April 05, 2013

Chicago School Closings

Stand for Children Illinois
Dear Fred,

Yesterday, I went to the Chicago Board of Education meeting to present our position on the school closings. Bottom line is we want kids to go to better quality schools and for families to know that they have a say in their child's education. We feel so strongly about this that we launched a door-to-door canvass in impacted neighborhoods and have already knocked on over 3,700 doors.

Take a look at my testimony below and if you or anyone you know is impacted by school closings and needs help navigating CPS sign up here and we'll be in touch.

Standing with you,
Juan Jose Gonzalez
Chicago Director


Good morning, I am Juan Jose Gonzalez, Chicago Director of Stand for Children.

I am here to talk about the school actions. Since October, our parent platform has been that every student impacted by a school action should be moved to a better performing school or at least a school with an academic re-investment, like STEM, IB, or Turnaround.

We evaluated every school action decision and scored it on academic point scale. Our analysis is that these actions get a B- in terms of ensuring kids go to a higher quality school. While many kids will get a better education, children in more than a dozen schools are going from a level 3 to a level 3, and 9 of those schools are without any meaningful academic re-investment.

Our members want and need CPS to do better, but we are not prone to criticize without being proactive to improve the situation.

Since March 23rd, Stand for Children has been going door-to-door within the boundaries of impacted schools. In just 8 days of canvassing, we have knocked on 3700 doors and talked to 619 residents about schools being consolidated in their neighborhood.

We are educating families on WHY schools are closing, what are the next steps for their children, and what alternatives are available in their neighborhood.

I have personally walked and talked to families within impacted school boundaries.These conversations are encouraging and starkly contrast the protests being covered in the media.

I know that sometimes those that scream the loudest get the most attention, but the reality is that there are people out there who respond well to direct and simple information.

Some people are even thankful certain schools are closing, knowing full well the state of mediocrity that has existed there for a long time. I extend an invitation to anyone with a sincere interest to join us on our canvasses.

We have already walked over a dozen schools but have plenty more ground to cover. Our sincere hope is that we can cut through the noise and can keep our focus on what's best for all children in the district.

Thank you for your time.
Stand for Children Illinois
850 W. Jackson Blvd, Suite 330
Chicago, IL 60607