Get involved with Raise Your Hand!

December 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

I decided it was time for a plug for the Raise Your Hand group here.

This CPS advocacy group was started by Wendy Katten and a group of other parents who felt that parent voices needed to be better heard in our city, and realized that there is more power in numbers and organization.  They are a great group of “conscientious objectors” who focus on some key issues that they feel need to change in CPS.  They helped parents worth with schools on getting longer lunch and recess, and they’re currently working on discussions about the proposed really long school day and required recess.

As you all probably realize, getting a voice in CPS is difficult and requires a lot of time (ie: waiting in line before a CPS board meeting at 6am to get your name on the agenda) and energy (showing up at meetings, emailing, talking, listening, organizing, writing, etc.)

One thing I greatly admire about this group is that amidst complaints that they “don’t represent all parents in the city!” they have branched out to talk to community groups and parents in a range of neighborhoods to get a broader range of input.

Their sane tactics have gotten the ear of CPS and they are often invited to meet with bigwigs and/or give their opinion to the local press.  It’s a cool group to be involved with.  Importantly, they need more people to help out, either at the high level, getting the word out to your own school, and even sending emails to politicians when they try to mobilize us.  There are hundreds of thousands of CPS families – we should be having a stronger voice if we can band together!  Occupy! Occupy!

Anyhow, I encourage you to get involved where you can for the sake of all of us and for your own personal satisfaction.  The core group has paved the way for even more of us to make a real impact.  Read this note from Wendy and email them if you think you might like to get involved….



Raise Your Hand at Your School!

Raise Your Hand is a parent-led coalition bringing people together across Chicago to advocate for an improved quality of education for all children in Chicago. We are working on various issues from improved and sustained funding to a well-rounded curriculum for all students that includes increased PE, recess, arts, etc. A collective parent voice has been missing in policy making and in the decisions that impact our children and schools.

We are looking for parent representatives to share information about our campaigns and get involved in the many issues that impact CPS students, parents and community. If you are interested in learning more, email us at You can stay informed by simply going to our website hit “Join Us” on and enter your contact info, you will receive a free monthly newsletter and periodic updates. We do not share your personal info with anyone. In addition to our website, many parents and teachers have found the Raise Your Hand facebook wall to be a place to share information, observations, and experiences. Content and posts change frequently and there is always a discussion regarding education in full swing. Feel free to jump in anytime with your thoughts and feelings or post a question or comment of your own.

If you’d like to get involved, let us know where your interests lie – we are looking for people to help with community outreach, research, legislative outreach, and fundraising. There’s a lot we can accomplish by forming a strong parent network across the city to advocate for our children.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Southside Mom  |  December 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I applaud RYH’s efforts in mobilizing parents but I also want to make parents aware that PTA has been around for years advocating for children. PTA has been working with CPS as well as statewide and national offices in lobbying for resources and legislation that will improve schools for all families. Our groups are not mutually exclusive; there are PTA members who are part of RYH. We understand that the more people behind an effort, the better. The main emphasis is on action. If you have a PTA, tap into its resources to become informed about a multitude of benefits, professionally and personally. An example of PTA’s actions are the workshops being planned to explain to parents the upcoming Common Core Standards being implemented by CPS next year. Even though I have been a PTA member for years, I have joined efforts with RYH to promote their efforts as well as have shared PTA initiatives with them. With little membership dues or none, I implore parents to join an organization, become active, and give your child, as well as all children, the gift of a better education next year.

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