In September 2018...
CPS launched the Office of Equity to ensure every district initiative, from capital improvements to curriculum design, is pursued with equity as a goal.
This is the City of Chicago’s first office devoted solely to equity in education.
The Office of Equity develops, supports, implements, and reports on district efforts to eliminate the opportunity gaps in education quality, policies, and supports for students and adults.
The CPS 2019–2024 Vision (Five-Year Vision) outlines the District’s commitment to equity; “CPS will reduce disparities in opportunity to improve academic outcomes across the district, particularly by devoting greater attention to the needs of African American and Latinx males.” The CPS Equity Framework guides daily decision making and strategic planning to improve outcomes of those most impacted by inequity.
To cite this framework, please reference: Chicago Public Schools (July, 2020).
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Equity Framework: Creating and Sustaining Equity at the Individual, School and District Level, Chicago, IL.
Version 1.1a, 2020, Chicago Public Schools Office of Equity, Chicago Public Schools District
The construction of the CPS Equity Framework formally began with the launch of the CPS Race & Equity Working Group (REWG) in 2016.
Race & Equity Working Group (REWG)
One of the goals of the REWG was to develop a framework that would guide the district toward its commitment to equity. When the Office of Equity was established in September 2018, we met with students, parents, teachers, leaders, partners, and community members to learn and actualize the vision of equity within CPS. Their candor, openness, and insights are reflected in the framework and will guide our district’s work.
The REWG was established to address the disparities, opportunities, and outcomes persisting for student groups based on race, neighborhood, socioeconomic status, learning pathway, and other identities and experiences. The REWG was composed of Central Office department staff, Network chiefs and staff, and community partners (CASEL, Chicago Consortium on School Research, Chicago Public Education Fund, Facing History, Joyce Brown Consulting, Umoja, Youth Guidance). The group organized into three subcommittees: communications and stakeholder engagement, research, and toolkit development. After a year of listening, analysis, synthesis, and documentation, the REWG released initial recommendations for the district, including:
- Release a public commitment and action plan on equity while continuing to push on more equitable state funding structure
- Develop an Equity Office with a chief equity officer reporting directly to the chief executive officer.
The REWG and Steering Committee, composed of representative leaders from the REWG, established a working definition for equity within CPS—which we have expanded and included in the Framework. These CPS equity champions have collaborated with us on this framework to ensure it aligns with CPS’ shared vision for our students.
We’ve heard from over 3,000 voices across the city.
After the Equity Framework Draft was released, we spoke with over 1,500 CPS stakeholders to finalize the Framework—including engaging parents in their communities and re-engaging school leaders.
Students including Student Voice and Activism Fellowship members, critiqued, strengthened, and informed the high-impact change ideas that will spark innovation for equity at CPS. Students at elementary and high schools shared their experiences in their learning environments. Their candor on what works and does not work for them was key to developing the CPS equity lens.
Parents at Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meetings voiced their celebrations and concerns in spaces facilitated by the CPS Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE). Parents spoke proudly of how they designed and delivered beginning-of-year orientation opportunities for educators on the curriculum their students would experience. They shared the experiences that made them feel welcome in schools and how they motivated their young people academically at home.
Educators opened their schools and classrooms, where we saw them delivering curriculum with a growth mindset. Educators shared their deep commitment and wins through student stories. They reflected critically on their challenges and generously provided their expertise on how different schools operate and where equity challenges are concentrated. Their input was critical for developing the Framework’s high-impact change ideas.
External Partners re-confirmed that we cannot do this work alone. CPS is a system that operates within the much larger, asset-rich city of Chicago. External Partners, including school districts and equity organizations across the country, willingly shared their lessons learned, tools, and practices to support the achievement, aspirations, and potential of CPS students.
Community Members including Community Advisory Councils and local community- based organizations, shared their experiences directly providing support to the young people of Chicago. They emphasized the need to work together to boldly move forward on equity within our city. Community members want to be engaged in designing solutions in their community.
We continue to engage stakeholders to refine the framework language and tools, and begin to build a roadmap to move from theory to action.