 and 5,000 available seats in charter schools right now, according to charter advocates.” (

Closings of “underutilized schools” may result in overcrowding: “A Catalyst Chicago analysis of CPS utilization data shows that in eight instances, the receiving school will be more than 100 percent over capacity if the current enrollment of the closing and receiving schools combines. In another eight cases, the building will be at more than 90 percent at capacity.” (


  •  Support the CPS school closing moratorium bills SB 1571 and HB 3283.
  • Contact CPS officials to oppose the mass school closings which research shows don’t improve schools, don’t save significant money, and are more likely to harm children and neighborhoods. (
  • Support community-based school improvement and stronger local school councils trained by independent, non-CPS training groups. (


PSAT for 1-8-13: Back to business!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

It’s been 3 weeks since my last Public Schools Action Tuesday post – it was a good, long holiday season!

So, here are 3 simple things you can do today if you, like me, are still easing back into the public school advocacy business.

1) Sign this petition to Mayor Emanuel, Governor Quinn, and the Illinois House and Senate for an elected school board! You can Facebook, tweet and e–mail it to your friends, too.  I wrote: “Mayoral control has failed Chicago’s children and is quickly destroying public education. We need to put democracy back in our most important democratic institution, our public schools. ”

2) Sign another petition to the Governor and Illinois Legislature to create an education facilities planning board. I wrote: “Chicago’s political leaders have proven that they are not to be trusted to listen to the needs of our children as described by those who know them best – their parents. teachers, and communities. Independent regulation is needed.”

3) Finally, sign this White House petition to President Obama to stop policies that promote mass closings of public schools while expanding charters. This important petition was created by the wonderful Valerie Leonard. We need 25,000 signatures to get a response!


PSAT for 9-2-12: How to boycott hedge funder “reformers”?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Have been spending some time thinking about how to call for a boycott of people like hedge funder, former Bain guy, and Rahm Emanuel best buddy Bruce Rauner, chairman of the Education Committee of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and a member of the board of the Chicago Public Education Fund and New Schools for Chicago.

Why Rauner? Well, he’s recently set himself up as the primary nemesis of the CTU (maybe to deflect parent anger from his pal Rahm?). The day after the CTU strike ended, Rauner went on a rant against the union at a civic event and then went off on local public television. He followed that up with a particularly ugly editorial in today’s Tribune in which he actually accused a CTU member of calling him a derogatory name out in the street. Sure, that will really help sell his message that the CTU is the only thing standing between children and uniformly great schools (i.e. more charter schools).

It’s one thing to talk about avoiding WalMart and  Hyatt hotels to protest the Waltons’ and Penny Pritzker’s support for the privatization of public education. It’s even possible to stop using Microsoft products as a way of protesting Bill Gates’ arrogant trampling of democracy in our schools (I did it!).

Problem is, you need $$$ to stop giving $$$ to the hedge funders.

But, as I have pointed out before, it’s not as if my little crusade against Microsoft or WalMart is going to cause a blip on the NASDAQ. What we can do together, though, is put a little schmutz on the shiny corporate image that these companies spend billions to create and maintain.

And the schmutz we can put on Rauner has to do with his aspirations to become governor of Illinois.

I just remember when Paul Vallas, another guy who came close to destroying our public schools, was running in the gubernatorial primary in Illinois in 2002. As CPS CEO, Vallas had angered a handful of mothers in Little Village by telling them that they wouldn’t need the new high school they were demanding if they didn’t have so many children. Not only did those mothers go on a historic hunger strike and win their new school, but they dogged Vallas throughout his primary campaign, which went down in flames.

Si, se puede.

PSAT for 8-28-12: Call for a better school day

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Today’s Public Schools Action Tuesday action is for Thursday and comes from Howie Emmer for Parents 4 Teachers:


Please call Mr. Brizard’s office this Thursday, August 30,at 773-553-1500, as part of P4T’s “Thursday Call-ins”.

We can put pressure on the Board and the mayor if Mr. Brizard receives hundreds of calls.

Tell him you want: small class size; a rich curriculum-a better day, not just a longer day; fair compensation for teachers, no test-score based pay; schools that are fully and equitably resourced; more nurses, social workers, counselors, and psychologists.

The CTU is fighting for these things but the Board says nothing about them! Want to avoid a strike? Tell him to negotiate on these important issues RIGHT NOW! By law, it is up to the Board to choose to do so–or not. (Also, please call again on Thursday, September 6 and 13).

For more info see

PSAT for 2-28-12: Go to Springfield!

Monday, February 27th, 2012

An early and urgent PSAT for tomorrow- if you can’t get on the bus for Springfield (see below), at least call your state senator  and ask him/her to sign on to SB3239, the school closing moratorium bill. Note below from Jackie Leavy and the CTU:


Dear Supporters of Great Public Schools for All Students:  Please note – the Chicago Teachers Union is trying to spread the word about availability of seats on a Bus to Springfield for the Tues Feb 28, 2:30 PM State Senate Ed Committee Hearing tomorrow”

“CTU is organizing a bus to go to Springfield this Tuesday, Feb. 28.  The Senate Education Committee is expected to hear the Moratorium bill on school closings, turnarounds, and phase-outs.  Below please find explanatory information on the bill and the Senate Ed Cte.  There is no cost.

