February 13, 2018

Parents Know the Answers, We Just Have to Listen to Them

Putting parent voices at the center of our work has become a manifesto for how our organization approaches education policy. We now flip every policy conversation on its head and allow parents and families—not the wonks and politicians—to drive the conversation.



December 1, 2017

Enough with the negative reporting on Chicago Public Schools

In 15 years, Chicago has seen unprecedented improvements in education—progress that isn't confined to one school type, model, or curriculum. (For more on this, see a recent study connducted by education researcher Sean Reardon of Stanford University.)

Chicago has made progress despite six CPS superintendents in nearly as many years, near fiscal insolvency, a teacher strike, and inequitable funding for our kids. We did this despite constant turf wars over school type, governance, labor, and more. Chicago students achieved because amazing educators, school leaders, administrators, parents, and many others refused to allow competing interests of adults to impede the progress of kids.



September 19, 2017

Chicago’s Schools Are ‘Pretty Good,’ But That’s Not Good Enough

I have spent the last 15 years of my life committed to serving students across Chicago as a teacher and a leader. But today, I am writing as the mother of two beautiful daughters—two girls who are depending on me to advocate for their future, just as your children depend on you.

Recently, I spent some time reflecting on my experience as a student in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and I realized I won the lottery.

I won the lottery because I was accepted into Lane Tech High School, one of two selective enrollment high schools in Chicago, during the mid-90’s. I was the only one in my school, the only one on my block and the only one of my friends to be accepted.



September 13, 2017

We need to talk about race, even in the North Country

Charlottesville is nowhere near my hometown of Crown Point, New York. Yet the recent acts of racist violence in Virginia stirred up a deep and familiar tension. 

I spent a week trying to identify where I remembered this sense of anxiety from.

Then I heard an interview on the radio with a gentleman from Mineville, less than 10 miles from where I grew up, and realized that gnawing feeling was the same one I felt as a teenager growing up here. 

You see, I was the black kid. There is some irony in the fact that I am actually mixed—my dad is Italian. But when you are one of so few people of color and you have an afro, those nuances get lost.


THE 74 Million

August 3, 2017

Why the NAACP Should Look Beyond Misleading Narratives & Work With Charters to Lift Up Black Students

As a black male and the leader of an organization committed to creating better school options for low-income families in Chicago, I couldn’t stop nodding my head as I read Derrell Bradford’s “For Black Families Focused on Education, the NAACP Just Committed ‘the Worst Kind of Betrayal.’ ”

But it was also a harsh reminder that the NAACP’s stance against charter schools gathers strength from the impression that the school choice movement is led by white billionaires, not communities of color.

Now, I agree with Bradford: Charters are, in fact, about opportunity. As with all school types, they have their challenges. But they very often provide black families with quality options where for decades there were none.



July 10, 2017

1 of 4 African-American students stuck in subpar schools: report

One in four African-American students in Chicago Public Schools attends a “failing” school, according to a new analysis that puts the number for Hispanic students at two in 25 and, for white students, two in 100.

That’s according to a report Monday from the education advocacy group New Schools for Chicago, which also says about one in every five schools overall isn’t fulfilling the promise of a quality education.

New Schools, previously known for charter school advocacy, took a two-year average of the scores — such as test results and attendance — that CPS uses to rate its schools from Level 1+ at the top down to Level 3.

It found that the school system has improved since 2011, when at least half of the schools in 62 of Chicago’s communities were problematic — versus in six of them now. But about 50,000 of the 381,350 students enrolled in CPS-run schools and charter schools still are stuck, according to New Schools.




Kids First Chicago hosts On the Table Event
Chicago Defender, May 2017

Single Application For Families Comes to CPS High Schools
Chicago Defender, May 2017

CPS Aims to Simplify High School Applications With New ‘GoCPS’ Model
WTTW Chicago, April 2017

Stop Playing Political Games with our Schools
State Journal Registrar, April 2017

Fact vs. Fiction: The True Story on Academic Achievement at Chicago Public Schools
Medium, April 2017

How Some Chicagoans Are Unlocking the 'School Choice' Puzzle
Ed Surge, January 2017



Parents, Students Navigate CPS Enrollment Process
Austin Talks, December 2016

Having so Many School Choices Stressful for Chicago Parents
Chicago Sun-Times, December 2016

Nonprofit Puts School Choice into Parents' Hands
Austin Weekly News, December 2016