Multicultural Education Policy Feedback
Chicago Public Schools is committed to continually examining our systems and practices to identify how equity can be centered in our classrooms every day. According to the CPS Five-Year Vision (2019–2024), “We know that to truly address the inequities, it takes a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach. We have started a top-to-bottom policy review to ensure our policies align with our values...And, it means our decisions need to reflect equity through and through.”
Currently, two Board of Education policies, the Multicultural Education and Diversity Policy and the New Collection Development for School Libraries Policy, are under review by the Offices of Equity and the Office of Teaching and Learning. We are looking for input from the community to help inform these policy revisions and better serve our students and communities. With your help, we will improve these policies to define what culturally relevant instruction looks like schools, prioritize equity, and better serve students with different needs and resources, especially in the following areas:
- Instructional practices
- Professional development for our staff
- Selecting and procuring district resource
Opportunities to get involved
In the coming months, there are multiple opportunities to get involved in the policy development:
Community members will collaborate to review the drafts of the updated policies. Meetings will consist of a reflection, presentation, and small group discussions. English and Spanish facilitators will be available at all meetings. To participate, please sign up for our sessions March 23 or March 29. Please note there is a 500-person capacity at all sessions.
Following the survey and community meetings, some respondents will be invited to an empathy interview and/or a focus group to explore how best the two policies can be revised. Individuals will be invited to join focus groups by using the UIC Great Cities Institute Hardship Index (2017) and survey data to prioritize those most impacted by inequity.
Current Policy Revisions
Two of the district’s board policies, are under review by the Office of Equity and the Office of Teaching and Learning. We are seeking community collaboration to help inform these policy revisions. With your input, we will define cultural relevance, apply an equity lens, and plan for instructional shifts to disrupt predictability in academic achievement differences, directly impacting the CPS Teaching and Learning experience.
As part of the School Board Policy Review process initiated in 2019, all Board Policies are revised with an equity lens and supported by the Office of Equity. For more information about our Board Policies revisions and feedback opportunities, please visit Proposed Policies or Rule Changes Open for Public Comment.
Advancing Racial Equity
A racial equity lens always asks the question: how will this shift in practice affect the lived experiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and all students of color? If the answer is it will negatively affect them or contribute to accumulated burden, we need to redesign the policy or practice. In designing or redesigning policies and practices, we must ensure our students and communities of color, and especially those most impacted by inequity, are at the table to co- create solutions.
Do you have ideas about how we can better accommodate CPS stakeholders in our community engagement (Inclusive Partnerships) efforts related to the Multicultural Education Policy and the New Collection Development for School Libraries Policy and beyond? If there are specific accommodations requests – for example, supporting those who are visually impaired or using assistive technologies—please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Offices are partnering closely with several Chicago-based organizations who focus on creating equity across Chicago Public Schools. Between August and April 2021, we are hosting focus groups with members of various community based organizations to engage in policy analysis, drafting and revision. Specifically, we will work with stakeholders to define and hold accountable our district to culturally responsive educational practices. Organizations include:
The Equity Office develops, supports, implements, and reports on district efforts to eliminate the opportunity gaps in education quality, policies, and supports for students and adults.
CPS 5 Year Vision
“CPS’ Equity Framework will address primary drivers of equity across four areas: organizations and structures, policy and advocacy, adults, and students. We know that to truly address the inequities, it takes a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach. We have started a top-to-bottom policy review to ensure our policies align with our values...And, it means our decisions need to reflect equity through and through.”
—CPS 5 Year Vision (2019–2024)
Equity Policy Mission
In Spring 2019, CPS engaged in an initial comprehensive review of all existing Board Policies with a focus on equity.
The Office of Equity supports policy revision efforts in CPS and ensures an equity lens, community voice, and system redesign in all decisions toward race and social indicators no longer predicting education and life outcomes.
Our work focuses on Fair Policies and Systems, one of the dimensions of the CPS Equity Framework, and we believe all dimensions of the equity lens—Liberatory Thinking, Inclusive Partnerships, and Resource Equity—must operate together. Inclusive Partnerships requires our stakeholders voices are factored into decisions to equitably support communities historically and presently most impacted by structural racism and systemic oppression.