Become a Catalyst member

Celebrating 25 years of Catalyst


Join the conversation

We encourage our readers to leave comments and engage in dialogue about our stories. But before you do, please check out our "rules of the road."

Subscribe to by e-mail feeds

Current Issue

The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Stand for Children holds Chicago kickoff

Several hundred people, including many parents and dozens of members of Students for Education Reform groups at local universities, packed a room at downtown Roosevelt University on Saturday morning for the launch of Stand for Children's Chicago chapter.

Jesse Ruiz, a member of the Chicago Board of Education, pledged to work with the group to "prioritize resources for quality schools," and a number of elected politicians made similar pledges. Phillip Hampton, the district's executive director of family and community engagement, was also supportive.

"Your efforts to extend the longer day were important," Hampton told the group. "Our goal is to eventually get to a 7.5-hour day." (Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a compromise earlier this week, backtracking from the 7.5-hour school day he originally proposed.)

Parents also shared stories of their issues with the school system. "I used to see kids standing outside [the neighborhood elementary school] at 9:15 a.m.," said Angela Williams, whose children attend Betty Shabazz Charter School and South Shore International College Prep High School. "I was very involved as a parent, [but] suddenly I was a bad guy." At Shabazz, she says, parent involvement is welcomed.

The group asked participants to share why they supported a longer school day and how they want to see the extra time used. Starting this week, it will offer 25 to 50 participants an 8-week class at "Stand University for Parents," held at Bradwell Elementary (an Academy for Urban School Leadership turnaround school.)

Outside, members of the Chicago Teachers Union critical of Stand for Children's funders held a picket, chanting "Billionaires, billionaires, we're no fools, Stand For Children destroys our schools."


Parent Voice wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Parent involvement is welcome

Stand for Children seems to be proving themselves as a real, legit, grassroots organization that brings the parent voice into the educational system. I, for one, welcome it. It's a shame that the CTU is protesting parents - doesn't help their cause.

SoxSideIrish wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Parent Voice

When I see Stand4Children~who rushed sb7 through to get CPS longer day/year, know that they want to cheat Chicago public schools out of a quality education, it's just sad.

teacher wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

grass roots?

Just go to youtube and watch their chairman talk?? Then look at thier Grass Roots providers like Bill Gates?? Hahahahah

Honestly this is a lobby group! I dont know what their aims are.....but it is not homemade cookies and punch style parent meetings. these guys are crafty political experts! They got SB7 passed which says teachers cannot negotiate class size?? In other words they dont feel class size is important? Yet they say "children first"?

Parent Voice wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure SB7 had

I'm pretty sure SB7 had nothing to do with class size.

Grassroots does not mean cookies and rainbows, it means building true power for regular people. Parents deserve power just like anyone else given their children are the main users of our public schools.

For those people who don't like Stand for Children - I ask, what are you afraid of? Everyone deserves a voice in how our schools are run and built.

xian wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


Stand for Children's representatives were the main ones, along with CPS who ensured that student friendly initiatives like first day of school staffing (and thus class size) were excluded from any discussion.

Please note the history of Stand for Children. In Oregon they were a real grassroots parents group and did a lot of good things. Elsewhere they have been an astroturf group that let millionaire funders dictate all policy decisions and then paid and advertised to get parents to support their initiatives.

That is not "parent voice" and no, I don't believe that millionaires that send their children to non-public schools deserve more of a voice--they have WAY too much voice already.

After Edelman's comments, I don't think they should be allowed at any policy table.

SoxSideIrish wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

What am I afraid of?? Are you

What am I afraid of?? Are you joking~I'm fearful for my children if SFC EVER has a voice in the CPS system. PARENTS deserve power~I know my rights and I don't want STAND involved in any way w/my kids!

SoxSideIrish wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Stand For Children

Overnight, SfC became the wealthiest lobbying group in Illinois because it was funded by our local billionaires, the Pritzkers, Griffins, Crownes, Zell, etc. It has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars pushing candidates friendly to Madigan and to " ed reform" via IL SB7.

SfC has never been a grass roots group. That was crystal clear at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June 2010. (google Edelman video)
At the end of the longe version, a hedge fund manager asked whether SfC's efforts in Chicago will continue considering the large CPS budget deficit?