We will provide coffee and donuts, and lunch.  Participants should bring some money for incidentals and dinner. We have space on this bus; your participation is Important and Essential!  Please RSVP to if you can participate in this critical hearing.

Phone #: (312) 329-6226

The bus will depart:

Tues. 2/28/12 at 8:00 a.m. from 1100 S. Hamilton (1 bl. north of Roosevelt, 2 bl. east of Western).  Low-cost parking is available in the Juvenile Detention parking garage.

Tentative schedule:
* arrive Springfield at 12 noon (travel time is approx 3 1/2 hours)
* quick lunch
* lobby legislators from 12:30-2:30
* attend hearing from 2:30 until end of hearing
* leave Springfield at end of hearing
* return to Chicago sometime between 8 and 10pm”

See the attached hand-out from CTU.


Here is the official notice:
97th General Assembly
Hearing Notice For Education

Members    Notice of Hearing    Bills

Hearing Scheduled for Feb 28, 2012

Chairperson     James Meeks
Vice-Chairperson     Kimberly Lightford
Minority Spokesperson     David Luechtefeld
Scheduled Date:    Feb 28, 2012 2:30PM
Location:    409 Capitol
Springfield, IL

Chairperson :    James T. Meeks    D    708) 862-1515    (217) 782-8066
Vice-Chairperson :    Kimberly A. Lightford    D    708) 343-7444    (217) 782-8505
Member:    Annazette R. Collins    D    (312) 733-5009    (217) 782-6252
Member:    Susan Garrett    D    (847) 433-2002    (217) 782-3650
Member:    Iris Y. Martinez    D    (773) 463-0720    (217) 782-8191
Member:    John G. Mulroe    D    (773) 763-3810    (217) 782-1035
Minority Spokesperson :    David S. Luechtefeld    R    (618) 243-9014    (217) 782-8137
Member:    Christine J. Johnson    R    815) 895-6318    (217) 782-1977
Member:    Kyle McCarter    R    (618) 654-4068    (217) 782-5755
Member:    Suzi Schmidt    R    (224) 372-7465    (217) 782-7353

PSAT for 2-14-12: Call Brizard again! Plan to come see Monty! Waivers!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

For Public Schools Action Tuesday (PSAT) today,

1) Parents 4 Teachers is asking you to help keep the pressure on CPS CEO Brizard about school closings and turnarounds. Call today 773-553-1500. I plan to fax my message to him at 773-553-1501. Some points to mention are below.

2) Plan to come to the forum, “Winning the Testing Battle/ Overhauling NCLB/ESEA” at UIC with FairTest’s Monty Neill tomorrow, Wednesday Feb. 15, at 6 pm. in the Cardinal Room at UIC’s Student Center East (701 S. Halsted at Polk, public parking in structure across Halsted).

3) Consider providing testimony  to ISBE on the ESEA waiver request they propose to submit to the US Department of Education. They never give us much time to do this – the proposal has only been posted for a couple of days here but the public hearings are tomorrow, Wednesday, 2/15, in Schaumburg and Thursday, 2/16, in Berwyn. Details here. Written input can be submitted (see previous link for e-mail address) but it has to be in by 5 pm Friday Feb.17. The proposal itself is due Feb. 21.

ISBE is supposed to give evidence to the feds that it has listened and adjusted its proposal in response to public input, so it’s not a complete shot in the dark.I have not had time to prepare anything yet but I’ve taken a quick look. True to past behavior, ISBE is pledging more standardized testing including making the 8th/9th grade EXPLORE test and 10th grade PLAN test mandatory.

4) It’s Valentine’s Day! Hug a teacher – or any other real education advocate!!!


Re: your call to Brizard on school closings and turnarounds, you might mention some of the following points (sources are here):

  • New Consortium research shows that the positive effect of turnarounds in elementary schools is very small, and there is negligible improvement in the high school turnarounds.
  • One expert said of the turnarounds, “Shifting students and changing labels is not a legitimate way to improve a school.”
  • The numbers of experienced African-American teachers like you are plummeting in the turnarounds while the numbers of inexperienced white teachers is climbing.
  • The 10 AUSL schools also had an overall enrollment decline in special education students of 14.9% between 2006 and 2010. The district wide decline during the same time period was 3.9%.
  • Meanwhile, turnarounds are very costly. While all reform models have been implemented with additional money, turnaround efforts require the largest investment from the district. For example, AUSL elementary schools receive $1.5 million more than their neighborhood counterparts during the first five years of turnaround and an additional $420 per pupil each year. For high schools, AUSL receives $2.4 million more than their neighborhood counterparts over the course of five years and an additional $500 per pupil each year. Aren’t you supposed to be trying to save money?
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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.