Chicago Public School is following the path of other large urban school districts with the introduction of a new Response To Intervention (RTI) Program. The program is designed to create a learning environment and classroom culture that optimizes the potential for student achievement.
As a strategy RTI recognizes that academic, behavioral, social and emotional not only enhance achievement, but 1) decrease office discipline referrals, 2) decrease number of suspensions, 3) decrease lost instruction time, 4) increase administrative time to focus on instruction and 5) increase student and staff engagement.
When fully funded and implemented RTI along with other strategies including Restorative Justice can work together to effectively reduce the more than 43,000 students suspensions and 600 student expulsions in Chicago Public Schools during the 2009 -2010 school year.
While this budget addresses security spending in Chicago Public Schools for the upcoming fiscal year, by identifying $72 million with an additional $7 million to be spent on security cameras alone, it does not clearly state how RTI and other similar much needed violence prevention strategies designed 'to "Educate, Inspire and Transform" our students and the lives of the communities they live in are to be funded. As an example, it is estimated that if Restorative Justice was implemented in each Chicago Public School it would cost approximately $42 million per year. THIS IS LESS THAN 1% OF THE PROPOSED BUDGET.
The High HOPES (Healing Over the Punishment of Expulsions and Suspensions) Campaign city-wide coalition whose constituents include faith/ community-based, parent and student advocacy organizations is requesting that this budget increase spending on RTI, Restorative Justice and other proven strategies that promote student learning and community engagement by coordinating and advancing a system of prevention and interventions. It is also being requested that this budget increase spending on the systems to measure the effectiveness of such strategies.
Reverend Robert E.Biekman
Pastor Southlawn United Methodist Church
Leader with Communtiy Renewal Society