Welcome to Another Great Year at Chicago Public Schools

August 25, 2022

CPS shared a welcome letter with parents but neglected to share that all kids will have an opportunity to learn radical gender ideology and Critical Race Theory

This letter, from Pedro Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools appears on their website.  Here at Chicago Contrarian, we offer some evidenced-backed commentary to various initiatives outlined by CPS for the 2022-23 year.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

After more than a year of remote and hybrid learning (because the CTU hijacked the city and Mayor Lightfoot completely capitulated to the union during negotiations), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was able to bring students in grades pre-k through 12 back to the classroom this school year for full in-person instruction (albeit with face masks to stifle in-person learning). Our focus now is to provide the resources and supports (code for indoctrination) that will allow our children to recover academically, socially, and emotionally (ah Transformational SEL = gender ideology + CRT) from the pandemic and continue their trajectory of record-breaking gains (not sure if that phrase is a typo — CPS children did not make any record-breaking gains except for the number of children that left CPS schools).

Despite the continued challenges presented by COVID-19 (um, the pandemic is officially over. Nobody is dying from COVID and the effective risk rate of COVID for children is 0), CPS students achieved an all-time District-high graduation rate of 83.8 percent in 2021 (made possible by the most excellent academic standards), along with the lowest-ever one-year dropout rate of 3.8 percent - down 1.8 percent from the 2020-21 school year. In addition, our District’s 2021 graduates were the sixth consecutive class to earn more than $1 billion in college scholarship offers (make no mistake, this has become the core competency of many of the city’s high schools), with 97.5 percent of these students completing a solid post secondary plan prior to graduation through our groundbreaking Learn.Plan.Succeed program.

The FY2023 budget, which totals $9.4 billion, will allow CPS to build on these successes (?) by strengthening our instructional core (please review the link to CPS teacher resources to better familiarize yourself why we need to teach that all black kids are victims and the 63 genders must be affirmed by the proper use of pronouns in the classroom) and establishing a new standard of excellence (whatever that means) for all schools in the wake of the pandemic. Schools will see a per-pupil funding increase of 8 percent (because so many students have left, and despite no correlation between dollars spent per student and academic outcomes), and $240 million more in school level funding over FY2022, which will:

  • Support the hiring of 524 more teachers than last year (one wonders as Chicago enrollment and eventually CPS funding will shrink, whether like Minneapolis, blackness will trump seniority for who is kept on the payroll when this trend reverses
  • Reduce class sizes and split grade-level classes 
  • Expand robust programming in the arts, dual-language, and early childhood education (code for SEL and Spanish as a primary language
  • Provide high-quality professional development for our teachers (like how to teach gender ideology)
  • Ensure safe, healthy learning environments amid the continued threat of COVID-19 (code for CTU negotiation lever to minimize actual work days, nobody really cares about the children because the children are at 0 risk of severe outcomes

This budget also provides an additional $14 million in Equity Grants (because regular teaching is white supremacy) to ensure that our District’s smaller schools can provide the same level of programming and academic rigor (great! More money for the same lousy result!) as their larger CPS counterparts. And to ensure that our diverse learners have the supports and resources to achieve their full potential, CPS is investing an additional $45 million to support staffing needs for these students, including teachers, para professionals, and special education case managers.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we must acknowledge the toll (you mean the CTU hijacking the district?) that this challenging time has taken on our students’ mental health. In addition, ongoing concerns over safety (thank you Kim Foxx, Lori Lightfoot, JB Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly), and continued issues of racial injustice (you mean your own shift to this garbage curriculum so as not to hold teachers accountable for test results and academic performance) and economic inequality are having a significant impact on student learning.

The District’s FY2023 budget will address this reality by investing $30 million to grow the number of counselors (oh goodie are these the restorative justice counselors that have been inserted city-wide in schools?) and social workers in our schools, as well as implement a universal Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum (check out what the kindergartners are learning and by 7th grade, your kids get to learn how to choose their gender) that is rooted in trauma-informed practices (more non-learning at the expense of reading, writing and math) and a restorative approach (data on this approach looks uncompelling) to student discipline. And to address school safety concerns, CPS is continuing to invest in proactive safety measures, including security equipment upgrades, expanding critical programs like Choose to Change and our Safe Passage program, and creating new programs for at-risk youth.

Our FY2023 capital budget details $645 million of investments that will focus on providing all students with safe, modern learning environments and aligning our CPS facilities with the demands of 21st-century learning. Capital projects will prioritize facility needs at neighborhood schools, and will include renovations to ensure better air quality, ease overcrowding, improvements in ADA accessibility, and enhancements to athletic facilities and other student recreation spaces. (this is probably the only portion of the budget that appears well-allocated, but represents a tiny percentage of the whole — 6.8 percent of the budget)

One area that has garnered significant attention with regard to the CPS budget is the more than $2.8 billion in reimbursable pandemic relief funds through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) program that has been allocated to us by the federal government. We have already used 45 percent of these funds ($1.26 billion) (great measure — how fast can CPS spend - answer - pretty quickly!) to support our school communities during all phases of the pandemic, from remote learning to the return of students to their classrooms with critical health and safety protocols in place (let’s be clear, the CDC has fewer COVID restrictions than CPS which we assume needed those in place to appease the Chicago Teachers Union). In the coming school year, we plan to allocate at least $730 million of the remaining ESSER funds to support academic and SEL programming (yep - there’s that trigger word again for CRT and gender ideology. If you want to know what the kids are learning about gender ideology, please note that the CPS curriculum is based on this organization, The Future of Sex Ed (FoSE), a radical left-wing group) that will allow students in every school to recover and thrive (if you call gender affirming care thriving). The remaining ESSER funds will be invested strategically (of course at the direction of the Chicago Terrorist Union, or CTU) through FY2025 to address the evolving needs of our students and school communities.

I thank the CPS educators, families, and community partners who engaged in our budget planning process by sharing their unique perspectives and priorities. We look forward to receiving additional feedback from our stakeholders at upcoming budget hearings, the details of which can be found at cps.edu/budget.

The past two school years have been fraught with unprecedented challenges, but they have not altered our mission of providing every child from every community in Chicago with a world-class education (*See below)  that will prepare them for success in college, career, and civic life. The investments put forth in the FY2023 budget reaffirm this commitment and further establishes Chicago as a national leader in urban education.


Pedro Martinez

Chief Executive Officer

Chicago Public Schools

*34 percent of the nation’s 4th graders and 35 percent of the nation’s eighth graders performed at or above “NAEP proficient” levels. (NAEP sets the academic achievement targets and is part of the U.S. government). According to Chalkbeat, however, CPS performs over 50 percent lower, with only 15 percent of Chicago’s 3rd through 8th graders meeting the state’s standards in math and 20 percent meeting the state standards in English and language arts. A fine example of “world class education.” Of course you must put this in context of spending per pupil which nationwide averages $13,185 per year, whereas in Chicago the average spending is $16,418 per student. Put another way, Chicago spends roughly $100K per student per year per each student that actually meets the basic math proficiency requirement.

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