Jonah Edelman said that the longest school day in the nation -- without funding -- could be a political problem for the mayor. He said that his organization will be there for the mayor so that this doesn't become too costly politically. He said he will engage 10,000 people in a discussion about the longest day. SfC is working for the hedge fund managers, the billionaires who funded them, and the mayor. So this is what he is doing.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Chill out

You clearly are fueled by this subject, but seriously, do you expect people to listen when you just yell all the time? Everyone deserves an opinion, the 'several hundred' real people at the Stand for Children event deserve a voice. Disagree all you want, but be respectful.

dzipio wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


Who was yelling? It appears SFC proponents don't want any disagreement or it is "yelling."

SoxSideIrish wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


Was that 'chill out' aimed at my comment? Believe me, that wasn't yelling. You will know my yelling, but not on this post!

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Stand for Children

The problem with a group like Stand for Children is that their over-the-top funding gets more attention than a group this size would normally get. Yes, they represent the views of some parents , but with the millions behind them , they make it seem like they represent thousands, which is not true. They speak of representing the "silent majority" , which is misleading because unless parents speak up, NO ONE can say what they really think. If SFC really represents thousands of parents, FINE, but you better show names / addresses/ membership. IF they represent a few hundred but use their money to buy the politicians ( as they have already done in IL ), that is NOT FINE !

Linda Lenz wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

SB7 clarification

It was the 1995 amendments to the Chicago School Reform Act that took class size off the bargaining table in Chicago. Ditto for charter schools, privatization of services, layoffs or reduction in force, staffing and teacher assignments, class schedules, hours and places of instruction, pupil assessment policies and educational technology. (GOP majorities in the House and Senate and a GOP governor made it possible). SB 7 added length of the school day and year.

Teacher Left Behind wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

The 1% Stand For Children

Come on everybody, no one is following the money in their arguments.

The question is: what do these billionaires - the 1% who rarely place their children in public schools - have to gain by usurping the educational process with corporate edu-reform and pretending they care about what parents think? Their gain is not altruistic as they lead the public to believe.

Follow the money and see who benefits from tax write-offs supporting charter schools and other corporate driven education initiatives. Follow the money to publishing, and now technology, owned by the 1% that produce curricular materials, printed and now digital / technological. Follow the money to the privatized prison system, again run by the 1%, which profits from the incarceration of illiterate inmates who have been failed by the education system due to unfair / unequal funding of schools. Follow the money to reality firms which benefit greatly from the unequal distribution of school funding to prop up prices, or bring them down in order to purchase property cheaply, especially in up and coming areas of gentrification.

Get real everybody - the bottom line of the 1% is profit and education, or lack of education, is highly profitable here in the U.S. and becoming more so each year with the help of the over-lobbied federal government in D.C. With corporate edu-refrom, politicians can pretend they are supporting education as they tear it down to profit those who fund their campaigns and keep them in office

Look to other countries that are high achieving like our northern neighbor Canada (specifically the provinces Alberta and Ontario) as well as Norway, Korea and the other top ten education systems on the PISA list. Education in those countries is led by educators who are trusted by the government to make the best decisions for the education of their nations. Education here changes with the political winds of profit: children / education are only a priority when there is money to me made. GNP trumps standard of living and social progress every time... let them eat cake as the saying goes.

Adam Heenan wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


That WOULD be a shame, except that most of the people in this meeting aren't parents of CPS students. Let's see a breakdown of who actually went to the meeting.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Were you there?

Adam, were you there? I was there and I can assure you everyone, with the exception of a set of college students, were CPS parents.

Honestly all, I get that you like this 1% argument, but please tell that to the parents from Englewood, Pilsen, Austin, and Belmont Craigin who were there in force.

It's not a strong argument. And honestly, I would bet good money that there are things we all can work on together if everyone would just calm down and have a discussion like adults instead of resorting to name-calling and the tired 'billionaires' line.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Conspiracy theorists everywhere!

You may not agree with Stand for Children, and I don't entirely either, but I think it's quite a reach (and quite naive) to say that they only billionaires out to get tax write-offs and profits. The truth is they represent one side of this education debate and a philosophy of how we need to reform schools. As someone who has heard both sides and taught inside CPS, I don't agree with all of their agenda items -- just like I don't agree with all of CTU's agenda items -- but I believe that they are doing what they feel will improve education, and if you think they don't have some parent and teacher support, you haven't been to the rallies. Yes there's some billionaire funding there, just like there's billionaire funding in our public schools, in most major nonprofits, and in just about everything else that touches education.

If you want to have a true conversation about education - study the issues that they support, make a valid argument, but crying out that they are billionaires entirely misses the real debate that needs to be had.

Adam Heenan wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


yes, I was there.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


Completely agree - make the case on the merits of the proposals. Come to the table as adults and let's hash this thing out. The beauty of debate is every side has an opinion and it becomes truly beautiful when those opposing sides can reach an agreement.

