Preschool teacher spent all of May administering the 'Kindergarten readiness test'

[Editor's note: At the time of each Board of Education meeting, because the speakers are limited to only two minutes while CPS executives are allowed to talk as long as they want and then are asked scripted questions by the Board members, Substance informs every speaker that we will publish the speaker's prepared remarks if the speaker provides us with them by e-mail. The following are the remarks provided to us by Chicago preschool teacher Kati Gilson, which se presented to the meeting of the Chicago Board of Education on June 22, 2011. Others who spoke but who haven't provided us with their remarks may send them to Substance at and we will provide them on line for our readers as part of our work to provide the public with the most comprehensive account of each meeting of the Chicago Board of Education].

Kati Gilson at the June 22, 2011, Board of Education meeting turning following her remarks to the Board. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Good afternoon. My name is Kati Gilson.

I am speaking today on behalf of the children, families and teachers of CPS.

I am concerned that there is not a transparent budget. Class sizes are increasing and programs have been cut. The students at my school alone have lost music, PE library and science lab positions. We have 34 kindergarten children in one class. Would any of you want these conditions for your children or grandchildren? This is not what is best for our students.

As less money is available for our schools, teachers are spending more out of pocket for our students. TIF dollars are going to banks and developers, leaving our children’s education woefully underfunded.

Mr. Beanen, will you sign the citizens pledge, presented by Jackson Potter, to work to require Chicago’s corporate community to pay their fair share? I ask you to please respond within one week.

As a preschool teacher I spent the entire month of May administering the Kindergarten Readiness Test, which not only cost the students learning time but assessed the same skills assessed throughout the year using Teacher Strategies Gold. I want to know how much money was spent on the KRT test, money that could have been better used towards paying certified teachers instead of day to day subs and purchasing supplies to directly benefit students.

In this photo taken while Kati Gilson was speaking to the Chicago Board of Education's June 22 meeting, the Board's newly appointed Chief Eduction Officer, Noemi Donoso (left), and Board member Rodrigo Sierra (right) listen to Gilson's remarks. Only one member of the Board of Education (Mahalia Hines) has as much Chicago schools experience as Ms. Gilson, while Dr. Donoso knows nothing about Chicago's public schools and has spent most of her career teaching in and promoting anti-union charter schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.I understand what it’s like to have limited resources and still fight to look out for the best interest of the students. We do this on a daily basis with limited time, supplies and resources yet we strive to provide the best possible education for our students. I want them same learning / working conditions for my students and colleagues as I wanted for my own children and their teachers.

Having been through both educational and administrative training, I understand the different factions of running a school system. All stakeholders including parents, teachers, community members and students should be included in the budget crisis. Let us see the budget, let us offer ideas and suggestions of where to make cuts that least impact our students. The students, families and teachers did not cause the budget crisis therefore we should not be penalized for decisions in which we had no say and are not being asked to participate. Show us the budget, let us see where the money has gone and where we can find the resources to provide our students with the skills they need to compete in todays society. When we are not in front of our children we are preparing for them both academically and emotionally. We are their advocates. Our children are our future and decisions being made are not in their best interest.


May 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

By: Kati Gilson, NBCT

Kindergarten Readiness Test

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from

Debby Jobst, head of preschool for all today, saying we do not have to give the KRT this year! A victory for all the preschool children in the city! Let's keep it up! There is still the ESI-R, Reach and Gold. I don't object to the ESI-R as it is necessary for funding and a diagnostic tool and I understand the need for ongoing assessment, but the Reach assessment can go too. The Gold is detailed, comprehensive and fair. Plus it does not interfere with teaching time nor sets kids up to fail.

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