Report shows how educators are working their hearts out for students and school communities – while resource gap and inadequate assessment policies continue to undermine equity for Chicago’s working class, Black and Brown students.
CHICAGO, October 27, 2022 — The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in wake of the release of Illinois Report Card.
Our public school communities continue to confront enormous challenges created by the pandemic – including an ongoing educator shortage – but the people who do the work are moving mountains to help our students, as this report clearly shows. Tragically, our students are still going without desperately needed resources, from full-time teachers to social workers who can help kids address the ongoing trauma of the pandemic and the trauma driven by years of inequity before COVID.
The Report Card also points to increasing chronic absenteeism, another critical marker of the need for more resources. In Chicago, that must include support for our most disadvantaged students, including upwards of 20,000 mostly Black houseless students and thousands of immigrant students who were told they had sanctuary in Chicago, only to find few resources in our schools when they arrive.
We know why. Today, hundreds of school districts in Illinois – including CPS – remain less than 75% funded, making Mayor Lightfoot’s move to grab another $200 million from CPS to shore up her budget on the City side that much more unconscionable. At the same time, CPS has seen an influx of $2.8 billion in federal COVID relief funds – while the Mayor cut budgets this year at more than 40 percent of our public schools. Imagine if Mayor Lightfoot had actually been spending those funds to expand equity instead of balking to fill existing gaps and instead hoarding funds under the pretext of a future fiscal cliff – instead of taking meaningful steps to close the adequacy gap.
We also need a way to assess our students and school communities humanely and effectively, with an assessment infrastructure that is truly tailored to our schoolchildren – and that captures the scope of the racial and economic inequities that COVID has only intensified. Instead, school districts continue to rely on a testing infrastructure that was grossly inadequate before the pandemic and had zero utility once COVID was upon us. Rather than pouring additional millions into the standardized testing industrial complex, ISBE should invest in helping educators develop authentic, culturally relevant assessments that are tied to daily instruction, that provide opportunities for students to apply skills and demonstrate academic proficiency in a variety of ways, that support teachers in identifying students’ strengths AND needs, and that provide meaningful feedback – even in times of crisis.
We can anchor real equity for our students only with adequate resources and an honest assessment of our students’ challenges and strengths. Those who control our school communities must at last step up to the plate and address fiscal and policy inequities that have gone neglected for far too long.
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Check out “The School Chicago Students Deserve 3.0”, bringing our groundbreaking 2012 CTU report into the 21st century, with a focus on COVID-19 pandemic recovery and real equity for hundreds of thousands of neglected working class, Black and Latinx students, families and school communities.