Work together.

SoxSideIrish wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Oh you mean come to a meeting

Oh you mean come to a meeting where they have a representative from STANT speak in spanish to spanish speaking ppl about the women talking ~they are liars. That meeting...yeah I know what STAND represents, and I don't want them representing me or my kids...may be they can pay some other cps people to come to their meetings too.

And as for follow the money~you better follow the money ~and you'll see it's not going to education, but to private hands. STAND is shameful and must be stopped; we don't want to work w/STAND.

One good thing did come out of the STAND meeting/kickoff on Sat: media outlets wanted to speak w/us and we received emails from other organizations from the NWSide & WestSide that wanted to join our mission.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

No, everybody except you.

No, everybody except you.

Teacher Left Behind wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Work together and solve problems like adults?

How would you propose that teachers work with a non-elected board of education and a mayor who has done little but bash educators? When CPS has an elected board of education instead of moneyed members hand picked by the mayor elect, then this city will begin to "work together like adults".

If Rahm seriously wanted to act like a reasonable adult, not a power hungry politician, he would have held an election for the board of education like most cities across this democratic country. Educate yourself: there is one educator on the CPS board of education, most of the others have business or law degrees, some with both, and one is involved in realty business. Business people and lawyers running a board of education determines education reform will be about MONEY not students and their parents.

Rahm came out swinging at education before the election and he hasn't stopped. He is the leader of the city and he set the tone for the contract negotiations with CTU before he took office. FYI, this is what old school politicians do in union contract negotiations - they initially set draconian terms. Then union reps follow suit with their own unreasonable demands. This strong-armed tone was set by the interim CEO, non-educator, chosen by Daily to begin funding cuts for education and the bar was then raised by Rahm when he took office.

So, do not kid yourself, decisions about education in Chicago are based upon money because decisions about education are made by politicians who base their decisions on the highest campaign donations. Grow up and face reality - we live in the most corrupt state in our country and if you think this doesn't trickle down and involve education, you are naive!

Support wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I support Stand on Children's

I support Stand on Children's goals. They just have an odd way of going about reaching them.

I support longer school work hours. But I am opposed to a huge increase in work hours without reasonable and fair compensation. 25% more work hours for 2% more pay (minus an increase in health insurance costs) is not reasonable and fair.

I support a 7.5 hour school day. But I believe it should first and foremost be a higher quality school day that includes well rounded, rich curricula in support of full human development of our children. CPS will not be able to provide that at 7.5 hours. They can't even provide it at 7 hours in the high schools. CPS has simply proposed, despite their rhetoric, doubling up on reading and math and little to no support for non-tested subjects like art, music, drama, physical education, world language, social sciences, etc.

I support best practices in the schools. But what CPS and Stand on Children are attempting to inflict on students and teachers does *not* represent best practices by any stretch of the imagination.

I support quality schools in every neighborhood. But those schools should be free and open to *every* child in the neighborhood not just those students who benefit from families supportive of education, personal responsibility, and no excuses zero tolerance discipline, i.e. privatized charters.

Stand on Children wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Principle 1

"Evaluation, professional development, and collaboration time for teachers and principals is important to help them grow as professionals and the best they can be. We support incentives to recruit excellent educators to low-performing schools to help reduce the achievement gap."

Stand on Children promotes a 7.5 hour school day, but the result is a CPS proposal that reduces opportunities for professional development and collaboration time.

Monetary incentives won't attract (and keep) excellent educators. Giving them the time and tools to do their job well will. Merit pay has been proven time and time again to have no effect on student outcomes.

And which achievement gap does Stand reference? The largest achievement gap is the one between wealthy children and poor children.

The CTU plan The School's Chicago's Children Deserve does much more to address Stand on Children's Principle 1 than any of Stand's proposals or CPS's implementations.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

to linda

Please read this part of SB7. It says it is the decision of any city of over 500k people (ie chicago) to decide if they want to baragain class size. read below

(a) Notwithstanding the existence of any other provision in
this Act or other law, collective bargaining between an
educational employer whose territorial boundaries are
coterminous with those of a city having a population in excess
of 500,000 and an exclusive representative of its employees may
include any of the following subjects:
(1) (Blank).

(2) Decisions to contract with a third party for one or
more services otherwise performed by employees in a
bargaining unit and the procedures for obtaining such
contract or the identity of the third party.
(3) Decisions to layoff or reduce in force employees.
(4) Decisions to determine class size, class staffing
and assignment, class schedules, academic calendar, length
of the work and school day, length of the work and school
year, hours and places of instruction, or pupil assessment
(5) Decisions concerning use and staffing of
experimental or pilot programs and decisions concerning
use of technology to deliver educational programs and
services and staffing to provide the technology.
(b) The subject or matters described in subsection (a) are
permissive subjects of bargaining between an educational
employer and an exclusive representative of its employees and,
for the purpose of this Act, are within the sole discretion of
the educational employer to decide to bargain, provided that
the educational employer is required to bargain over the impact
of a decision concerning such subject or matter on the
bargaining unit upon request by the exclusive representative.
During this bargaining, the educational employer shall not be
precluded from implementing its decision. If, after a
reasonable period of bargaining, a dispute or impasse exists
between the educational employer and the exclusive

representative, the dispute or impasse shall be resolved
exclusively as set forth in subsection (b) of Section 12 of
this Act in lieu of a strike under Section 13 of this Act.

Stand on Children wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Principle 2

"All schools must be held accountable to the public for achieving results for students - from transparent community engagement to effective school board and superintendent oversight. And from preschool to high school, our schools must set a high culture of expectations and deliver a curriculum that prepares students for college or career."

Schools must be held accountable for student results, but not the district, the Board of Education, or the mayor. The status quo of Chicago public education is mayoral control, appointed rubber-stamp school boards, privatization, school closures, restricted access to public education, large class sizes, and high stakes testing. This has been the face of Chicago education since 1995. Should not the district and mayor be held accountable for the failed policies of the last 17 years?

Transparent community engagement is important. But CPS pays people to support their policies. So does Stand on Children. Their legislative efforts on "accountability" and attacks on bargaining rights were not the result of transparent engagement (or merit) but rather monetary investment in state legislators via massive campaign contributions.

Stand has offered nothing in support of curricula that prepares students for college and careers. In fact, an unfunded longer day, lowering the bar to become a teacher, and creating high turnover ("churn") in education all work against preparing students for college and careers.

The CTU plan The School's Chicago's Children Deserve does much more to address Stand on Children's Principle 2 than any of Stand's advocacy or CPS policy.

Stand on Children wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Principle 3

"Equitable funding is critical for successful schools. We believe that programs, such as early childhood education, educator mentoring, and increased funding to schools with high rates of poverty, should be fully funded and accountable for improving outcomes for students."

Has Stand on Children accomplished anything to improve or increase funding in CPS? I have heard not a peep. The CTU plan lays out specific monetary solutions that support increased funding for high poverty schools. Nothing in SB7, Stand's big victory, has anything to do with better funding our schools. The CTU has offered specific monetary solutions that support increased funding for high poverty schools.

The CTU plan The School's Chicago's Children Deserve does much more to address Stand on Children's Principle 3 than any of Stand's budgetary suggestions or CPS financial priorities.

Stand on Children wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Principle 4

"Children can learn – no matter where they are from or what type of home life they have. We support access to a safe and high-quality education for all students with the individualized support every student needs to make it."

Yes, children can learn no matter where they are from or what type of home life they have. But many researcher studies agree that teachers account for a small percentage (somewhere between 7% and 20%) of student education outcomes. Poverty reduction is a much more effective goal than turning teachers into at-will employees with no bargaining rights if one wants to increase student outcomes. Individualized support requires intensive investments of both time and money. Stand's legislative victory, SB7, does nothing to support students with special needs or those who live in poverty.

The CTU plan The School's Chicago's Children Deserve does much more to address Stand on Children's Principle 4 than any of Stand's legislative offerings or CPS's efforts at educational excellence and equity.

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Grass Roots

Grass Roots...let's not forget the Tea Party was a grass roots organization! They of course have a right to do whatever they want within a process...but seems like they are getting more power than senators and teachers in education. Look at Santorum and the like...they claim to be the "peoples" candidates...but yet put their energies into protecting the rich and odd anti women legistlations....btw I hold Rham and his buddy Obama just as much as anyone else!!!

Anonymous wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago


Stand has certainly sparked some energy in this blog. Now all you boys and girls stop arguing and turn this negative energy into something positive. If CTU or any educational organization had a basic clue, we would not be having this discussion. Can we all agree that something needs to be done? Stand could not have the leverage and momentum it has gained if there was not a vast need for reform in our educational system. Stop the madness and do what is best for children. That is indeed what Stand FOR children is all about!

Linda Lenz wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

SB7 clarrification

Thanks for quoting the language of the bill, which is what I should have done. Since CPS can decide not to bargain these areas, I think that for all practical purposes, they are off the table.

Add your comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
go here for more